A CIFFA Member Survey was launched and the results finalized this June querying membership on various aspects of technology, including: freight management systems, business process automation, predictive analytics, digitization, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

CIFFA Associate Member, Drew Simons of Roxville Technology Inc. drafted the survey and presented the summary to the CIFFA Technology Committee June 29.

In order to gather input, CIFFA invited 68 members to participate in the survey. The surveys were completed via Teams. Roxville used PowerPoint to share information and questions with the respondents. The source of the answers from members was anonymous, and members who participated received a copy of the full report.

CIFFA extends appreciation for the support and assistance of our members who contributed.

(Read Summary)

Obtaining and maintaining a professional designation is a worthy achievement and something that any individual can be proud of. Professional Freight Forwarder (PFF) designates are recognized as ‘Individual Members’ of the association. CIFFA would like to recognize these individuals.

Current PFFs have not only met education and work-experience requirements, they also contribute to the industry by sitting on working groups and committees, representing freight forwarders at events and trade shows and contributing to overall promotion of the global freight logistics sector. They make a point of continuing to learn throughout their careers and are required to maintain personal and professional development through conferences, seminars, and classes.

Being recognized as an industry professional – an authority – is a career booster. And the more professionals we can boast, the more the freight forwarding industry can be both an important element of the supply chain sector and a desired career option.


Last Name

First Name

Alcime Mederick-Philippe
Allen Louise
Altomare Gianfranco (John)
Altomare Tony
Amso Hakob
Apolaya Calderon Carmen
Balakrishnan Veera Raghavan
Banderova Biliana
Belbin Enos
Bhavsar Aruna
Cant Wendy
Capolupo Jonathan
Castillo Wilfrid
Chan Joe
Chazin Theodore
Corber Sheldon
Couroux Denis
Courtney Paul
Da Silva Antonio
Danielsen Vagn Greve
Dennis Jill
Devendran Vijayalakshmi
Dhami Satnam
Fernandes Hubert
Fragomeni Joe
Gallacher Kimberly
Gazen Jeffrey
Glionna Michael
Glionna Mark
Glionna Paul
Gregory Mark
Guy Robert
Harper Natasha
Hartwell Amy
Hess Gerald
Hickey Sharon
Horan Patricia
Hudakoc James
Iachetta – Gignac Anna
Ignacio Rica
Kanwar Aseem
Klassen Rob
Knisely Kent
Kohli Harmeet
Kpalem Jimmy
Kundra Sachin
Lai Winnie
Lee Rong Fen (Maria)
Lee Gloria
Legler Karl-Heinz
Liu Zhanhong (Cathy)
Loffredi Angelo
Long Michael
Lychek David
Mazereeuw Barbara
Nandin Jose
Olafson Robin
Patel Chirag
Paule Julieta
Pazmino Gustavo
Pereira Benny
Pietramala Donna
Pine Rose
Qian Joanna
Risch Robert (Bob)
Robinson Desmond
Roche Deborah
Rodgers Bruce
Romano Alicia
Ruiz Maria Cristina
San Buenaventura Floro Fides
Sanghvi Jasmine
Schwerdt Peter
Sil Kim Young
Singh Jessie
Singroy Arlene
Snowden Ruth
Sohail Sabah
Sousa Petrina
Southcott Shauna
St.Croix Bonnie
Strange Roberta
Suter Marc
Syed Rashid
Thomson Blair Douglas
Torres Carlos
Tsang Kwong Yum (Albert)
Vanloo-Legault Jonathan
Wahab Ray
Wicke Uwe
Wong Shun Yin Alex
Wong Sueann
Zhen Tony

Policy Watch-CIFFA expresses alarm and frustration at recent development in marine shipping sector which will have negative impacts on Canadian businesses and consumers.

A letter to the Federal Minister of Finance, copied to each provincial Solicitor General, calls attention to unjustifiable and unjustified fees to industry.

View Full Letter

Airfreight capacity, rates remain challenging

By Ian Putzger

A year after the COVID-19 pandemic hit global aviation capacity is still a challenge for forwarders.

Gary Vince, head of air freight, Canada at DHL Global Forwarding, recalled the initial impact on cargo. “With 60-70 percent of belly space gone in a matter of days, it was a major challenge,” he said. “The passenger charters were a major benefit. I don’t know how we’d have gone through this without that push,” he said.

The capacity that has come into the market through freighters and passenger aircraft deployed for cargo missions has alleviated the situation, but lift is still short of demand.

“Reduced capacity has been an ongoing problem,” remarked Sean Crawford, managing director, Canada at Crane Worldwide Logistics. The forwarder has run a number of cargo charters through Toronto.

Jason Berry, vice-president cargo of Air Canada, likened the deployment of passenger planes for cargo to putting a finger in a dike, only to see water pour in through another hole. “We continue to see extremely high demand. We are full,” said. “We’re seeing strength in all lanes.”

The shortage of lift has been most serious on routes out of Asia, but Air Canada has been dealing with excess demand across its network, both on inbound and outbound sectors. “We’re seeing backlogs on many routes,” said Berry. Outbound Latin America has been one of the most challenging sectors.

“We’d love to introduce more lift to markets like Brazil,” Berry said, adding that Air Canada would balance the additional capacity it is bringing on across its network.

