Motor carriers miffed over delay in ACI eManifest program implementation
March 7, 2013
OTTAWA, Ont. – Canadian motor carriers who have made the investment and put forward the effort to be early-adopters of Canada Border Service Agency’s ACI eManifest program are not pleased by the agency’s announced delay in...
OTTAWA, Ont. – Canadian motor carriers who have made the investment and put forward the effort to be early-adopters of Canada Border Service Agency’s ACI eManifest program are not pleased by the agency’s announced delay in implementation, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance.
The CBSA yesterday officially announced the informed compliance period for the ACI eManifest program will be extended beyond May 1, 2013 — the date it had set for the program to become mandatory for all highway carriers.
“The one thing we asked CBSA from the outset was to avoid the kind of stop-start approach to implementation that characterized the roll-out U.S. eManifest program so this announcement will not sit well with a lot of our members,” David Bradley, president and CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, says.
The May 1 compliance date was established by CBSA in October 2012. A month later, the period of informed compliance during which time carriers are not assessed penalties for non-compliance with the eManifest requirements and cannot be denied entry into Canada, was launched.
Regulations to enforce eManifest requirements for highway carriers are now expected to be in place this Fall. The CBSA said it anticipates being able to provide carriers as much as 45 days advance notice of the mandatory compliance date.
CBSA said the deadline extension was due to “timeliness associated with the regulatory process.”
While not pleased with the delay, Bradley acknowledged: “there’s not much we can do about it – if the regulations haven’t passed, they haven’t passed.”
Back in December we reported that the Canadian Trucking Alliance had informed CBSA that its member carriers were still experiencing difficulties and delays with the ACI eManifest program.
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 were reporting that some border service officers are telling truck drivers that ACI isn’t being implemented until May 2013. That, of course, has now been pushed to the Fall.
“Like any new program there have been some hiccups during implementation — some early adopters have experienced delays and complications sometimes arising out of a lack of familiarity on the part of CBSA border agents with the new policies and procedures – but on balance most have experienced faster clearance or believe clearance will be expedited once the bugs are worked out,” Bradley said. “We remain committed to working with CBSA to get the eManifest program in place. An automated border is the key to a more efficient border.”
For those carriers that are not yet compliant with the program, Bradley encourages them to “get with the program” now. “If you wait until the 45 day notice period before starting to get ready, you won’t have enough time to be in compliance when the program does become mandatory,” he warned.
During the current informed compliance period, the CBSA is monitoring compliance with eManifest and providing feedback to non-compliant carriers. Carriers are not denied entry to Canada nor are they subject to penalties if found to be in non-compliance during this period.
Once the eManifest highway carrier requirements become mandatory CBSA must receive and validate highway carriers’ electronic cargo and conveyance data a minimum of one hour before commercial goods arrive at the border. Non-compliant carriers will be subject to penalties.
Highway carriers can choose between two options to transmit their cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA: 1) the eManifest Portal or 2) an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) method (Value Added Network, Customs Internet Gateway, Direct Connect to the CBSA and Third Party Service Providers).
On arrival at the border, drivers are required to present an eManifest lead sheet to the CBSA officer.
Release processes will not change with the implementation of eManifest and carriers must continue to provide importers/customs brokers with advance release data/documents for goods being released at first point of arrival.
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