January 17, 2022 | Circular No. 11381

Dear Member,

Transport Canada has advised that it has engaged an external consultant to undertake a study of the container shipping industry over the next several months.  The study will examine the regulatory framework in which the industry operates both in Canada and elsewhere in the world, and consider policy options for addressing shipper concerns over issues such as service reliability, equipment imbalances, freight rates, surcharges, and detention and demurrage fees. The study will also consider whether competition within the container shipping industry should be subject to greater regulation than is currently afforded under Canada’s Shipping Conferences Exemption Act (SCEA).

The study will be carried out by Dr. Mary Brooks, a Professor Emerita at Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business.  Dr. Brooks is a renowned scholar who has conducted extensive research on liner shipping regulation, port governance and performance, and short sea shipping over the last several decades.  She became a member of the Order of Canada on December 29, 2021 in recognition of her contributions  to the fields of marine transportation performance and supply chain management.

Dr. Brooks will surveying exporters, importers, freight forwarders and shipping lines (as well as their respective associations) to obtain input not only on how specific sectors of the industry operate, but also on policy questions related to the potential repeal (or amendment) of SCEA, the future role of the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) and the Competition Bureau in relation to SCEA, and other avenues for addressing concerns and pressures in the liner shipping industry overall.  This outreach will be done on a confidential, anonymized basis and the resulting data will be subject to strict privacy protocols.

We will be reaching out to our container carrier members over the next fews to provide additional information about this project, as well as a link to the survey itself.  In the meantime, members requiring additional information on any of the above should contact the undersigned.

Best regards,

Karen Kancens
Vice President