It has not helped that Ottawa confined international flights to four gateways – Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver – since February 1. For Edmonton, it meant that its direct flight to Amsterdam by Air France KLM (AF KL) got suspended a second time, having resumed in September after the initial stop last spring.

“We’re moving a lot from Alberta through Vancouver and Ontario,” said Crawford, adding that traffic from the Maritimes is trucked to Montreal or Toronto.

Calgary-based Aerodyne Cargo Services, which represents AirBridgeCargo, used to fly some traffic on British Airways from Calgary to Amsterdam to feed the Russian cargo airline’s departures from the European city. After the suspension of BA’s Calgary flight it put freight on Cargojet to connect with BA’s departure from Toronto.

“It works. The transit times are reasonable,” said owner and managing director Ron Buschman.

The loss of international flights from second-tier gateways has also had repercussions for lift out of the big hubs. For Rhenus Logistics Canada, services out of Ottawa and Edmonton provided additional widebody lift if capacity out of Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary was tight, noted CEO Jeff Cullen.

“We rely on the major gateways. They have become more important,” said Vince. Overall, this has not been a major problem, but it has been a greater challenge for life sciences shipments because of the temperature control requirement, he added.

He remarked that international freighter flights out of the US have remained largely unchanged, which has been an important access route to international markets for Canadian shippers and consignees.

“We take big stuff either to Chicago or JFK. There is adequate capacity close enough,” said Ken Singh, president of Atlas International Freight Forwarding.

According to Vince, cross-border trucking has not faced any issues for short runs. Longer routes, which normally require a team of drivers, have been more challenging.

“Truckload has been manageable, LTL has been challenging,” remarked Crawford.

Some traffic out of Edmonton that used to go on AF-KL has been trucked to other gateways used by the airline, but most of it has been flown out on freighters for the express companies, especially pharmaceuticals and other commodities that need short transit times, reported Alex Lowe, manager of global network development (cargo) of Edmonton Airports.

Freighter capacity at Edmonton has increased massively. Freighter landings were up 16 percent last year, and cargo charters surged 214 percent.

“We had a big increase on the scheduled freighter side. Most have increased their gage and frequency,” said Lowe. To accommodate the anticipated growth the airport is going to add 47,000 sq m of cargo apron space to enable it to park up to nine widebody freighters. It is also going to more than double its cold storage space.

Canada’s two big carriers are upping their capacity. Cargojet, which registered a 46.3 percent increase in block hours last year, is adding more freighters to its lineup. In February it announced plans to expand its fleet with the addition of five B767-300 freighters (three of them to replace older planes). On top of this, Canada’s largest freighter airline is moving into the large widebody bracket with an order for two Boeing 777 freighters, plus options for two more.

The two 777s on order are due to join its fleet in 2023, with the options likely to follow in 2024. These planes reflect management’s decision to push more into international markets, where its presence is currently limited to two weekly flights through Halifax to Cologne. Demand on that sector has been very strong in both directions, reported executive vice-president Jamie Porteous.

It was the first time that Cargojet ordered aircraft without having customers already in place.

“We see demand for international air cargo remain strong for the next 3-5 years minimum,” said Porteous. “If we had the aircraft today we could put them into business 150 percent.”

Air Canada is moving into the freighter arena through conversions of B767-300ERs from its passenger fleet. Having lined up two conversions late last year, it has since announced the decision to bring in five more. The first two are due to enter service in August and October respectively – in time for the 2021 peak season – and the other five are expected to join the fleet before the end of next year.

To address the current capacity shortage the airline is stepping up its cargo flights with passenger planes. In early March the cargo division obtained the blessing from the board to remove the seats from three more B777s and two A330s. It has already used four 777s and three A330s without seats to optimise capacity on the main deck.

In addition, Air Canada is taking two parked B787s out of storage to use for cargo missions. By early March is was running over 220 cargo flights a week, up from 150 during the Christmas peak. By May this will be up to 250-260 weekly flights, according to Berry.

While it has been doing charters for customers, the focus is on building a reliable network that offers customers consistent flights, he stressed.

Demand projections – particularly in regard to e-commerce – and the slow recovery of bellyhold capacity point to a continuing shortage of capacity, a situation that is bound to keep rates high and market conditions volatile. Carries like Air Canada may be striving to offer steady lift, but contracts and pricing remain short term.

“It’s very much ad hoc. We don’t lock in capacity beyond a week or two, unless it’s on freighter. It’s week to week, in the best case month to month, especially with passenger charters,” said Vince.

“Forecasting and planning is very challenging now. You book 5-7 days ahead at best. It’s all very transactional as opposed to strategic,” he continued.

“I don’t think anybody is in a hurry to do BSAs or allocations outbound; inbound the airlines are not signing contracts,” remarked Singh.

The lofty price levels could get nudged higher yet by fuel costs. The price of kerosene has climbed steadily since October. Airlines are not likely to swallow higher fuel costs, especially when it comes to passenger aircraft flying cargo missions, where margins are tight.

“Fuel is always a concern,” said Berry, adding that high kerosene prices could hurt flights in some sectors. In their plight, passenger airlines’ major objective is to manage cash flow and they monitor the costs of each flight nervously. If elevated fuel costs cannot be passed onto shippers, that could deal another blow to capacity availability. Already shippers are looking for less expensive alternatives to airfreight, noted Cullen.

