The National Supply Chain Task Force today submitted its final report to the Minister of Transport. The report sets forth a series of immediate and longer-term recommendations for addressing Canada’s supply chain challenges, wth a view to positioning Canada as a strong competitor in the global market and strengthening the economy overall. A link to the report can be found HERE.
Although we are still digesting the report and will provide a more detailed analysis in the coming days, you will find below a preliminary overview of the recommendations that are of most interest from an ocean shipping perspective:
1. Short term actions to ease container congestion at ports (page 17 of report)
- CBSA should permit containers currently being stored at port terminals to be moved in-bond via rail or truck to inland locations for customs clearance.
- The government should subsidize the cost of transporting containers inland until current congestion issues have been resolved and terminals can return to normal operations. More specifically, port authorities should be given funds to lease land, move containers, provide security and cover similar costs, as appropriate.
- Regulations and legislation should be revised to enable the government to take steps to decongest ports where necessary, including levying severe penalties against importers for any container they leave at a port for longer than five days.
2. Short term action to address capacity constraints at borders (page 20 of the report)
- Ensure that government departments and agencies which process commercial goods at ports and other border crossings are able to provided expanded 24/7 service as needed.
- Use automation, technology and other mechanisms to increase the efficiency of the above-noted inspections.
3. Longer term actions to enhance the role and authority of the Canadian Transportation Agency (page 29 of the report)
- Change the structure of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) to give it sufficient autonomy and enforcement authority to ensure all parties working within Canada’s transportation supply chain have balanced negotiating power.
- Enhance the CTA’s investigative and dispute resolution authority to enable it to be more proactive in launching investigations to address systemic issues in the Canadian transportation supply chain
- In addition to the above, the government should:
- Continue to allow the CTA to encourage and approve cooperative working arrangements between competitors when they result in improved efficiency and productivity;
- Require the CTA to identify and compel the appropriate data and reporting timelines necessary to monitor and enforce its rulings;
- Determine whether the CTA or the Competition Burdeau is best placed to address the consequences of reduced competition resulting from ocean shipping line alliances.
4. Other long term strategic actions
Governance (page 22 of the report)
- Establish a Supply Chain Office to unify the federal government’s responsibility / authority over transportation supply chain management across departments (with work on obtaining funding, hiring staff, etc. to begin immediately).
Infrastructure (page 23 of the report)
- Implement a long-term (30 to 50 year) transportation supply chain strategy that defines where supply chain investments should be made, allows for better planning by all levels of government and relevant stakeholders, and makes Canadian infrastructure investments more attractive to private investors.
Data and digitization (page 25 of the report)
- Develop and implement a national transportation supply chain data strategy, along with a government-led, industry-wide data-sharing commitment
As previously noted, we will be providing a more detailed analysis of the report’s observations, recommendations and associated timelines over the coming days, as well as an assessment of specific recommendations requiring additional engagement,advocacy and follow-up by the Federation and its members.