Chaotic Scramble for Eastbound Capacity

Christmas & Peak Season Crunch is Around the Corner

Service Contract Phase-in Intensifies US Import Booking Scramble

Bill Mongelluzzo, Senior Editor –

The transition of new service contracts on the trans-Pacific trade route is making US importers’ scramble for eastbound capacity even more chaotic. Some shippers charge their new minimum quantity commitments (MQCs) are not being honored, while some carriers say they are prioritizing MQCs from continuing customers rather than new customers. That frustration among some shippers that they cannot get their bookings honored — even after signing contracts paying rates more than double the last cycle — caps months of having to shell out thousands of dollars more than posted rates to guarantee loadings.

The situation is also frustrating for shippers and non-vessel-operating common carriers (NVOs) because today’s short-term spot rates, which can change weekly, bear no resemblance to the charges shippers must pay to get their containers loaded onto vessels in Asia, according to NVOs. May is always a confusing month in the largest US trade lane because shippers and NVOs are transitioning from the previous year’s contracts to new deals that may contain different rates and MQCs. This year, US imports from Asia are so strong that many shippers and NVOs attempted to increase their MQCs, but were unable to do so because vessel space is so tight that carriers cannot meet demand. Imports from Asia increased 29.3 percent year over year to 1.55 million TEU in April, according to PIERS, a sister product within IHS Markit. The growth in Asia imports in the first four months of 2021 has been explosive, increasing 39 percent versus the same months last year and 27.2 percent from the same period in 2019, the latest available comparison not skewed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the dynamics of strong import demand and a shortage of vessel capacity, retailers for the foreseeable future must be prepared to pay premium freight rates for at least the next two months until carriers are able to return their vessels to their scheduled rotations.

‘Structural’ blanks throw vessels out of rotation

According to the logistics manager at a national retailer who asked to not to be identified, carriers in some cases are not even fulfilling the space commitments they made for bookings they had accepted a few weeks prior to the vessel departure from Asia because vessels have not yet returned to the Asian load ports due to delays at North American ports. “My jaw dropped when they said, ‘We cut your allotment in half, even after the orders were accepted.’ They said it was because of the blank sailings,” the logistics manager said. Since Jan. 1, carriers have announced 121 blank — i.e., canceled — sailings to the West Coast and 21 to the East Coast, according to Sea-Intelligence Maritime Analysis. Carriers say those are mostly “structural” blank sailings in that the vessels have been thrown off their scheduled weekly rotation with no possibility of getting back on schedule for weeks. “There is a lot of business that is sliding because of the missed voyages,” Uffe Ostergaard, president of the Americas at Hapag-Lloyd, told on Friday. “How long is that going to last? Let’s hope we’re back to normal in Q3.”

While shippers and NVOs told they understand that blanked sailings are a major contributor to the space shortages with which they must contend, they are also convinced that in some instances carriers

are capitalizing on the space shortages to push some bookings to higher-paying premium and freight-all-kind rates.

“Everyone seems to be booking premiums. This is now the norm,” said Jon Monroe, who serves as a consultant to NVOs. “What is the correct rate? The correct rate is one that gets a container onboard a vessel. That rate is whatever the carrier will accept to prioritize the container to be loaded on board a vessel.”

Larry Burns, a transportation consultant who formerly served as senior vice president of sales and management at HMM, said that for many years, when there was sufficient — if not excess — capacity, the MQC was a “gentleman’s agreement.” If the customer fell short on the MQC during slack periods, the carrier would allow the customer to ship above the MQC later in the year. During peak volume periods, the customer

understood that it may have to pay a peak season surcharge, Burns said. “The difference with this market is that the gap is so great, it’s hard for the carrier to manage additional cargo even if you agree to pay more,” he said.

Schedule normalization requires clearing bottlenecks

Carrier executives in the Asia-North America trade lane say they hope to get their vessel departures from Asia back on schedule in the coming weeks and the structural blanks could cease as soon as July. If that is the case, it will be just in time for the 2021 peak season that begins in August.

“Maybe we’ll be back on schedule in July, when our new vessel rotations are in place. That’s our hopeful optimism,” a second carrier executive who preferred to remain anonymous told on Friday.

