OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance has informed Canada Customs and Border Agency (CBSA) that member carriers are still experiencing difficulties and delays with the ACI eManifest program since the beginning of the informed compliance period which took effect on Nov. 1, 2012.
In a letter to the CBSA directorship, CTA’s senior VP Stephen Laskowski characterized the problems as “above and beyond what could reasonably be attributed to learning curve issues,” which are adding costs to carriers.
“It is clear from feedback and complaints from CTA members that there is a significant lack of consistency among border service officers in the level of knowledge and application of ACI policies,” wrote Laskowski, who added CTA receives reports daily from carriers across Canada who say they have been held up for hours and in cases, days, due to confusion over ACI policies at the port level.
In addition, carriers report that some border service officers are telling truck drivers that ACI isn’t being implemented until May 2013. “I’m sure you can appreciate the damage and confusion this sort of messaging does to industry support of the initiative,” says Laskowski.
CTA has been actively involved in CBSA’s ACI eManifest for highway carrier initiative by providing input on design, policies and implementation of ACI. In anticipation of this significant change for cross-border carriers on Nov. 1, CTA took steps to encourage carriers to become early adopters, implementing communications programs and learning opportunities.
However, despite CTA relaying to CBSA feedback from those early adopters about their policy and operational experiences with ACI, the problems still persist.
Deanna Pagnan, CTA’s director of Policy & Government Relations, says that CTA continues to take calls from carriers about these ACI challenges and other issues and is bringing them to CBSA’s attention.
“Carriers have made significant technological and training investments to accommodate ACI,” says Pagnan. “The experiences of many carriers is causing them to question the value of those investments and of the ACI initiative as a whole. If these problems experienced at the port level are not corrected in a very timely manner, CBSA will lose the support of carriers and many may revert back to paper processes until May 2013 to save time, money and operational headaches.”
CTA says it is prepared to continue working with CBSA to facilitate smooth ACI implementation and to overcome these ongoing challenges with ACI.
If member carriers have any questions about the program or to report incidents, please contact Deanna.Pagnan@Ontruck.org