By Petra Javornikova, Senior Instructional Designer at CIFFA

International trade is dynamic and rapidly evolving. As such, CIFFA regularly revises the content of its course materials to accommodate any relevant industry updates, and amends any irrelevant or outdated content.  All revisions must additionally comply with the FIATA Minimum Standards to Obtain the FIATA Diploma in International Freight Forwarding, as the CIFFA courses are evaluated by FIATA every four years.

The most recent revisions, however, are more notable than those in the past 20 years and have been ongoing since the spring of 2020. In August 2020, the newly updated Essentials of Freight Forwarding textbook was completed.

In the past, CIFFA offered four International Freight Forwarding Courses: International Transportation and Trade, Essentials of Freight Forwarding, Specialized Freight Services and Supply Chain Management and Marketing, each with study materials comprising a textbook, exercises and online modules.

Additionally, another edition of the Essentials of Freight Forwarding textbook, titled Fundamentals of Freight Forwarding, was adapted for an international audience by removing content that is strictly Canadian and replacing it with a more universal content, while leaving in some Canadian content that is globally relevant. Another textbook, also completed in August 2020, is the Advanced Freight Services textbook, created by merging the content of the former Specialized Freight Services textbook and the majority of the content of the Supply Chain Management and Marketing textbook. More than half of the content of this textbook was also entirely revised.  This textbook is now used by students registered in the newly introduced FIATA Diploma course, which has replaced the former Specialized Freight Services and Supply Chain Management and Marketing courses.

Also completed in August 2020, the new Essentials of Freight Forwarding online modules offer students an enhanced learning experience and easy navigation. The need to upgrade the online modules arose due to outdated software used for the old modules and resulting technical challenges for students, as well as CIFFA’s desire to improve the overall look and quality of the modules, while incorporating additional knowledge drawn from the vast experience of CIFFA’s instructors. Additionally, these modules were also separately adapted for non-Canadian students.

Currently ongoing, in final stages, are updates to the International Transportation and Trade textbook and online modules.  The completion deadline for the new FIATA Diploma course online modules is September 2021.

Some of the updates to the new education materials include, for example, the changes to the Canadian export reporting procedures, the replacement of the NAFTA with the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), Incoterms® 2020 and the 2020 version of the CIFFA Standard Trading Conditions.  All textbooks are available digitally.

Similarly, due to increased technical challenges and outdated software previously used for the delivery of CIFFA’s exams, CIFFA has transferred all exams to a new exam delivery system which offers students, among other things, increased stability, better navigation, additional features and clearer images. This system also provides CIFFA with enhanced features with respect to reporting and content management.

By Bruce Rodgers


CIFFA participates in a number of workshops and committees on behalf of our membership base. It is important that the needs and requirements of the freight forwarding community be represented and communicated.

One particular group that we participate in is the Border Commercial Consultative Committees (BCCCs). This committee consists of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials and commercial stakeholders, offering a forum to discuss border-related policies, operational programs and administrative procedures that govern and affect Canada’s commercial trade.

The BCCCs help advance government-industry cooperation, specifically in relation to improving commercial processing in a manner that:

The two Collective Committees that CIFFA participates in are:

Policy and Projects Committee

The objective of the Policy and Projects Committee is to provide more inclusive decision making when developing and implementing new commercial and trade policies, projects, and transformation initiatives.

Commercial and Operations Committees

The objective of the Commercial and Operations Committee is to assess, review and recommend processes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of operations at ports of entry, including commercial compliance issues.

Working groups with defined timelines have been established under each committee to address key issues.

Policy and Projects Committee – consists of 5 working groups. The following is a summary from the December 1st, 2020 meeting.

  1. Cargo Preclearance WG
    1. the Preclearance initiative has been heavily impacted by the pandemic
    2. CBSA is looking to launch the Cargo Preclearance Proof-of-Concept in two key modes: rail cargo and air courier.
    3. Due to the health and safety considerations during COVID, the proof-of-concept portion has been delayed for a year, although during this period, many internal processes have been resolved.
    4. S. Customs and Border Protection is in full support of this proof of concept. However due to the health and safety concerns, the CBSA has not yet deployed any Border Service Officers (BSOs) to the USA.
  2. eHousebill / Freight Forwarder WG
    1. CBSA bi-weekly implementation support calls have been highly successful. These calls are intended to answer questions in real time.
    2. There are approximately 800 Freight Forwarders, where half are bonded and half are non-bonded.
    3. An ongoing challenge for industry will be the filing of eHousebills by overseas partners (who are currently filing ACI).
    4. This working group will be closed in June 2021, once the implementation is finalized and the system moves to monetary penalties.
  3. Postal Modernization Initiative WG
    1. This is a joint CBSA and Canada Post initiative which will modernize facilities in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. The model for these centers leverages advance data for risk assessment and revenue collection.
    2. The Toronto mail center is expected to be operational in the Autumn of 2021, and Montreal in the Spring of 2022.
    3. The principles of postal modernization align with other modernization initiatives being undertaken by the CBSA, including: advance data collection; automation; risk assessment based on data analytics, and employing the same data to assess duty and taxes.
    4. Postal modernization is part of a continuum on the transformation activities that the CBSA is pursuing for optimized efficiency.
  4. Trusted Trader WG
    1. The minimum security requirements will be finalized and then implemented April 2021.

