By Alex Binkley

Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association decided on an image makeover as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations in 2018. It adopted a new logo more in keeping with the times that will become a key feature of its future branding.

The task of crafting the new logo went to Stephen McDermott, who took on the role of Marketing Director for CIFFA this year in addition to his job as Director of Education. “The Board decided we needed a new look to celebrate our anniversary,” he said. “We went through a number of options for a new logo and branding before we selected the new one.”

The previous logo was adopted for CIFFA’s 50th anniversary. “It was hand-drawn and while it was nice, there are no print fonts which match it. Also, our business has changed in that time and we wanted to create it with the tools we work with.” CIFFA says the logo’s edgy, linear look “evokes motion and movement, and demonstrates the evolution of the association as it meets the innovations and challenges of the digital future head on.”

It will be included in an updated CIFFA website as well as advertising and promotional material. CIFFA will transition gradually to the new format during the coming months including providing its 250 members with the appropriate logo for their websites and business cards. “While proud of our 70-year history, CIFFA members work in a rapidly changing world and our association is looking toward an exciting future,” said Association President Gary Vince. “The new logo is about moving forward.”

CIFFA was founded in September 1948 in Montreal by a small group of freight forwarders who saw a need to create an industry association to meet the professional demands of its members. Today, the association is managed by employees located at the Secretariat office in Toronto. Volunteer regional committees in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, each headed by a Director on the national Board, plan and host networking events that build the community.

The volunteer national Board of Directors, elected each year at the Association’s Annual General Meeting, oversees the activities of the association on a national level, dealing with subjects of both national and international importance to its members.

CIFFA’s status is unique in North America. Its Executive Director, Ruth Snowden, said that although there are regional associations, there is no national forwarder association in the U.S. As well, companies that assist shippers in arranging ocean transportation and forwarder-like entities called Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC) are regulated by the Federal Maritime Commission. While CIFFA falls under Canadian antitrust laws, she said freight forwarders in Canada “are unregulated and so different in approach.”

The closest American counterpart to CIFFA is the National Custom Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association. It represents more than 970 member companies with 110,000 employees in international trade, consisting of the nation’s leading freight forwarders, customs brokers, ocean transportation intermediaries, NVOCCs and air cargo agents, serving more than 250,000 importers and exporters. Established in 1897, it maintains a close watch over legislative and regulatory issues that affect its members.

Among its roles, CIFFA tracks developments in Ottawa and represents the industry on legislation or measures that affect forwarders. Association members, as required by CIFFA by-laws, adhere to recognized standard trading conditions, have forwarder’s liability insurance including Errors and Omissions coverage, and have access to a training program through CIFFA’s education system to allow the professional qualifications of their staff to be maintained.