CTA, PMTC Give Thumbs Up to New eManifest Rules

Two trucking groups have given their endorsement to changes in regulations regarding eManifest information required by Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) prior to arrival in Canada.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) and the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) responded following the Wednesday announcement in the Canada Gazette Part II.

The rules indicate to carriers that there is now a short time to comply with CBSA’s Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) eManifest requirements for all trucks, loaded or empty, coming into Canada.

eManifest requires the electronic transmission of manifest information from highway carriers at least one hour prior to the trucks’ arrival at the first port of entry into Canada.

Information identifying the truck, trailer, shipment and driver can be sent to CBSA through a free web based portal, a direct connection to the CBSA or through a service provider.

Beginning July 10, CBSA will begin to issue “zero-rated” penalties under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS). 

That means that although a penalty has technically been issued, no money will be owed to CBSA.

The penalty will instead serve as a warning to carriers they must correct the issue that led to the penalty and be prepared to fully comply with ACI requirements.  The “zero-rated” AMPS period will last for six months, after which, full AMPS will apply, including monetary fines, beginning Jan. 10, 2016.

“CTA members have been voluntarily submitting e-Manifests to CBSA for nearly five years now,” said CTA’s CEO, David Bradley. “While there have been growing pains, the process has shown to expedite cross-border truck traffic so the fact that we finally have a date for when the program becomes mandatory means things should improve further.”

According to CTA, CBSA has indicated that 90% of highway carriers are ready for eManifest.

However, carriers are encouraged to communicate this notice to shippers and customers as they will need to provide information to carriers in advance and ensure descriptions and piece counts are accurate for all goods. 

Failing to do so could result in delays at the border as well as contribute to potential fines for the carriers.

While PMTC supports the CBSA decision, it is not entirely happy.

“We were also hoping to see some operational guidance in the announcement itself, or in the form of a customs notice, to address the cumbersome process that requires the eManifest to be filled for empty vehicles entering Canada,” said Mike Millian, PMTC president. “It can be a challenge if drivers are barely an hour from the border when they are told to return without a load.”

According to the group, while not widely publicized, an interim process had been discussed but CBSA chose not to address it in the final rule.

“Without specific and direct guidance about empty vehicles, there is bound to be extra processing costs or delays at the border as we move toward mandatory ACI filings,” Millan said. “The PMTC and its partners will continue to work on behalf of private fleets to ensure the issue is resolved.”

More information about the new rules can be found on CBSA’s website.


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