Canadian Customs is partnering with forwarders to determine where bottlenecks are in cargo clearance and how to remove them after the latter made a blistering critique of the agency and weeks long delays at the Canadian ports.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said in a statement that it is working with the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) to develop a plan by the end of the year to cut through the existing backlog and prevent disruptions; better inform of container examination processes and seek industry input. The two parties also plan to identify if there are legislative changes needed to speed up cargo clearance, track the cost of cargo examinations and consider whether statistics on examination of ocean going containers need to be published.
The two phase partnership comes after freight forwarding association blasted the agency for a lack of leadership in addressing delays that were costing forwarders and shippers. The group of forwarders rejected the agency’s claim that it doesn’t charge for examination, pointing demurrage and detention fees paid by members on average of $1,535 per container. The extra storage cost caused by examinations of containers- the majority of which are found compliant and released have been the highest at the port of Vancouver, Canada’s largest container port, CIFF said in a letter to the agency. Delays of more than six weeks have been reported by members.
“There is no accountability or transparency anywhere throughout the process and Canadian importers are paying the price. I should rephrase, Canadian consumers are paying the price as the cost of the delays, the cost of lost goods, the cost of physical examinations are passed on to every Canadian who purchases imported goods from a retailer in Canada,” CIFFA Executive Director, Ruth Snowden said in the letter.
She added that manufacturers and exporters awaiting key components are also hurt by the delays. The delays are also making the Northwest Seaport Alliance of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma more attractive than Vancouver noted one member of the CIFFA in the letter.
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