These will not be mandated initially, there will be discussions held with partners (stakeholders, other government departments as well as other CBSA departments) to ensure clients are comfortable to implement these requirements.

  1. Two of the major challenges faced by this initiative are CARM and the erosion of benefits. It remains an ongoing challenge to develop additional benefits for Trusted Traders while preventing the erosion of further benefits that are currently provided to the Trusted Traders.
  2. All new projects and policy review groups were asked to incorporate consideration of possible Trusted Trader benefits in their mandates.
  3. Export WG
    1. A summary was provided of the phasing out of the Automated Export Declaration (CAED) system CAED and full reliant on the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS).
    2. The onboarding was highly successful, thanks in part to the Regional Border Services Officers (BSO) that provided invaluable support to process the initial surge of applications, as well as industry colleagues for their collaboration and advice.
    3. Export WG has closed but will meet on an ad hoc basis as required.

The Commercial and Operations Committee – consists of 4 working groups. The following is a summary from the November 26th, 2020 meeting.

  1. Maritime WG
    1. Initiatives include: to perform a collective analysis of current processes for containers examined at Canadian seaports; to identify and seek improvements in process flows, and to improve marine clearance processes for travellers with greater consistency and efficiency.
    2. CBSA indicated that they are utilizing Blockchain and other CBSA data to produce a dashboard to show the length of time current processing takes and to identify choke points. This data will be used to work with both the terminals and the Port Authorities to refresh the reservation system.
    3. Discussion re the chain of responsibility, whereby containers had to go back from the Marine Container Examination Fancily (MCEF) to the port before they could be picked up commercially.
    4. CBSA have committed to work on a process overview for “Authorization to Move” containers to a bonded off-dock yard from the CEF, thereby relieving congestion at the port terminals.
  2. Highway Advance Commercial Information (ACI) AMPS WG
    1. CBSA has established a compliance framework to ensure a fair and consistent approach to assessing AMPs moving forward.
    2. CBSA are looking into the feasibility of providing feedback on industry compliance to stakeholders.
    3. For all non-compliance cases, CBSA works with the client to understand what happened to determine if leniency should be applied, depending on the circumstances.
  3. Air Cargo WG
    1. priorities include: the implementation of nationally consistent protocols for aircraft search; to map processes for High Value, Low Value and courier streams; to review and conduct survey of warehouses to identify efficiencies, and to identify eManifest requirements for multi-mode movements (flying trucks).
  4. Manual Operations WG
    1. Systems outages are a major priority for CBSA and that it is imperative to ensure that goods remain moving during an outage.
    2. There are many potential trade chain partners that have different statuses, in different modes, and that industry members often see different data outputs to what CBSA is seeing.
    3. When industry tries to help expedite the paper process at one Port of Entry (PoE) and it work well, they request that CBSA apply this broadly. However, the ongoing challenge is that this intervention might only be a practical solution for that particular PoE.
    4. CBSA committed to engage with Industry on two topics:
      1. the Contingency Plan itself is a static online document that required updating with details such as contacts, exact protocols, provide specific access to information or portals, and,
      2. whether the Plan should remain a static online document, or should it become an interactive tool or mobile / web application.
    5. Communication and timing will be key objectives and distribution of information will be a critical theme in the renewal of the outages plan.

In addition, CIFFA also participates on other stand-alone CBSA committees, summary of which are identified below:


E-Commerce Strategy WG

Culpability Framework WG

For further information, please contact admin@ciffa.com.



May 4: Container Contract System Broken – BCOs Steer Toward Short-Term Deals – The Loadstar

BCOs will commit 25% less volume to long-term contracts this year, sending almost twice as much via short-term and spot deals.

“This strategy will leave carriers with fewer contracted, forecasted containers and BCOs spending more time and resources renewing and negotiating contracts this year, even as prices for those may increase anyway,” says a report by Freightos Research published today.

The online freight marketplace surveyed 63 BCOs and freight forwarders in March, just ahead of the contract season on the transpacific, and compared the results with a similar study from 2018.


May 5: New Port Metrics Data Show North America Lagging – Inside Logistics

Asian container ports are the most efficient in the world, dominating the top 50 spots in the new global Container Port Performance Index (CPPI). The tool was recently launched by the World Bank and IHS Markit.

The report scored ports against different metrics, making the efficiency ranking comparable around the globe by assessing and standardizing for different ship sizes and container moves per call. The CPPI is intended to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement that will benefit stakeholders from shipping lines to national governments to consumers.

East Asian ports dominate the CPPI, led by Yokohama in Japan, ahead of King Abdullah Port in Saudi Arabia, and Qingdao in China. Algeciras in Spain is the highest ranked European port, in 10th place. Colombo in Sri Lanka is the top-ranked port in South Asia at 17th place and Mexico’s Lazaro Cardenas leads the Americas at 25th.

Canada’s Halifax is the only other North American port in the Top 50. Djibouti, in 61st place, is the top-ranked African port.


May 6: Shipping Lines Can’t Cope with Booming Perishables Trade and Lack of Reefers – The Loadstar

Even as reefer container freight rates soar, shipping lines are “far from coping” with the seasonal demands of perishables.

