Canada Post workers could be on strike as early as Monday

October 16, 2018 – Canada Post’s unionized workers have issued a strike notice for Monday, October 22, 2018. Our contingency plans will now be implemented for our affected customers. Any questions can be directed to our mission specific team at canadapoststrike

Fraser Surrey Docks have ongoing challenges

October 15, 2018 – Fraser Surrey Docks issued the following notice last week:

Fraser Surrey Docks is having issues with the flow of our container truck gate and the availability of reservations. We are aware of the negative impact this has on the trucking community and our customers. As such, we need to focus every resource we have to improve the service level with respect to our gate and reservations fulfilment. One necessary but temporary step that we are taking is to limit the gate movements to export and import cargo only. This is due to a current lack of mobile dock equipment availability at the terminal.

Effective Monday, October 15, until further notice, Fraser Surrey Docks will not be moving empties through the gate. Trucks with non-laden cargo will be turned away.

We are working diligently at increasing our equipment availability. In the next couple weeks, we have additional new equipment arriving and more equipment coming online from our maintenance shop. The more equipment we have, the more reservations we will be able to make available in the system and ultimately enable us to increase reservation allotment/caps.

We regret the inconvenience this temporary measure may cause and appreciate your support as we work through this challenging period.

Threat of Canada Post strike still very much front and centre

October 9, 2018 – The union representing 50,000 employees at Canada Post panned the latest contract offers from the corporation last week, calling them “disappointing” and keeping alive the threat of a work stoppage as the busy holiday online shopping season approaches. As earlier advised by Canaan Transport, the possibility of a work stoppage has hovered over Canada Post since Sept. 26 after postal workers voted overwhelmingly in late summer in support of a potential walkout to back their contract demands. But that initial deadline passed without any job action being launched, with CUPW saying it would stay at the bargaining table so long as there was progress in the talks. That position had not changed Thursday, said CUPW national president Mike Palecek. “Those are discussions that we’re having daily, based on developments,” he said. Job action could include a full or partial walkout, or a lockout, after a 72-hour notice period. The threat of a work stoppage over the holidays has forced companies that rely on Canada Post for parcel deliveries to make alternative plans to ensure their customers receive orders. However, it may be difficult to fill all of the service gaps in the event of a shutdown. Canaan Transport does have contingency plans in place for our customers that are affected by our e-commerce program and these will be implemented if a strike does occur. However, some impact may be felt on deliveries given the breadth of services that Canada Post provides. Canada Post is the biggest parcel shipping company in the country, having delivered about one million parcels per day during the holiday season last year – an increase of 20 per cent over the same period in 2016.

Port of Vancouver terminals undergoing congestion issues

October 5, 2018 – A convergence of factors, including high import volumes, peak season traffic, weather and on-dock projects, has been creating increased dwell times at Port of Vancouver. The recent typhoon in Asia caused vessel delays and vessel bunching. The Port of Shanghai has reportedly been experiencing a great deal of congestion, leading to vessel delays. It is expected that the period of Golden Week in China will provide some catch-up time for the terminals. Centerm has reported over 100% yard congestion and they are receiving new vessel cargo every shift. According to the terminal, this makes it difficult to target the longest dwell blocks on dock and any ERS containers. They are still forced to load specific blocks in order to accommodate new vessel cargo and must avoid current vessel operations. Centerm said it is loading the longest dwell and priority cargo as much as possible but it’s difficult to provide an estimate on exactly when a container will load. Deltaport’s Intermodal Yard Reconfiguration Project has had some impact on rail production, with the railways trucking additional footage to Vancouver Intermodal Terminal. However, ground counts on Thursday were down, with an average dwell of 4 days. Conditions are as expected for peak season volumes. From mid-October onward, conditions are expected to improve. CN and CP have also released comprehensive winter plans for dealing with weather and operational delays. We will continue to keep our customers updated. Source: CIFFA

Canada signs onto new agreement with US And Mexico

October 1, 2018 – As the smoke settles on yesterday’s late breaking news, CBC News has summarized the salient points of the new agreement.

The auto sector- After U.S. President Donald Trump lobbed threat after threat at Canada’s auto industry, peace has been tentatively achieved. Canada seems to have escaped the president’s favourite sledgehammer — Section 232 national security tariffs — which would slap 20- to 25-per-cent duties on cars and auto parts imported into the U.S. Trump has agreed that no hard limit will be placed on Canadian auto exports to the U.S., though if the U.S. moves forward with the imposition of worldwide 232 tariffs on autos, those would also apply to Canada. However, what Ottawa has negotiated is effectively an exemption, because it would still be able to export cars and parts tariff-free up to a certain amount well above what Canada currently sends south of the border. Mexico secured an agreement to have 232 tariffs suspended, so long as their auto exports don’t grow by more than 40 per cent — growth that would exceed U.S. production. The cap is a ceiling Canada can likely live with, since the majority of exports to the U.S. are parts, not completed vehicles. "Pure free traders in both countries will go crazy, but in practical terms I don’t see how the automakers come off any worse," said Dan Ujczo, a leading Canada-U.S. trade lawyer who represents clients in the auto industry. Canada exported $71 billion in cars and vehicle parts to the U.S. last year, according to the United States Trade Representative. Ontario would be hardest hit by punitive measures, as the majority of Canada’s 120,000 auto jobs are located in that province.