However, for schedule integrity in the eastbound trans-Pacific to return to normal, vessel bunching at key US gateways, especially Los Angeles-Long Beach and Oakland, must dissipate, the growing backlogs of freight that are sitting on factory floors in Asia must be vacated, and the supply chains from US ports to import distribution warehouses in the US must remain fluid.

Retailers and NVOs tell growing product backlogs at factories in Asia are now a major concern. Some factories are telling US-based customers they will suspend new purchase orders unless shippers clear their merchandise immediately, suggesting importers store cargo in nearby warehouses if they cannot get the containers onto vessels at Asian load ports. “The factories are sending out a lot of emails [saying] ‘Get your boxes now or we will have to shut down.’ This is very real,” said the logistics manager at the national retailer. In the US, space provided by warehouse operators and third-party logistics providers is filling up rapidly, and labor shortages abound, according to Scott Weiss, vice president of Whiplash, which was recently rebranded from Port Logistics Group. Whiplash operates warehouses on the East Coast as well as in Southern California.

“Every day I get calls saying, ‘I need 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 square feet for the next six months,’” Weiss said. He said space and labor shortages are not confined to Southern California, and he is concerned the situation could soon resemble last summer and fall, when warehouses and logistics chains around the country were in gridlock. “I do see another meltdown [coming],” Weiss said. “It is going to happen again.” Logistics experts point to the space shortages on the ocean and land as especially troubling because it is only

May; the peak ocean shipping period normally does not begin until late summer. Retailers say this year’s import surge could begin earlier than last year because they anticipate unusually strong demand during the back-to- school season, traditionally the second-busiest shopping period of the year after the holiday shopping season that begins the day after Thanksgiving. Last summer, retailers pulled back on orders with Asian factories for back-to-school merchandise because of uncertainties involving the COVID-19 pandemic. With the US making significant progress in vaccinations, which are now open to many school-age children, retailers forecast an unusually strong season for apparel, backpacks, and school supplies of all types.

“We’ve already begun to move some. Yes, we expect a super back-to-school season,” the national retailer said.

Time to start prepping for Christmas shipping capacity crunch Greg Miller –

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 Census Bureau’s March retail trade report, released Friday, together with a new analysis of those numbers released Monday, highlight the enormity of the import challenge in the coming peak season.

Despite the unprecedented boom in containerized imports over the 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.

Inventory-to-sales ratio at record low

The broader measure of retail goods shows both inventory to sales and real inventories in March down sharply from pre-COVID levels in 2019 — and still falling.

Retailers scramble to catch up

Assuming retailers seek to bring the inventory-to-sales ratio back to 2019 levels by the end of this year, Miller calculated that they would need to build inventories to $467.72 billion, up $30.62 billion from the end-of- March nominally seasonally adjusted figure of $437.1 billion.

That’s where Christmas enters the equation. “Retailers need to build up their inventories by October to be prepared for the peak holiday shopping,” noted Miller. If the inventory-to-sales ratio needs to revert to 2019 levels by the end of October, demand will be frontloaded.

Miller calculated that retailers would need to increase inventories by $65.11 billion to reattain the 2019 inventory-to-sales ratio by the end of October.

He then compared this year’s peak-season build to 2019’s. The pre-COVID inventory build between the end of March and end of October 2019 was $35.12 billion. To reach the circa-2019 inventory-to-sales ratio this year, inventories would have to grow by 85.4% more than they did in the same period in 2019.

“Even if we trim a few dollars off of this figure to account for inflation, this is still an incredible figure,” said Miller. What that means, he continued, is that “there will be tremendous demand for inventory replenishment over the coming months.”

And this is where calculations on paper collide with reality. The trans-Pacific container system is already maxed out in May, which raises the question of how all this inventory could possibly get built up in time for the holidays.

“I don’t see how that figure I came to, $65.11 billion, gets done given how tight things are now,” said Miller. “I just don’t see it. And so, I think my message would be: If you want to get stuff in for the holidays, every container slot available is going to be used up and you have to plan for that.”

Bookings data confirms demand surge

Implying future containerized import demand from the census data is inherently theoretical, based on assumptions of future sales and the inventory-to-sales ratio. However, there is real-world data that confirms the import wave is coming.

FreightWaves’ SONAR platform features a proprietary index of shippers’ ocean bookings (SONAR: IOTI.USA) measured in twenty-foot equivalent units (10-day moving average) as of the scheduled date of overseas departure and indexed to January 2019.

