Q: What will happen to all in transit cargo should there be a shut down or companies must shut down and therefore cannot accept freight?  Will CN/CP terminals, etc. provide allowances as we saw in China on container storage/demurrage?

A: Supply chain has been deemed as essential services and therefore remain fully operational.  We continue to manage cargo flow with our clients’ needs in mind while following government regulations.  At this time, CN and CP continue to operate as normal and have not communicated any plans in the event of shut downs.  Options for cargo handling will be communicated as soon as they are known.

Q: Have we heard any news that the government will refuse general merchandise from shipping out of China and only allow essential products to come into the country?

A: Currently, the Government has not announced any changes to cargo restrictions coming into the USA or Canada.

Q: What has been deemed as essential services by the Government in Canada?

A: What is considered an essential or non-essential service can vary across difference provinces and territories. Below is the information released by two provinces:

Ontario List of Essential Workplaces
Quebec Priority Services and Activities

Q: Will Metro Customs Brokers waive storage on freight should the warehouses close?

A: Storage costs will depend on the warehouses.  Should they choose to assess storage fees for cargo, Metro Customs Brokers will do its best to negotiate the best rates to minimize the impact to our clients.

Q: Are there any delays with customs releases?

A: As of today, no reported delays in customs releases.

Q: Is commercial cargo being allowed into the USA and Canada?

A: On March 18, both US and Canadian governments have mutually agreed to temporarily close the borders to non-essential travel for tourists and visitors.  This announcement does not affect cargo movement between the two countries and both rail and trucks continue to move cross-border.

Q: How operational is Metro Customs Brokers and what is the current setup, locally and globally?

A: Metro Customs Brokers continue to be fully operational. There will be limited office staff presence maintained to perform necessary on-site required functions (while exercising social distancing). Our offices in China are operating in shifts for office presence and remote working from home.

Q: If we need to send physical paperwork and BOLs to your office, is there anyone to receive them?

A: We will have individuals in our offices on a rotational basis so that we can receive and send out any of the required paper documentation.

Q: Should we go through the regular channels to contact our account reps or are there new contact? Details?

A: Please contact your account representatives as they will be available to answer your calls. Our Client Relations Team is fully operational and is there to help answer any questions you may have.

Q: What is Metro’s policy on demurrage, detention, and storage?

A: As an agent on behalf of the carriers; storage, detention, and demurrage fees are passed on as billed by the carriers. Currently, most have advised that they do not have any plans to change current fee structure as supply chain continues to flow. Maersk, as an exception, has provided the following update:

“Demurrage & Detention update: 
Any day a terminal is closed, we will not count that day as a working day within the customer’s free time period for demurrage or detention.

If a terminal is restricting empty returns, we will not count that day as a working day within the free time period for import detention.

For export detention, if the earliest receipt date changes for a shipment (while the container is in the customer’s possession for stuffing), we will extend the customer’s detention free time through the new earliest receipt date for the shipment.

In all cases of the above, when free time expires – we will bill demurrage and detention per calendar day as normal procedure.

Any 3rd party expenses (chassis, storage depots) due to changes of terminal or vessel schedules will not be covered by Maersk.”

As for rail, both CN and CP have advised that current pricing and storage remain in place.

Q: Are there any updates on duties & taxes payable to both CBP and CBSA? 

A: USA: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is no longer accepting requests for additional days for payment, and has provided guidance to Brokers, Importers and Sureties on processing the universe of entries affected by the previous message.

CBP will retain the right to allow additional days for narrow circumstances, including a physical inability to file entry or payments, due to technology outages or port closures.

This applies to those parties who have submitted a request to CBP in writing for additional days for payments, in response to CSMS 42097586.

Important Attachments:
Additional Guidance For Entry Summary Payments Impacted by COVID-19
Fedwire Instructions CBP


CANADA: The Prime Minister of Canada made an announcement on March 27th, 2020, stating month end payment of duties and taxes on imports is deferred until June 30th, 2020. The press conference can be viewed Here.

The time frame for all payments due to the Agency (duties and taxes on regular imports, re-assessments, penalties, etc.) is extended to June 30th, 2020.

This also includes charges on the statement of account of March due on April 1st.








Laurie McCarthy

[email protected]

Natalie Liteplo

[email protected]

Shoma Chaudhuri

[email protected]

Montréal (Service en français)

Jason Trudeau

[email protected]


Tracy Beirnes

[email protected]

Rhonda Bradshaw

[email protected]


Parry Darred

[email protected]

New York

Rhonda Bradshaw

[email protected]