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Freight forwarders carry the weight of security rules

Increasingly complex regulatory requirements are creating heavy burdens for Canada’s freight forwarders and are a substantial driver of industry costs, according to an article in the most recent Canadian Sailings magazine:

Gavin Magrath, a Toronto lawyer specializing in freight-forwarding law and who is General Editor of Forwarderlaw.com, called regulations “a substantial driver” of costs and uncertainty in the industry. “Currently, inspections are mandated by many branches of government, overseen by CBSA, and carried out mainly by third party ­private contractors,” Mr. Magrath said by email. “This makes it very difficult to manage costs, risk, service quality, and customer expectations.”

He added that security requirements are expected to become even tighter. That will include screening 100 per cent of cargo, as well as “advance information requirements,” which he says will result in “a new service standard the industry will be required to meet.” Mr. Magrath agreed also that Montreal’s seal number requirement is an impractical security requirement that seemed to him like it was imposed “without input from industry.” Aside from increasing uncertainty and costs, such practices also degrade the system, Mr. Magrath said.

We note that the term “specialist” was chosen by the author without our knowledge. The Law Society of Upper Canada offers specialist qualifications, although not in the fields of maritime and transport law, and lawyers may only describe themselves as “specialists” in an area of law if they obtain the appropriate qualification. Magrath O’Connor regrets this error.

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