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Customs to carriers: Take a number

OTTAWA, Ont. - While the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency wanted to phase out most 2ITN carrier codes from the Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) by June 30, it's likely that the date will be pushed ba...


OTTAWA, Ont. – While the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency wanted to phase out most 2ITN carrier codes from the Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) by June 30, it’s likely that the date will be pushed back, Truck News has learned.

The proposal to require unique, four-digit carrier codes of those crossing the border more than five times a year was unveiled in January, but the deadline has already met intense opposition.

“It (the date) is not written in stone and I think it’s going to be replaced by a later date,” says Betty Lou Daye of the release policy project management division.

“When we introduced PARS, as a new way of getting (the system) introduced at the border, we issued these PARS bar-coded stickers. That little magic sticker is what makes the whole PARS system work.”

While “millions” of stickers were issued for the pre-clearance system, they all were preceded by the generic code for “itinerant” carriers. Customs wants, instead, to enforce the need for a unique four-digit code to identify each carrier.

It stopped issuing the generic codes on Jan. 4.

Part of the problem is linked to carriers who aren’t registered with PARS at all. Drivers arrive at Customs with an RMD (Released on Minimum Documentation) package that requires a manifest, and on that manifest is the same 2ITN designation.

“For a lot of years, we have allowed the use of that 2ITN designation even if you hand wrote it on a manifest,” Daye says.

But Customs is looking to intensify the focus on commercial carrier as officials look for contraband, and the four-digit code will play a key role.

“They rely on being able to establish profiles,” Daye says of the enforcement effort. “The carrier identification is key.”

Still, it won’t be the complete end of the 2ITN designation. Customs will continue to allow it for carriers who cross into the U.S. five times or fewer per year, so they won’t have to print the customized documents and bar codes.

“It’s not viable for them to print their own bar codes,” she says of the smaller operations.

Up to 70 per cent of carriers using some crossings are registered with the program.

There are now 5,300 carriers registered under PARS.

Revenue Canada, Customs and the Trade Administration Branch introduced the system in 1991 to help speed up the clearance process at the border, giving Customs officers a chance to review information about a shipment before it even arrives. Officers then identify the shipments by reading a PARS bar code.

Form E369 – Application to Transact Non-Bonded Carrier Operations at Point of Arrival in Canada – is available in local Canada Customs offices. n


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