No silver bullet for shipping container crisis, says Pulse Canada

The conversation surrounding supply chains and transportation have been plentiful as of late, and coming up on the list of things to watch is the National Supply Chain Summit.

On January 31, the Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra is hosting a trade summit, with the participation of five other ministers, including Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Marie-Claude Bibeau.

Greg Cherewyk, president of Pulse Canada joined RealAg Radio host Shaun Haney and the RealAg Issues Panel for a discussion ahead of the summit. As Cherewyk explains, ultimately it is a summit that will be focused on resiliency.

“We [at Pulse Canada] have been calling for this national dialogue around this concept of resiliency,” he says. “Clearly, it’s step one, it’s not going to be a summit where everything is decided on over the course of three, four hours. This is one of, I assume, a number of different consultations and a number of different discussions that will focus around the issues of supply chain resiliency, and what we need to do to build in a bit more resiliency into Canada’s supply chains.” (Story continues below player.)

The transportation file is one that Cherewyk says Pulse Canada has been investing in for years, so they understand not only the importance of it, but also the scope of it.

“We’re not going to approach this discussion on Monday with the idea that there’s a silver bullet solution or a quick fix here. Our ask is going to be very simple. It’s going to be, number one, that you look at this issue by supply chain, so that this doesn’t become a discussion that’s focused on the broader Canadian supply chain and broader Canadian network, but that you look at supply chains individually, and that you prioritize the containerized freight supply chain. Canadian consumers, Canadian importers, and Canadian exporters are all feeling the very real impact of a containerized freight supply chain that is not working today,” he says.

Although Pulse Canada wants the focus of Monday’s conversation to surround what can be done in Canada, Cherewyk says due to interconnectivity, resiliency will always be a global issue — especially when it comes to shipping containers and pulses.

The evolution of the global containerized freight system, as he says, has gone from “having the ability as shippers to negotiate contracts with 20 separate lines, to having some ability to negotiate long term agreements with 12 separate lines, to not being able to negotiate that at all, because you’re dealing three major alliances that control that market.”

Stay tuned for further coverage from the National Supply Chain Summit.