Access to the dairy market – Access to Canada’s dairy market soured Trump even before NAFTA renegotiations began, as the U.S. has long dealt with chronic overproduction of milk products. It was one of the final sticking points as talks dragged long into the night on Sunday. The new deal gives American farmers greater access to Canada’s dairy industry. It’s unclear exactly how much will be given, but U.S. administration officials say it’s above the 3.25 per cent set out in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Canadian dairy is heavily protected by a system of supply management and the U.S. faced tariffs of up to 300 per cent on any exports that exceeded established quotas. Those tariffs were a particular irritant for Trump, who demanded the dismantling of the supply management system after the G7 summit in Quebec this summer. The way the government protects Canadian farmers was also an issue during negotiations with the European Union. As part of the The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which has yet to be fully ratified, Canada agreed to nearly double the amount of duty-free cheese imports — the first time it had awarded a new cheese quota since the 1970s.

National security tariffs – National security was the catalyst of the all-out tariff battle this summer, and it looks like that could continue. Canada was scrambling to secure an exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs, but it became clear the Trump administration wasn’t budging easily. "There isn’t any agreement on that at this point. There’s been talk about potential discussions there but that’s on a completely separate track," a senior U.S. official told reporters Sunday night. A source with knowledge of the negotiations said Canada hopes the duties will be gone by the time a deal is signed. Initially Canadian officials were treating the Section 232 duties — the part of the Trade Expansion Act which allow the U.S. administration to charge import fees on grounds of national security without consulting Congress — as a separate issue from the NAFTA talks. As time went on, it became clear that wasn’t a sustainable strategy. During the summer, Trump’s announcement that Canada would be subject to tariffs on steel and aluminum drew gasps from the halls of Parliament Hill. Canada quickly punched back with equal $16.6 billion-dollar counter tariffs on a plethora of carefully chosen U.S. products, including bourbon, household appliances, playing cards and sailboats. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland walks out of the U.S. Trade Representative’s office in Washington in August. Freeland said Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs were illegal, to no avail. Freeland repeatedly said the tariffs were "illegal," but Trump remained unfazed. So much so that a former senior economist with the Bush administration said it indicated the president was seeing how far Canada could be pushed. C​​anada exported about $24 billion in steel and aluminum to the U.S. last year. Canada produces about five per cent of the world’s steel, equalling over 3,200 tonnes a year.

Dispute resolution – Canada was unwavering in its demand for Chapter 19. Why? According to the prime minister, it’s because Trump "doesn’t always follow the rules." Chapter 19, the section of NAFTA that allows companies to request arbitration if they feel their products have been unfairly hit with anti-dumping or countervailing duties, was personally detested by U.S. negotiator Robert Lighthizer. In the end, Canada claimed that win. "There hasn’t been any significant changes with respect to those chapters," the U.S. official explained. That particular red line for Canada has a history rooted in lumber exports. In the early 2000s, lumber exporters took their case to a NAFTA panel, and won. However, the U.S. didn’t want to comply with the ruling and Canada eventually negotiated a settlement that didn’t refund all the industry’s money. When that brokered peace expired, the U.S. industry demanded another investigation and the country’s Commerce Department levied additional duties, reigniting the dispute. Concerned about a repeat, Trudeau was unequivocal about its inclusion in a new pact. "We need to keep the Chapter 19 dispute resolution because that ensures that the rules are actually followed," he said at the beginning of September. Chapter 19 has historically been a minefield for the two countries. It was developed as part of Canada’s first trade deal with the U.S., negotiated back in the 1980s under Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. One of its architects, former Canadian negotiator Gordon Ritchie, recalls holding secret meetings with James Baker, the U.S. secretary of state at the time, after Mulroney refused to take a call from President Ronald Reagan until the Americans relented. "OK, you can have your damn dispute settlement proposal," Ritchie recounts Baker saying.

Sunset clause – One headline item you’re unlikely to see in the text of the new agreement is the controversial sunset clause — at least in its originally pitched format. "None of the things we put on the table was as challenging as [an] American sunset clause that said after five years this thing goes away unless all three parties agree," David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., told Politico. In the bilateral deal intended for Mexico and the U.S., that five-year expiry was lengthened to a 16-year term, renewable following a six-year review.