While these are bookings, not loadings, the index provides a directional indicator of U.S. import volumes in the future, when ships from various export destinations arrive at American ports. The index hit another all-time high on Monday. Forward bookings data shows that yet another record will be set within the next seven days.


Port of Montreal – TO be Shut Down by Longshoremen’s

Dear Valued Customers,

This morning at 7:00 am the Union representing the Port of Montreal Longshoremen (CUPE Local 375) gave a 72 hour strike notice to the Maritime Employers Association (MEA), which will result in all container and general cargo movements ceasing as of Monday April 26 at 7:00 am, for an indefinite period of time.

In practical terms, this is only a 6-8 hour notice, as the union members have refused to work overtime and weekends for the past 10 days, therefore the port’s operations will effectively shut down as of Friday night.

Of serious concern is the cargo remaining within the port facilities, and which may become unavailable for the duration of the shutdown, and the both truckers and the rail carriers have been using their best efforts over the course of today, as well as the last few weeks to move import containers out of the port as soon as they become available.

The only exception to this strike notice and port shut down, is services to/from Newfoundland via the Oceanex terminal, which is deemed an essential service.

ITN has joined with the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) and over thirty other trade associations and hundreds of ITN clients and other affected companies, to urge our federal government officials to take direct and immediate action to avert this labour dispute from impending the flow of cargos, which will have a disastrous impact on our already fragile Canadian economy.

Please join us in keeping the pressure on our elected officials to seek a negotiated solution to this labour problem, which will not hurt the Canadian business at this most critical time.

ITN will continue to keep you updated as further information becomes available. 

Sources for this Blast come from ITN Logistics.

April Showers Bring May Flowers and More Concerns

As we approach the midpoint of April more concerns in the freight world loom on the horizon. We continue to face unprecedented capacity constraints and will continue to keep our customers and partners updated.

US Container Shipping Girds for New Reality of Undercapacity

Mark Szakonyi, Executive Editor JOC | Apr 15, 2021 10:11AM

The US container shipping system has maxed out its capacity, and on the back of what’s shaping up to be the sharpest US economic recovery since 1984, there are growing signs that it will only get messier in the foreseeable future for shippers and their transportation partners.

Some cargo owners are already raising product prices because of port disruptions and higher shipping costs, while wholesalers have less flexibility in adjusting more fixed prices with customers. The drumbeat of companies complaining of higher logistics costs isn’t letting up; retailer Dollar Tree told investors on Mar. 3 that import and domestic freight rate increases will add $80 million to $100 million in additional costs in fiscal 2021.

The elevated volumes have been unrelenting. On a year-over-year basis, US imports from Asia have risen by double-digit percentages in every month since August 2020, according to data from’s parent company, IHS Markit. During the 13-month period from Aug. 1, 2020, through Aug. 31, 2021, imports are projected to be at or above 2 million TEU in 11 of the 13 months, according to Global Port Tracker, which is published monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. Before last year, monthly US imports from Asia had only hit the 2 million TEU mark once, in October 2018.

This week, new economic forecasts suggest the US economy is heating up faster, with IHS Markit predicting a 6.2 percent expansion this year. That’s a 0.5 percentage point upgrade from the company’s expectations for the US economy just a month ago.

“The 6 percent GDP growth some US economists are forecasting for this year could be conservative. Based on what our customers are telling us, I don’t think 10 percent growth is out of the question,” XPO Logistics chairman Brad Jacobs wrote in a note to shareholders on Tuesday.

Congestion spreading ‘like a virus’.

Steady and elevated retail demand and a manufacturing rebound will weigh further on a port and inland network system that’s looking even more stressed than it was four months ago. Congestion has spread from Southern California up the coast and onto the East Coast and to inland hubs such as Chicago and Memphis.

Bringing congestion to heel remains elusive for Los Angeles-Long Beach marine terminals despite labor, chassis, and warehouse availability improving, according to marine terminal operators. Even though railcar availability is gradually returning to levels seen before winter storms disrupted rail networks in February, terminal operators say they need far more train arrivals to dig out of the congestion, which began building in the summer.

“On the West Coast, nothing has changed … it’s just spread around the country like a virus,” said Brian Kempisty, founder of Port X Logistics, a US port trucking provider. “LA was the epicenter, and then New York got hit, and then Norfolk and Savannah started getting hit, and now you have the rail ramps in Chicago and Memphis. It’s just an overwhelming amount of imports that seemingly has hit every single market.”

