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Blog Posts

What’s the deal with shipping delays?

Have you ever experienced delays in getting your shipment from A to B? Who hasn’t? Delays are, unfortunately, nearly inevitable for businesses that frequently transport goods – whether across town or halfway around the globe.

Although they’re not all preventable, understanding the common causes of delays can help businesses be as prepared as possible. The trick is to know they can happen – and to be prepared to weather any hiccups if they do occur. Being prepared can help you feel in control – even when things don’t go as planned.

What to do?

Many causes of transportation delays can be managed before a package even goes out the door. Accuracy, clarity and effective communication should be top of mind when preparing every shipment. Being ready for hang-ups along the way will enable a quick response and ensure business stays on track.


Documentation errors are a common reason for delays – but they’re also the most preventable. Businesses that devote sufficient attention to the details and correctly document their shipments – from customs documents to bills of lading – will be well prepared for smooth sailing along the supply chain. Your logisitics provider can act as a “second set of eyes” for reviewing documentation before the goods even go out the door to give you the best chance at getting it right, right from the start.

Systems efficiencies. It’s worth Investing the time to develop effective policies and systems for all aspects of your business – including shipping. If you use a consultant or freight forwarding partner, they can help develop the systems and processes that will most benefit your business. The effort will pay off down the road when you know all possible efforts have been made to ensure smooth transit of your goods.

Preparation!Whats the deal with shipping delays

Being mentally prepared can go a long way to avoiding major frustrations if something outside of your control causes a delay in your shipment. Be aware that the following types of problems could occur…

  • Technology and communication errors

  • Carrier schedule changes

  • Mechanical breakdowns or delays

  • Carrier equipment availability

  • Weather delays

  • Inspections by Customs and other government agencies

Understanding the realities of shipping and being aware of the factors that could cause delays helps to make international shipping as stress-free as possible.

We can help

Partnering with a knowledgeable freight forwarder, experienced in local, regional and international shipping, helps take the headache and guesswork out of your shipping experience. For detailed information, contact your Logistics Coordinator. For more general information, contact us today to discuss the best way to ensure the safe shipment of your goods.

Information provided by: Freight Dept. - Cole International

The Canada Border Services Agency updates its verification targets

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) posted on its website a few additions to the list of goods which are currently subject to its verification priorities.

Through verifications the Agency assesses importers' compliance with CBSA administered legislation, determines compliance within industry sectors and assesses the integrity of trade data received from importers.

Verifications usually concern the origin of imported goods, their tariff classification and their value for duty.

The following items were added in the tariff classification category:

  • Mineral Waters and Aerated Waters

  • Gloves

  •  Pebbles, Limestone and Granules

  •  Spent Fowl

  •  Bags

  •  Import Permit Numbers

Other items have remained on the list as they have entered a further round of verification.

Link: CBSA Trade Compliance Verifications January 2018

Do not hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. should you require additional information.

Single Window Initiative

The Single Window Initiative (SWI) is a streamlined process that allows importers to provide information to all requisite government agencies and departments through a single submission. The SWI has been phased in over the past three years, with full functionality available as of March this year.

Through this initiative, traders electronically submit all required import information to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) – including information required by any of nine other Participating Government Agencies (PGAs).

Once CBSA receives the required information, it shares the pertinent elements with the PGA(s) responsible for regulating the goods in question. The PGAs then assess that information and provide a decision if and as required.

With CBSA serving as the “single window”, the process has been simplified for importers, who no longer have to submit duplicate information to different agencies.

Single window initiativeAlong with the CBSA, the following PGAs are participating:

  • Global Affairs Canada

  • Health Canada

  • Natural Resources Canada

  • Public Health Agency of Canada

  • Transport Canada

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

  • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada

See the links below for more detailed information on SWI from federal government agencies:

As an importer adjusting to the requirements and information flow under the SWI, you may have questions about how it works and what’s required of you. Our customs professionals are available to help you understand the SWI and ensure you are able to take advantage of the efficiencies it offers.

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Information provided by: Canadian Customs Brokerage Dept. - Cole International

New Transport Canada regulations to affect commercial drivers

Transport Canada announced last week (Dec. 18) new regulations requiring the adoption of two new technologies by commercial trucks and buses and their drivers. These new regulations mirror similar road safety regulations already in place in the U.S.New transport canada regulations

Electronic stability control

  • Electronic stability control systems are a crash avoidance technology that help drivers maintain control, preventing rollovers and improving directional stability.

  • This technology has been mandatory on all new cars and light duty vehicles sold in Canada and the U.S. since September 2011.

  • Electronic stability control is now required in new truck tractors, and will also be required on school buses and intercity buses by June 2018.

Electronic logging devices

  • Electronic logging devices automatically record a driver’s driving time. They are synced with a vehicle’s engine, and are designed to be tamper-resistant.

  • Electronic logging devices help reduce the potential for driver fatigue and help drivers remain compliant with the federal Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

  • Electronic logging devices simplify the manual process used previously, where drivers had to log driving hours in a paper log book.

  • In 2020, electronic logging devices that meet the new National Safety Code technical standard will become mandatory. Devices now in use will be permitted until 2022.

  • This new regulation will better align Canadian and U.S. regulations, allowing Canadian operators to use the same logging device in both countries.

We can help

Our experienced industry professionals are monitoring how these new regulations will affect our clients and can help you understand how they may impact your business down the road. For detailed information, contact your Logistics Coordinator. For more general information, contact us today to discuss the best way to ensure the safe shipment of your goods.

Related Links

Information provided by: Freight Dept. - Cole International

Reduction in Duty Refund Timing in the works

Auditor General report – March 2017

As previously reported in this space, the Auditor General of Canada completed a review of Canadian customs duties last March. In response to that report’s recommendations, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will be making changes to its compliance and enforcement regime over the next two or so years.

Upcoming changes will impact the areas of reporting obligations, duty recovery and compliance – and the trade community should do what they can to be prepared.

Specifically… duty recovery

Currently, importers have up to four years after importing goods to file retroactive self-adjustments to their import forms, making changes to the tariff classification, origin or valuation of the goods.

However, the Auditor General’s report noted that the longer an importer took to file an adjustment, the more likely it was that the changes would be inaccurate. It recommended that CBSA review the period Reduction in duty refundallowed for retroactive changes in order to improve compliance.

In response, the CBSA committed to conducting a review of the current framework for retroactive changes to the import form and to developing options to reduce the period allowed for the importer to make corrections.

CBSA will complete these actions by December 2019.

What should importers do now?

As an importer, you should review the tariff classifications for the goods you import to ensure accuracy. This will allow you to take advantage of duty relief and make the most of the current four year refund window. And, since Canada has dozens of free trade agreements with other countries that mean reduced or eliminated duty, importers should also be sure they know when these agreements apply.

Knowing your goods’ composition, end-use and origin are a good start. And refer to our blog on tariff classification for more information.

Our Consulting department offers technical skills in customs self-adjustments and can assist with database review, database construction and ongoing refund reviews. We also have experienced professionals who can help with tariff classification and help you make the most of existing free trade programs.

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Information provided by: Canadian Customs Consulting Dept. - Cole International