The eManifest program is the third phase of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program. This program is designed to facilitate the movement of goods across the U.S. – Canada border by facilitating the pre-arrival shipment information process. ACT Phases 1 and 2 established and implemented the requirements for air and marine transportation. Phase 3, eManifest, expands the original program to include cargo, conveyance, secondary and importer admissibility data for all modes of transport including highway and rail by 2014.
For over the road shipping, the eManifest is a declaration by the carrier that tells Customs who the driver is, the truck he is driving, the trailer he is pulling and the cargo that is in the trailer. It is sent to Customs electronically prior to the arrival of the truck at the border.
This major Government of Canada initiative is all about risk management. By using an automated risk assessment system to screen all commercial shipment information in advance of the goods arriving in Canada, eManifest will allow for:
• The improved detection of shipments that pose a high or unknown risk prior to their arrival in Canada
• Low risk shipments to have facilitated entry into Canada
According to Debbie Smyth of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), users will have a 12 month implementation window to adopt eManifest, followed by a six month period of informed compliance. The CBSA will encourage users to adopt eManifest early. At the recent Driving for Profit Seminar in Hamilton, Debbie highlighted the benefits of being an early adopter. They include:
• More opportunities to access CBSA support
• More opportunities and time to fine-tune processes and correct problems
Highway carriers can begin eManifest transmissions in the Spring 2010 while rail carriers will follow in the Fall 2010. It is important to note that there can be penalties for incorrect transmissions. If this process is not done, a carrier could be subject to a penalty from Customs for up to $5000.00.
In her presentation, Debbie identified those data elements that are required in advance and those items that are either exemptions (e.g. emergency response vehicles) or exceptions (e.g. mail and low value courier shipments). Highway carriers will be required to submit conveyance, cargo, secondary and importer admissibility data one hour prior to the arrival at the border for the CBSA to risk assess and determine if the goods are admissible into Canada.
To facilitate the process, CBSA is developing a web portal that is “user friendly,” free of charge, secure and widely accessible. An automated notification system will confirm receipt of information, or detail detected errors that must be amended before arrival at the border.
Shipments identified as being high risk or unknown risk in terms of national security or public safety will be examined at the first point of arrival (FPOA). If required advance information has been determined by the CBSA for admissibility purposes and is determined to be low risk, importers and customs brokers may request release at either the FPOA or inland. If importer admissibility data has not been submitted prior to arrival, the shipment will be risk assessed. If the carrier and driver are members of trusted trader programs (CSA/FAST, bonded PIP, bonded C-TPAT and CDRP), the shipment can move to a CBSA-approved warehouse.
The key issue for shippers and carriers is the expense and time of trucks sitting at the border waiting for clearance. The main reason for trucks being held at the border would be a result of improper customs documentation, no eManifest filed or the eManifest filed improperly. According to Linda Thoms of LMT Border Assistance, “improper documentation originates with the shipper. Customs requires certain information in order to release the goods. (i. e. importer, exporter, # of pieces, country of origin, value etc.) If any information is missing on the documents, the broker cannot process the entry and the driver is held up at Customs until the problem is resolved. If the eManifest is filed improperly, this could hold up the shipment as well. The customs broker can hold up the processing of the paperwork for any of these different reasons. If the Customs Broker encounters problems with paperwork, it usually sits in a pile until the driver calls. They rarely contact the Customer to get the problem resolved; they leave it up to the trucking company or dispatchers to get the problem corrected.”
Linda indicated that this is where her company can help. Drivers can fax their documents to her. She reviews the documents to ensure that they have all the information required for the Customs Brokers. She forwards them to the Broker and follows up (to obtain their entry number) before the driver reaches the border. She will also file the eManifests to US Customs. “When the truck is ready to cross the border, I contact the driver, give him his entry number and tell him he is ready to go.”
Dan Goodwill, President, Dan Goodwill & Associates Inc. has over 30 years of experience in the logistics and transportation industries in both Canada and the United States. Dan has held executive level positions in the industry including President of Yellow Transportation’s Canada division, President of Clarke Logistics (Canada’s largest Intermodal Marketing Company), General Manager of the Railfast division of TNT and Vice President, Sales & Marketing, TNT Overland Express.
Goodwill is currently a consultant to manufacturers and distributors, helping them improve their transportation processes and save millions of dollars in freight spend. Mr. Goodwill also provides consulting services to transportation and logistics organizations to help them improve their profitability. All posts by Dan Goodwill