Clearit.ca's Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates
As a customs brokerage and consultancy, we have an ear to the ground on what’s happening and how to navigate the situation with care. So we thought it would be a good opportunity to sit down with our Founder & President, Adam Lewis, virtually (of course!) to chat about the impact that the global pandemic has had on the import, logistics, and supply chain industry.
Meet Adam Lewis! We’re talking about the impact that COVID-19 has had Canadian imports.
What are some key shifts you’ve observed in the global trade market since Coronavirus sprang up?
We’ve certainly seen a lot of big businesses going into survival mode — especially big box retailers.
However, on the positive side, grocers have done an incredible job at maintaining a steady supply chain and moving to online merchandising.
Small businesses have also gotten really creative at looking for ways to pivot their offerings and mitigate their losses. At their size, it’s easier for them to be agile and make changes, like bringing in medical supplies.
For the next few months, businesses need to look at ways they can bring in other revenue streams to keep their doors open. This won’t last forever and when things return to normal, you’ll have a strong business market to come back to!
Do you have any advice for importers or any other businesses related to the logistics industry during this time?
Beyond taking a close look at your back-office admin and making sure you’re working effectively and efficiently with your resources, preparedness is the name of the game. Of course, in past economic downturns, we’ve had ample time to prepare. But in the case of the pandemic, changes came on very quickly. International trade was at a really high peak just a few weeks ago.
What we’re going through right now, from a logistics and supply chain perspective, is unprecedented. So don’t blame yourself for being on the unprepared side.
In the future preparedness for situations like these means smart, calculated decisions; businesses need to look at alternate channels for supply — i.e. backups in other countries.
As an essential service, Clearit is still here and working and ready to support importers. As credit has dried up, cash will be king to get things moving. Because Clearit is a COD service, we are poised to work with importers — even first-timers.
In general, credit has really disrupted the supply chain. As a business, you may have liquid in the bank, but if a supply chain partner refuses to move your goods until your bills are settled, you’ll run into problems that trickle down (even if you’re a provider of essential goods).
How has Canada been handling imports during the pandemic?
Thankfully, Canada has typically been less strict on imports, so barriers have always been pretty easy to overcome on that front. In addition one thing that Canada has done is provide relief in terms of duties and taxes until June.
This is a win for importers, as it’s typically been easier to move goods in, it’s been trickier for businesses to pay, because the duty and tax rate has been comparatively high. There is still a lot of unknowns as to how customs brokers will handle this deferral – Generally a broker is not set up to offer deferrals to clients and their bonds will quickly become saturated as their liability increases drastically.
As of today (changes occur often — keep your eyes peeled), Canada’s main focus has been on a micro-level: assisting businesses by giving them cash in hand.
What can we learn from this? Any advice for businesses moving forward?
This is a good time to reiterate: be prepared. We know importers buying products overseas is an easy process — and it’s easy for suppliers to connect with multiple buyers. However, importing a product without doing your homework can get expensive.
Thankfully, we have access to a large network of customs and trade consultants, so it’s typically worthwhile for importers to bring consultants into the fold as soon as they can to map your landed costs before moving forward. And ultimately avoid selling goods at loss.
If you’d like to learn more about how Clearit Canada is supporting importers during this trying time, click here to start a conversation.