According to Drewry, a weighted average of rates across the top 15 “reefer-intensive” tradelanes jumped 26% in the first quarter, following a seasonal uptick in cargo demand and rising bunker surcharges.

This placed rates at their highest level since the reefer index was launched in 2017, and Drewry expects rates to rise further in Q2.


May 7: Rates Misery Goes On: Shippers Face Huge Increases and Rolled Cargo – The Loadstar

Ocean carriers are said to be preparing big increases in short-term rates as cargo-rolling becomes the norm.

On the transpacific, carriers are ‘sold out’ for the rest of May and into June, with last week’s spot rate increases from Asia to the U.S. west and east coasts described by one shipper as “academic.”

For the transpacific tradelane, last week’s FBX recorded a 3.5% increase for Asia to the U.S. west coast, to $5,015 per 40ft, and a 5.5% uplift to spot rates for the east coast, to $6,584 per 40ft.

And there is no let-up in sight in the demand for imports from Asia, the U.S. National Retail Federation predicting that the restocking of low inventory levels by retailers will continue for several more months and into the peak season.


May 10: Containerships Increasing Speeds as Rates Continue to Climb – gCaptain

A new survey by VesselsValue has found that average laden-containership speeds had increased by 5.5% since last June to 14.76 knots, and by 8.5% in the larger sectors.

Report author Olivia Watkins said there was a direct correlation between increased speeds and charter hire rates, which, for 8,500-TEU ships, had increased by 350% during the same period, as fuel had become a much lower percentage of operating costs.

It follows that charterers are more concerned about paying for an extra day’s hire at highly elevated levels than conserving fuel, and are instructing masters to make the best possible speed.


May 12: Over Half of Container Bookings Rolled at Some Ports – Lloyd’s Loading List

Container shipping service quality is continuing to worsen, with the number of boxes being rolled increasing.

Figures from freight visibility platform project44 show the percentage of containers missing their scheduled sailings is rising, with some carriers and ports rolling more than half their cargo in April.

“Carriers have been watching their rollover rates increase for over a year, and have so far failed to mitigate the situation,” said the company’s VP Josh Brazil. “Shippers need to accept this as the new reality.”

The average rollover rate for April across ports and carriers surveyed by the company was 39%, but outliers such as Malaysia’s Port Klang, Rotterdam and Athens showed signs of “endemic congestion,” rolling 64%, 54% and 59% of cargo, respectively.


May 13: Port of Montreal Update

The Maritime Employers Association provided the following update on May 12.

An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of operations at the Port of Montreal

Before May 26, 2021

The mediator-arbitrator, André G. Lavoie, was nominated on May 12, 2021. He has a period of not more than 14 days to mediate the matters and to bring about an agreement between the parties. That period may be extended for an additional period of not more than 7 days if the parties agree.

Before August 10, 2021

Within 90 days or any longer period that the Minister of Labour, Filomena Tassi, may allow, the mediator-arbitrator must hear the parties on the items remaining in dispute and arbitrate. Every decision of the mediator-arbitrator must be worded in appropriate contractual language so as to allow its incorporation into a new collective agreement. André G. Lavoie will report to the Minister on the resolution of each of the matters and provide the parties with a copy of the report.

The Bill would not preclude the parties from entering into a new collective agreement voluntarily at any point prior to the mediator-arbitrator reporting to the Minister.

New collective agreement

A new collective agreement binds the parties and consists of:


May 14: Hapag-Lloyd Rocks Already Hard-Hit Transpac Shippers with a $3,000 GRI – The Loadstar

Hapag-Lloyd has just announced a $3,000 per 40ft GRI on Asia to the US and Canada services from June 15.

A year ago, the Shanghai Containerized Freight Index U.S. west coast component stood at $1,686 per 40ft – 12 months on, and shippers are paying up to $14,000 to ship the same cargo on the same route in the same ships.

Typically, quotes for the route, after inclusion of equipment and space guarantees, are near $10,000, with some carriers wanting up to $14,000 for an early June shipment.

Even some BCOs that have signed new annual contracts with carriers are reported to be scrambling to get their products shipped as the lines row back on start dates and volume commitments in favour of abundant lucrative spot and short-term business.


May 17: COVID Outbreaks at Sea Immobilizing Entire Crews – Splash

New variants of COVID-19 are immobilizing entire crews, creating further panic and mayhem at sea, and highlighting the urgent need to get a global seafarer vaccination program in place.

“For the first time, we see outbreaks on board infecting most of the crew, with the majority suffering symptoms, which can result in serious operational issues,” said Alice Amundsen, who heads up Gard’s global people claims area.

Earlier on in the pandemic, ships typically had one seafarer testing positive for COVID-19, who was isolated onboard, unless they needed medical treatment.

Now the P&I Club is seeing entire ships placed in isolation because most of the crew are infected, likely from new variants of the coronavirus.


May 17: Port of Montreal Labour Update

The first mediation meeting between the Maritime Employers Association and the union representing dockworkers at the Port of Montreal will take place on Tuesday, May 25. André Lavoie will join the parties as the mediator-arbitrator.


May 17: Time to Start Prepping for Christmas Shipping Capacity Crunch – American Shipper

Christmas is still over seven months away, but start worrying now about whether you’ll get what you want under the tree. It might end up stuck at the docks in China that morning.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s March retail trade report highlights the enormity of the import challenge in the coming peak season.