The limits to digging out when the inbound pressure won’t let up doesn’t appear unique to Southern California, either. A recent JOC analysis of laden imports at US ports and the ports of Vancouver and Prince Rupert, Canada, over the last three years suggests the current surge isn’t as strong as year-over-year comparisons show, and thus volumes have hit a level at which it is harder for ports to catch up.

Next disruption always lurking.

As last month’s Suez Canal blockage underscored, there’s always the chance of more disruption, even with supply chains stressed the most they’ve been in years. For example, escalating tit-for-tat actions between Montreal port employers and longshore workers are pushing Canada’s second-largest port toward another bout of disruption.

There’s no end in sight to the Asian import surge, even if there are expectations that consumer goods spending will shift toward dining and travel as vaccinations increase. US retailers say they’re pulling volumes at record or near-record levels through August, and they can’t keep up with demand, as reflected by the inventory-to-retail sales ratio hitting a near 30-year low in January.  

Manufacturers will be increasingly needing imported inputs, as two indices of manufacturing health — the IHS Markit and Institute of Supply Management purchasing managers’ indices (PMIs) — jumped in March. Whether they’re dependent on semiconductors or the lowest-value widget, manufacturers are strained by rising demand and supply chain disruptions, said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

“The market right now is really being limited more by capacity than demand, and so that creates some momentum of its own, natural momentum as containers — or loads — that can’t be moved now will have to move later,” Brian Sondey, chairman and CEO at Triton International, the world’s largest container lessor, told investors in late February.

With no evidence that US import demand will wane in the coming months, the retail demand cycles for back-to-school shopping, Halloween, and the winter holidays will ramp up the pressure through the traditional August to September peak season and through the fourth quarter, said James Caradonna, general manager pricing/Americas at M&R Forwarding and Multi Container Line. “Our concern is as we hit May, how realistic is it that the carriers can provide allocations against new contract MQCs (minimum quantity commitments), given what is likely going to be a dramatically reduced capacity situation, in good part because of the Suez Canal incident?” he said.

Over the last seven months, US importers of Asian-made goods needing guaranteed loadings and to be first in line for equipment could shell out so-called premiums of $2,500 to $3,000, rather than wait for weeks for a booking to be assigned a vessel. That’s becoming less of an option as the demand for premium service outpaces what carriers can promise, Caradonna said.

Eastbound container spot rates from Asia to the US West Coast have been above $3,000 per FEU since September and remain 80 percent higher than a year ago, according to Xeneta, a rate benchmarking platform.

“At a certain point of time, the rate level is almost irrelevant to a carrier when they are faced with this much operational disruption and such a backlog,” Caradonna said.

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1. Suez Canal incident has caused massive delays, canceled sailings and increased port congestion throughout the world reducing global capacity by as much as 30% in the next two to three months.

2. Panama Canal low water levels has forced a reduction of weight capacity on vessels which lowers the volume of containers and products moving through the Panama Canal to the USA from Asia.

3. US has hit the lowest inventory levels ever reported by the Institute for Supply Management since the ISM index was established in 1997. There is now a huge push to replenish those inventories.

4. New Covid-19 Relief Package fueling spending power with a continued shift of buying goods instead of services.


Demand boom on collision course with ocean transport ceiling

Greg Miller, Senior Editor, / American Shipper, April 2, 2021

U.S. containerized imports show no sign of letting up as the second quarter begins. On the contrary: Consumer demand is strengthening in the wake of fiscal stimulus and falling inventories that necessitate even more restocking.

The biggest risk to Q2 container-shipping volume is not demand for goods, it’s transport supply.

Fallout from the Suez Canal accident will constrain vessel and container-equipment availability, leading to longer delays. By the end of this quarter, shoppers in America’s stores could find more bare shelves. Online shoppers could increasingly see the words “out of stock.”

Inventory restocking tailwinds

The positive data on demand keeps piling up. On Thursday, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Customers’ Inventories Index (SONAR: ISM.MCIN) sank to 29.9 points.

“This reading is the lowest ever reported since the sub index was established in January 1997,” said Timothy Fiore, chairman of the ISM survey committee. “For eight months in a row, [the index] has been at historically low levels.”

