10 Things to Know about Trucks Coming from the U.S.

MISSISSAUGA — As of November 1st, all trucks entering Canada from the U.S.A. will be required to submit an eManifest to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) at least one hour before the truck arrives at the border. Problem is, the vast majority of carriers haven’t even registered for the new system yet.

James May, Regional Director, North America, for shipping software developers CrimsonLogic  is an expert on the looming (Advanced Commercial Information) eManifest rule. Last week, he led a half-day seminar on what the changes mean to Canadian carriers. (The event was sponsored by freight-matching giant TransCore Link Logistics.)

“There are currently about 2,000 carriers set up in production,” May said, “and CBSA has about 20,000 carrier codes in their database. So with the deadline for mandatory reporting only six weeks away there is a big hill to climb before all carriers are in compliance.”

With that in mind, May presented the following 10 Things Carriers Must Know for ACI Manifest:

1. By Nov. 1st all trucks crossing into Canada must submit an eManifest to CBSA at least one hour before the arrival of the truck at the border. You can submit your eManifest earlier than one hour and upwards of 30 days in advance if the information is available.

2. The first six months after November 1st, CBSA will be issuing zero-rated AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System) to carriers. This means there is no monetary penalty for non-compliance but your participation in other security programs such as PIP (Partners in Protection) and CSA (Customs Self-Assessment) could be affected.

3. All carriers must have a valid carrier code. CBSA no longer accepts the 77YY temporary carrier code. This should not be a problem for the majority of carriers who cross the border on a regular basis but for the odd carrier that crosses the border once or twice a year this could be an issue if the carrier has been using the 77YY code.

4. All carriers must be set up with ACI eManifest and this can be done in the following ways:

  • Apply for a CBSA ACI eManifest portal account http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/manif/portal-portail-eng.html
  • Use a service provider such as a software company that can provide you web based access and EDI connectivity to CBSA http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/eservices/sp-fs/07-eng.html
  • Connect directly to CBSA (this option requires investment and IT resources within your organization) http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/eservices/sp-fs/08-eng.html

5. Are PARS barcodes still required? Yes and no. Something must be barcoded when you hand over your paperwork to the officer at the port. This means that either the trip number (CRN-Conveyance Reference Number) or PARS number must be barcoded. If you use the PARS barcode you must write the trip number at the top of the paperwork given to the officer. The reason that one of the control numbers must be barcoded is because CBSA does not use RFID transponder technology yet, like the American border authorities do.

6. The ACI eManifest program. requires the advance information of truck, trailer, driver and cargo information at least one hour before the arrival of the truck at the border. When CBSA receives this information before the arrival of the truck it allows CBSA to make decisions whether to release the truck or not before it arrives. This saves time at the border when the officer scans the trip number barcode or PARS barcode bringing up all information on the officer’s screen. Before ACI the officer would have to scan a PARS barcode and start to review the information at that time.

7. Participation in RNS (Release Notification System) program is highly recommended by CBSA. The RNS program electronically sends the customs broker entry number (transaction number) to the carrier electronically as soon as the cargo is released by the customs broker. This means you don’t have to call the customs broker repeatedly asking if the cargo has been released or calling back to dispatch to check the customs broker website to get an update on the release status.

8. Driver and passenger details are optional until further advised by CBSA. This means you can send your driver and passenger details in the manifest or can you omit them until a later time. If you’re programming your dispatch to electronically send manifest details to CBSA it might be advantageous to program sending the driver details now so you don’t need to go back and program for this again once ACI becomes mandatory.

9. Empty trucks crossing into Canada still require an ACI eManifest. The exceptions that don’t require an eManifest for empty trucks are:

  • Bobtail tractor
  • Carrier is a CSA carrier and the driver is a FAST (Free and Secure Trade) participant

10. CSA importer shipments (there are only about 30-plus CSA importers) carried by a CSA carrier with a FAST driver are fully exempt from ACI eManifest reporting. Again if you have programmed your dispatch system to send details electronically to CBSA and your system cannot separate CSA and non-CSA cargo you can still send CSA shipment data to ACI by indicating at the cargo level that it is a CSA shipment.

CSA carriers that start to submit ACI eManifest must start to send their TCP (Trade Chain Partner) updates electronically instead of emailing to CBSA. Most service providers provide means to send TCP data electronically to CBSA. TCP data consists of your owner-operators and warehouses which are required to be reported to CBSA as a participating CSA carrier.


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