Despite the unprecedented boom in containerized imports in recent months, the retail inventory-to-sales ratio has sunk to a new all-time low. And as retailers struggle to catch up, imports could be capped in the months ahead by a trans-Pacific shipping network that has reached its limit.

That, in turn, implies more premium charges and even higher all-in costs for importers racing the holiday clock, which practically speaking, may be already ticking.


May 19: Blank Sailing Schedules Creating Further Delays for Shippers – The Maritime Executive

For much of the last year, shippers have been complaining about delays, lack of availability and rising costs, as volumes soared in container shipping. A new analysis of the schedules and markets by the logistic platform Project44 forecasts the problems that shippers have been experiencing will continue for the foreseeable future.

A Project44 analysis of the sailing schedules of various shipping lines indicates that cargo delays could last well into the summer. They found that carriers are continuing to cancel sailings, an indication that undercapacity will remain a challenge for shippers.


May 26: Yantian Port Halts Entry for Export Containers – Lloyd’s Loading List

The Port of Yantian said it will stop taking in loaded containers as congestion at the export hub in Southern China increases.

The restriction was implemented from 2200 hrs local time on May 25 to 2359 hrs on May 27 and will be partly lifted afterwards only for export boxes with their vessels expected to arrive at the port within the next four days.

Pickups of import or empty containers, however, will still be allowed over the period.

“The serious delay in ship schedule has led to extremely high density at Yantian’s storage yard and has severely affected the operational efficiency at terminals,” a port statement said.


May 5: Ex-China Air Freight Rates Continue to Rise – Lloyd’s Loading List

Ex-China air freight prices were continuing to rise this week on the back of highly constrained air freight capacity and strong demand, leading to very high load factors.

Air freight data specialist TAC Index highlighted that, as air cargo capacity is continuing to tighten, “some carriers are starting to take advantage of the situation by forcing trade-up from economy product to priority due to constrained capacity,” likening this to airlines “moving the curtain in business class to the max.”


May 11: Companies in Desperate Hunt for Aircraft to Move Cargo – American Shipper

The airfreight market is so saturated that companies without precommitments, or the stomach to pay premiums, are having difficulty finding aircraft to move their goods. And import cargo keeps coming, on top of record volumes for air and ocean shipping, further straining an air logistics system stretched by a shortage of equipment and airport labour.

Logistics professionals and analysts say capacity is rapidly tightening as more shippers turn to air for cross-border transport, sending air cargo rates sharply higher. The market is already running at peak levels five months before peak season normally starts.


May 11: Unprecedented Air Cargo Prices Set to Continue Say Analysts – Air Cargo Eye

The geographical inconsistencies in the pace and magnitude of global economic recovery – and the commercial and social reopening of the world – will bring additional layers of volatile complexity and higher costs for air cargo customers, according to data collected by the Baltic Air Freight Index (BAI Index).

The month of April experienced marked price deviation, especially on core air cargo routes, notes Bruce Chan, VP of the transportation and logistics sector at investment banking company Stifel. “Although we’ve seen signs of recovery of supply, [air cargo] demand continues to outstrip available capacity,” he reveals. “The result in our view will be persistently high airfreight rates.”

Air cargo rates on Hong Kong to North American routes, for example, broke the US$9/kilo threshold in week 16 of this year, a price level higher than at any point even in 2020’s initial COVID-19 lockdowns and the surge in demand for personal protective equipment, he observes.


May 17: Global Freighter Capacity ‘Maxxed Out’ for This Year and Next – Lloyd’s Loading List

Global freighter capacity is “maxxed out” for this year and next year and, even though a significant amount of conversion work is underway to transform aircraft from passenger to all-cargo configuration, this will not produce a substantial amount of additional (maindeck) capacity in 2022 nor in the following years, according to analysis from McKinsey & Company.

“The freighters that are flying currently are flying maximum block hours. Every freighter aircraft still fit to fly has been put into service, which has enabled maindeck capacity to increase by 30% when compared to pre-COVID levels,” said Ludwig Hausmann, who leads the air cargo service line within the firm’s global transport and logistics practice.

“But belly capacity, which prior to the health crisis represented 55% of all air cargo capacity, is still down by slightly over 50%. The upshot is we have a capacity shortfall of around 12-13% and for the gap to close, you really need to believe that belly capacity is coming back to close to where it was before.”

“But what will be crucial is where the belly capacity is coming back, unless it’s back to 100% everywhere. It’s fair to assume that air passenger travel will come back first on continental or short to mid-haul routes and for inter-continental traffic on routes to tourist destinations, such as the Maldives, or the Caribbean, which are largely irrevelant to air cargo.”


May 17: Perishable Produce Puts More Pressure on Tight Air Cargo Market – American Shipper

The competition for scarce aircraft to transport international cargo is about to get even more intense, as seasonal fruit growers look to squeeze their way onto already crowded aircraft.

Expectations for a strong growing season combined with high fruit demand around the world point to robust exports this year.

Many producers are increasing their reliance on air transport this season to quickly get their perishable products to customers in Asia and Europe. The extra volume they generate will lead to a further tightening of capacity and push up cargo yields for carriers, logistics managers say.