According to Amit Mehrotra, transportation analyst at Deutsche Bank, this falling index number “tells us there is additional runway for restocking demand as retailers shift away from just-in-time inventory.”

Mehrotra expects cargo volumes to be “stronger for longer” as a result of both inventory restocking and increased consumer confidence driven by vaccines and stimulus.

New retailer surveys at investment bank Evercore ISI paint a similarly bullish picture. As of Thursday, the Evercore retail sales survey index was at 67.5, up from an average of 47.1 in February.

Evercore ISI’s retailers pricing power survey index rose to 33.4, its highest level since December 2019. “Improving demand with lean inventory” drove the rise, said the bank.

In general, if demand outpaces inventory replenishment, import demand grows.

Bookings are still rising

FrieghtWaves’ SONAR platform features a proprietary index of shippers’ ocean bookings. Bookings are measured on a 10-day-moving-average basis in terms of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) as of the scheduled date of departure. On Friday, the index for China-U.S. bookings (SONAR: IOTI.CHNUSA) hit a record high.

The nationwide index for inbound cargoes from all countries reached its highest-ever level on Wednesday.

The index also tracks bookings seven days into the future. This forward view shows that a fresh all-time high is coming next week.

The cargoes tracked by this data will not arrive at U.S. ports until late April or early May. In other words, as strained as ports are now, they face even greater pressure in the near future.

In California’s San Pedro Bay, off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, there were 32 container ships at anchor on Thursday. That’s back up above the average of 30.5 container ships per day that have been at anchor since the beginning of the year.

Meanwhile, up in Northern California, ship-position data showed 14 ships at anchor off Oakland on Friday. Anchorage levels there have been in double digits since February.

Suez Canal fallout is coming

The Suez Canal accident is putting more pressure on an already strained global system. The number of ships waiting to transit the canal peaked last Monday, at 367.

About 80-90 ships have transited per day since the Ever Given was refloated, according to Leth Agencies. Prior to the accident, there were 52.7 per day (year to date).

But even as transits surge, more ships keep arriving. As of Saturday, there were still 156 ships at anchor awaiting passage through the Suez Canal. That’s about three times as many as normal.

After container ships transit the canal northbound, they head to Europe or the East Coast. “What’s going to happen is we’re definitely going to see bunching at European ports,” said Nathan Strang, global head of ocean freight at freight forwarder Flexport, during a webinar presented by Flexport on Wednesday. “Bunching” refers to too many ships arriving at once, creating congestion.

“There may be reduced time in port to try to recover those schedules. That’s going to lead to export cargo and equipment being left behind,” said Strang. He added that “there’s going to be delays for Europe and East Coast services.”

‘Curveball’ to prolong situation

Strang also speculated that carriers could “blank” (cancel) sailings on other routes so they could switch more ships to Asia-Europe services to counteract the accident fallout. “Carriers may start blanking trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic routes to recover on the more lucrative Far East [to Europe] route,” he said.

Anders Schulze, Flexport’s global head of ocean freight, predicted that the Suez Canal accident would lead to “a capacity reduction across the board, both in terms of vessel capacity and [container] equipment. There will be a domino effect in terms of vessels and equipment getting back to Asia.”

The disruption at the Suez Canal and congestion at European ports will limit the number of empty containers transported back to Asia. This, in turn, will reduce the number of empty containers available to stuff with Chinese exports bound for the U.S. on trans-Pacific routes.

“The equipment situation was already somewhat critical,” said Schulze. “We were just seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with equipment availability and now this curveball will prolong the situation.”

Further compounding challenges for shippers, at least one carrier — Maersk — has temporarily halted short-term bookings in the wake of the Suez Canal accident. As of Friday, Maersk’s short-term bookings from Asia to both North Europe and North America remained suspended until further notice.

Add it all up — rising consumer demand, very low inventories, a halt to some bookings, voyage delays, vessel and container capacity curbed by Suez Canal fallout — and it’s a recipe for more bare shelves at American stores.

Ever Given’s Owner Files Suit and Declares General Average

BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE 04-01-2021 06:00:00

The owner of the boxship Ever Given has filed suit against operator Evergreen in connection with the vessel’s grounding in the Suez Canal on March 23, according to UK outlet The Lawyer. The details of the filing are not public, but the defendants include Evergreen and all other parties who may claim damages in connection with the incident.