Cultural exemptions – Unchanged from the original version of NAFTA, cultural exemptions will remain in the new deal, according to senior Canadian sources. This particular segment became a Canadian must-have, Trudeau argued, because otherwise it could enable American companies to buy Canadian newspapers or TV stations. "It is inconceivable to Canadians that an American network might buy Canadian media affiliates, whether it’s newspapers or TV stations or TV networks," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in September. Groups representing Canadian artists and others who make their living producing Canadian content were quick to man the barricades — particularly in Quebec, where French-language cultural programming is seen as a bulwark protecting the province’s unique identity in North America.

DeMinimis rule – Canada has now effectively raised its minimum threshold for duty collection to $100, from $20. This will be significant for any ecommerce buyers of international goods

Source: CBC News

Shipments to Saudi Arabia from Canada may have difficulties

September 26, 2018 – The federal governments Market Access Secretariat released a notice Tuesday addressing questions from Canaan Transports customers who have shipments‎ en route to Saudi Arabia and have concerns regarding whether shipments will be cleared upon arrival.

The Secretariat said:

For shipments that are en route to Saudi Arabia, please ask your Saudi importer or local agents to contact the Imported Food Section of the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) as soon as possible with proper documents, as the SFDA may agree to look into requests on case by case basis.

Exporters are strongly encouraged to work closely with Saudi importers prior to shipping to identify commercial risk. It is recommended that exporters secure payments before shipping, complete all export documents, and ensure that Saudi importers are able to get the shipment released.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada continues to monitor the situation and work closely with Global Affairs Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

If you have experienced any issues exporting to Saudi Arabia, or if you have received a notification from a Saudi contact affecting your shipments, please reach out to the Trade Commissioner Service within the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh at RYADHTD, and copy the Market Access Secretariat, at MAS-SAM. Canaan Transport will inform customers of any further advisories or instructions as they evolve.

Alexander Maersk detained in Tunisia

September 24, 2018 – In a precedent setting move, Tunisia has detained the ALEXANDER MAERSK at Sfax, Tunisia on Sep 10. The reason for the detention is the different claims cases in favour of Tunisian shippers who suffered losses in the container ship MAERSK HONAM major fire earlier this year. This incident may be quite a turn in a war between small shippers and shipping carriers, as the General Average clause makes small shippers suffer heavy losses, which often exceed cargo loss, with a near-zero chance of justice and compensation. This new tact at holding carriers accountable will be tested in this example. Canaan Transport continues to assist shippers and customers who were affected by the Maersk Honam disaster. In addition, although we did not have any customers with cargo on the Alexander Maersk, customers with plans to load cargo on this ship have now been informed that alternate arrangements will be made.

Port of Montreal continues to have challenges

September 17, 2018 – CN sent the following customer advisory on September 14, outlining procedures for empty container in-gate capacity at its Inland Terminals, and regarding Port of Montreal Gateway.

The advisory reads as follows:

“CN would like to advise those Ocean Carriers who use the Port of Montreal Gateway that we will be temporarily limiting available empty container in-gate capacity at CN Inland Terminals commencing 0001 Friday September 14 through to 2400 Monday September 17 due to continued production challenges at the Montreal Port Terminals.

Since last week, CN has been holding loaded export trains outside of the port to be exchanged with loaded import railcars. Currently and for the next 4 days, CN’s export loaded footage at the Port of Montreal will far exceed the amount of expected Import loaded railcars that will be released due to limitations mainly related to available labour.

At this time, CN has not received confirmation of the required Port labour through the weekend, and will continue to plan outbound train lengths based on the performance at the port Terminals. CN will be reviewing the situation and will be in a position to react quickly if production at the Port were to increase. All existing reservations will remain valid and will be honored.

We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to make adjustments to ensure we move your assets as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Capacity is available for alternate destinations; we encourage you to review current inventory plans and work with your CN service delivery team to plan alternate routing for your assets.”

Potential Canada Post strike on September 26, 2018

September 14, 2018 – The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has now officially notified Canada Post of their intention to strike on September 26 if an agreement is not reached by then. Although still in negotiations in a mandatory 21 day cooling off period, the two sides have been talking about their new contract since November 2017 without measurable success. Canaan Transport has already activated our contingency plans for our e-commerce and delivery customers that may be affected. Alternative delivery methods have been communicated to our customers that are actively using our CPost programs. We remain confident that a potential strike can be averted as the last labour action was in 2011-2012.

Labour peace at the Port of Vancouver may be upended if longshore workers do not come to an agreement with the BCMEA

September 10, 2018 – Having survived a sudden labour strike situation at the Port of Vancouver last week, which was only averted with federal mediation, eyes are now returning to the main ILWU/BCMEA longshore workers negotiation. Negotiations continued with ILWU Canada Longshore last week and parties are looking to schedule additional dates throughout September. As long as these negotiations continue, neither party has filed a Notice of Dispute as required by the Canada Labour Code. Unless and until that occurs, the parties are not in a position to strike or lock out under the Longshore or Foremen Collective Agreements. The current 8 year old agreement expired on March 31, 2018 and an agreement still has not been reached. Canaan Transport will provide more news as it develops.