May 27: NATO Withdrawal from Afghanistan Likely to Temporarily Impact Airfreight Supply – American Shipper

The diversion of large commercial jets to assist with the U.S. and NATO military withdrawal of troops and equipment from Afghanistan could create temporary transport shortages for companies seeking heavy airfreight capacity because freighters are already scarce.

Cargo airlines eligible for U.S. military business belong to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet. Under the CRAF program, airlines contractually commit to supplement military air transport during wartime or other emergencies. To encourage carriers to participate, only CRAF partners can bid on government airlift contracts issued through the Defense Department during peacetime.



May 13: KC Southern to Scrap CP Deal after Revised Offer from CN – BNN Bloomberg

Kansas City Southern Inc. says it is terminating its merger agreement with CP Rail after determining that rival Canadian National Railway’s revised US$33.6-billion offer was superior.

“Our proposal offers a clear path to completion and is structured in a way that gives KCS shareholders both greater immediate value and the opportunity to participate in the future upside of the combined company,” said CN chief executive JJ Ruest.

The U.S. railway said it has notified CP Rail that it intends to terminate its agreement after determining that CN’s revised proposal constitutes a “superior proposal.”

CP Rail now has the right to amend its offer, with the KCS board determining if any new proposal constitutes a better one than CN’s.

Canadian Pacific downplayed the change of circumstances.

“This doesn’t make it any more likely that the CN proposal can close into a voting trust,” the railway said after rumours of a revised deal emerged Thursday afternoon.



May 5: No ELD Penalties until June 2022, Jurisdictions Confirm – Today’s Trucking

Jurisdictions that enforce hours-of-service rules have confirmed that Canada’s rollout of mandated electronic logging devices will focus on education and awareness – and not include penalties – until June 12, 2022.

Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra had committed this March to a year-long “progressive enforcement period”, offering relief for federally regulated carriers who faced a June 2021 deadline for the mandate itself.

But provinces and territories are actually responsible for enforcement.

“The CCMTA developed an approach for jurisdictions to consider when adopting an enforcement strategy for the ELD mandate coming into force June 12, 2021,” the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators said in a statement today. “Jurisdictions plan to support the mandate through a period of progressive enforcement without penalties, including elevated education and awareness, until June 12, 2022.”


May 7: [U.S.] Jobs Report Shows Getting Drivers into the Pool Remains a Struggle – Modern Shipper

Aaron Terrazas of Convoy put a succinct headline on his commentary about the latest employment numbers in the trucking sector: “Where did all the drivers go?”

Terrazas, director of economic research at Convoy, was reacting to the monthly report that showed seasonally adjusted jobs in the truck transportation sector were down 1,500 to 1,480,300 from the March figure of 1,481,800.

That March figure, in turn, had been revised down 900 jobs from the employment report released a month earlier.


May 26: Trucking Rates Have Never Been Higher: ACT Research – Today’s Trucking

ACT Research’s For-Hire Trucking Index pointed to the strongest rates in April since it began tracking the data, despite some easing of freight volumes.

The supply-demand balance remained tight, ACT reported, but is beginning to show signs of rebalancing.

“The Volume Index decelerated in April, after surging to a five-month high in March. Some of the strength was make-up for the polar vortex-impacted February level, but this slower growth also likely reflects ongoing supply constraints and the deepening semiconductor shortage,” said Tim Denoyer, vice-president and senior analyst.

“And with both driver and equipment capacity in short supply, we are witnessing the strongest rate environment in survey history, even with a bit slower volumes.”


CIFFA Advocacy, Communications, Activities

CIFFA Scholarship Program – Supporting Tomorrow’s Leaders: Applications Open Until August 20

Download, Complete, Submit – These are the three steps your child needs to complete to apply for a $3,000 CIFFA Scholarship, available only to the children of CIFFA Regular Member employees who are pursuing higher learning in an accredited Canadian college or university, especially if it’s related to freight forwarding or the broader supply chain. Objectives of the scholarship are to:

Applications will be accepted between June 1 and August 20. Go to www.ciffa.com/membership/ciffa-scholarship-program for more details and to download the application form. Submit to admin@ciffa.com no later than August 20.

Winners will be announced at the November national board of directors meeting.


May 17: Business Groups across Canada, including CIFFA, Call for a Plan to Reopen the Economy

As Canada nears a major milestone in the vaccination campaign, business groups across the country are calling on the Prime Minister to take a leadership role in developing a clear and consistent roadmap out of lockdown.

“A clear and predictable plan for a gradual and safe return to a more normal life would instill public confidence while demonstrating concern for the physical, mental and economic health of Canadians,” the business groups said in a letter to the Prime Minister on May 18.

The letter – copies of which were sent to the premiers – is signed by the heads of more than 60 business organizations representing companies of all sizes, in all regions of the country, employing millions of Canadians. CIFFA was among the signatories.

Read the letter here.


May 20: CIFFA Elects New Board of Directors, Updates STCs and Revises Bylaws to Reflect New Membership Categories

CIFFA held its 72nd annual general meeting virtually, electing its Board of Directors for 2021-2022. Two new directors were elected: Chris Ford, President, The Ace Group Inc. and Derrick Sones, Vice-President of Freight Operations for Calgary-based Cole international Inc.

Following a vote at the AGM, CIFFA will now accept drayage and carter companies to its Regular Membership, Category “E”.