The Panama-flagged Ever Given is owned by Panama-based Luster Maritime, a subsidiary of Japanese shipowner Shoei Kisen Kaisha. She is chartered to Taiwanese carrier Evergreen, with ship management by Japanese firm Higaki Sangyo Kaisha and technical management by the Hong Kong division of BSM.

As the shipowner, Shoei Kisen Kaisha is widely expected to bear the brunt of damage claims from shippers and shipping interests. Egypt alone believes it is owed at least $1 billion in compensation for the six-day shutdown and the cost of the refloat effort, Suez Canal Authority chairman Osama Rabie told reporters Wednesday. He did not specify who should be liable to pay the damages, but he emphasized that Egyptian responders “saved [the shipowner] so much by rescuing the ship without any major damage or losses.”

“We could agree on a certain compensation, or it goes to court,” Rabie said. “If they decide to go to court, then the ship should be held.”

Shoei Kisen Kaisha has declared general average in connection with the disaster, indicating that it will impose a bond requirement on cargo interests before releasing containers from the ship. Richard Hogg Lindley has been appointed as the GA adjuster, according to The Loadstar.

GA charges are typically assessed as a percentage of the value of the cargo, and in the case of massive losses – like the catastrophic fire on the Maersk Honam – shippers may be asked to pay GA and salvage bonds exceeding half the value of their cargoes. No cargo has been damaged in connection with this incident, but the bonds may be used to recover the cost of the refloat effort.

For its part, Evergreen believes that as the charterer it has “very low” exposure to financial risk from the grounding, president Eric Hsieh told Taiwanese reporters on Thursday. “Our risk exposure from the Ever Given incident is very low – even if there are damages, it will be covered by insurance,” Hsieh said. “Evergreen is free of responsibility from cargo delays [under the terms of carriage].”

Suez Canal Impact

BOC is continuing to monitor the fallout of the MV Ever Given blocking the Suez Canal. Below is a list of the services that have been affected. If you have any questions please contact your local BOC representative.

Suez Canal Update

Suez Canal to be re-opened soon – no more deviations via Cape of Good Hope

Hapag Lloyd reporting:

The vessel EVER GIVEN has refloated in the early morning and will be towed to Great Bitter Lake for inspection. Towage operations for the vessel should commence very soon during high tide. Damaged area of the canal will be inspected and repaired if necessary.

We expect transits to start later this evening. It is still not clear if any vessels might be prioritized for passage. Current backlog should be cleared within four days.

We currently do not know the exact ETA of our affected vessels, but we will do our utmost to optimize the rotations in order to minimize potential bottlenecks at ports and terminals.

Please be assured that we are tirelessly working 24/7 to keep the impact on our customers as low as possible. We will keep you regularly updated about the further developments.

Canada Border Services Agency Assessment and Revenue Management Project – coming soon!

The CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project is a multi-year initiative that will transform the collection of duties and taxes for goods imported into Canada. Through CARM, the CBSA will modernize and streamline the process of importing commercial goods.


Once fully implemented, CARM will:
• simplify the overall importing process.
• provide a modern interface for importing into Canada.
• give importers self-service access to their information.
• reduce the cost of importing into Canada.
• improve consistency of compliance with trade rules.

The implementation of CARM is structured in a series of releases. The Accounts Receivable Ledger (ARL) was the first phase of the CARM project. For details on ARL, consult the Commercial payments and accounts section of our website.

Read more about the CARM features and on how to prepare for the CARM initiative.


CARM Release 0: January 2021
The existing ARL system will be moved from its current data centre configuration to the more robust SAP S4/HANA system. External users of the system will not experience any change. Importers’ Daily Notices may be delayed a few days during the implementation of Release 0 for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) clients.

CARM Release 1: Spring 2021
Release 1 will launch the CARM Client Portal, a self-service tool to facilitate accounting and revenue management processes with the CBSA.

CARM Release 2: Spring 2022
Release 2 will expand on the functionalities of the CARM Client Portal.
Stakeholder engagement

Join the CARM GCcollab group, an online forum for the trade chain community, where members can access the latest communications materials related to CARM. To join, simply create a GCcollab account and make a request to join the CARM group.

For questions about the CARM project and/or to register for future CARM-related communications, contact CARM Engagement (

CBSA has also established a Trade Chain Partner Working Group, whose members continue to receive information on the CARM project.