TORONTO, Ont. – The advanced electronic reporting of shipments at land border crossings will soon be a reality trucking companies will have to embrace if they are not already doing so.
ACI eManifest was launched in October 2010, but so far only a handful of carriers are participating in the voluntary program. It won’t be voluntary for long, however, with the eManifest portal slated to go online this summer, which will start the clock on a 12-month implementation period. A six-month grace period will follow, during which no fines will be levied for non-compliance, Steve Titov, a senior program officer with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) told attendees at a recent Transportation Workshop hosted by Motortruck Fleet Executive and Dan Goodwill & Associates.
The goal of the ACI eManifest program is to improve the flow of goods across the border while freeing up Customs’ resources to focus on high-risk shipments.
“We will have a more efficient border crossing…and hopefully it will allow us to use our resources only on those things we should be looking at,” Titov said.
The CBSA is working to harmonize its program with the ACE program implemented by its US counterparts. Titov said developing the ACI eManifest program has been a massive project for the agency.
“For CBSA, this is one of the largest undertakings we’ve ever had,” he said. “There’s lots of systems work to be done. Every time we implement one portion of it, we have to see how it affects the entire system.”
The good news is the CBSA ACI eManifest portal – once it goes live in early summer – will be free to use.
“We don’t often give things away for free,” Titov admitted of CBSA.
The portal will allow carriers and importers to file information electronically at least one hour before the truck arrives at the border, allowing CBSA officers to assess the risk of the load, driver and vehicle in advance of the shipment arriving.
Carriers also have the option of having a third-party specialist facilitate the e-filing requirements. Titov said he expects small and medium-sized companies to benefit the most from the free CBSA portal.
“The portal is going to operate like any other secure site,” Titov explained, noting he had his first look at a working version of the portal just days before the May 25 seminar. “You’re going to need a carrier code and a password and then all you are going to need is a computer with a Web browser to access this thing.”
Drivers transporting low-risk loads should benefit from eManifest, since Customs officers will be able to determine their status as low-risk before their arrival and let them pass through with minimal disruption.
No processes change once the truck has passed the Customs booth, Titov noted.
Customs officers will also benefit, as they’ll be able to view all vital information about a shipment on one screen. Currently, Titov noted, Customs officers must pull information from three different systems.
As of May 25, there were 132 highway carriers filing their advanced cargo notice electronically via ACI eManifest, with another 14 in testing, Titov said.
Seven service providers are up and running while another five are in testing. So far, CBSA has received more than 6,000 eManifest conveyance transmissions and more than 87,000 cargo transmissions.