CIFFA will also move towards a flat-fee pricing structure for Regular Membership – Class ‘A’ and ‘E’ categories. The Board of Directors agreed to an annual fee of $1,250, which was approved at the AGM.

CIFFA has also revised its Standard Trading Conditions, adding a Force Majeure clause.


May 25: CIFFA Young Freight Forwarder of the Year Award Applications Now Being Accepted

CIFFA is now accepting applications from interested young freight forwarders to participate in the Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award 2022 Competition. This competition is an exciting opportunity for younger members of our industry to highlight their freight forwarding skills and knowledge and advance their careers.

The winner of the Canadian round of the competition receives a $1,500 award and recognition in the eBulletin, The Forwarder magazine and on CIFFA’s LinkedIn account. In addition, the winner will have an opportunity to participate in the regional round of the competition and, if successful, compete for the ultimate Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award at the World Congress.

The competition is open to any young freight forwarder who:

To apply, send an email to ciffa@ciffa.com by September 15, 2021, with the following:

Any questions should be directed to ciffa@ciffa.com.


TORONTO, April 13, 2021.

CIFFA, the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association, is pleased to announce the winner of the 2021 Donna Letterio Leadership Award, Jamie Wiltse, District Manager of the Alberta and Saskatchewan Region at Expeditors Canada Inc.

CIFFA introduced the annual Donna Letterio Leadership Award in December 2015. The award is granted annually in memory of former CIFFA President Donna Letterio, who passed away in August 2013. The award recognizes a woman in the global freight logistics sector who has demonstrated, as Donna did, professionalism, commitment, leadership and a passion for excellence in her career and in her life. In addition to the award, CIFFA will prepare a cheque in Jamie’s name for $1,000 which will be presented to Bladder Cancer Canada.

Jamie joined Expeditors in 2003 in a desk level position as the fourth employee of the Calgary branch from the domestic cargo industry. She has not only learned the international freight forwarding business but has managed to progress through all levels of branch operations to take a leadership role as District Manager in 2017 all while building the operation to a staff of now 40 people. Jamie has strong interpersonal and leadership skills and is well recognized in the organization for her skill at developing the business and her people and has done so while raising a busy family. Jamie’s hard work, leadership skill, integrity and commitment to our industry make her an ideal candidate for this award.

“CIFFA is very proud to continue with this very prestigious award, recognizing women of influence in our industry, which will also inspire the next generation of women leaders. We are very pleased to present this award to Jamie, who exhibited all the qualities that the award represents,” said Bruce Rodgers, Executive Director, CIFFA.

IATA presented the third of three webinars on the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines on April 21. (See summaries of earlier sessions in the series: Part 1, Part 2.) The two-hour webinar included several speakers and looked at what the air cargo industry has learned and achieved since the first vaccines rolled out in December 2020.

First presenter Brian Pearce, Chief Economist for IATA, provided an overview of the cargo business as it has been affected by the pandemic. Overall now, the movement of cargo has surpassed pre-COVID levels, although there is a lot of variation by trade lane.

Restrictions on passenger travel remain high. While they are likely to loosen where vaccine rollout is progressing well – in the UK and the U.S., for example – restrictions elsewhere can be expected to dampen summer travel for the second year in a row, maintaining the limited availability of belly space that the industry has dealt with for a year now. Despite the growth in volume carried by freighters and so-called “preighters” – passenger aircraft reconfigured to carry freight – total cargo capacity was down 20 percent in January this year over the same month last year.

Mounir Bouazar, who works for UNICEF as the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Logistics Lead of the COVAX initiative, described the major challenges for global distribution of vaccines as IP rights, vaccine nationalism and the ability to provide equal access to vaccine supplies. The access issue can affect people in rural areas, for example, especially in poor countries where distribution resources are lacking. [The UN website includes funding and vaccine hesitancy as other top challenges.]

The airline industry, said Bouazar, has been prepared for vaccine rollout, which gives UNICEF confidence that the busier distribution period ahead will go smoothly. Pricing, however, has been an issue because of funding constraints of the COVAX program.

Jaisey Yip, who works in cargo and logistics development at Changi Airport in Singapore, discussed Project Sunrays, a joint initiative of TIACA and Pharma.Aero, created to help the air cargo industry prepare to meet the COVID challenge. Objectives of the program were to: 1. provide the industry with clarity on needs and expectations; and 2. provide pharma shippers with visibility on airfreight capabilities.

Through the project, participants learned the critical importance of open communication and strong collaboration. At the local level, successful teams came together to develop clear objectives, an inclusive structure and a culture of trust. Many of those teams invested in new cold chain infrastructure. They assessed risks and planned collaboratively to deal with them.

At United Cargo, said Jennifer Haigh, Head of Specialty Products for the Americas, the “overnight” end of passenger travel at the start of the pandemic created enormous issues for cargo operations. At the same time that the United team had to determine how to move all the cargo in its pipeline and coming, it also had to begin to plan for vaccine transport, all with a skeleton staff. A taskforce that brought together employees from groups across the airline developed critical paths, policies and procedures, talked with regulators, collaborated with shippers and packaging companies, sourced dry ice, created a dedicated team for vaccine bookings and more. Lessons learned: cooperation, communications, agility, flexibility and dedication have been critical in this work.

A panel discussion following the presentations provided further insights.

A recording of the webinar will be available on the IATA website