Canada’s Advance Commercial Information (ACI) electronic manifest (eManifest) initiative is modernizing cross border trade processes. ACI eManifest aims to improve border safety and security through better risk assessment and threat identification of cargo and conveyances entering or transiting Canada.
ACI eManifest, also called the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) eManifest or Canadian eManifest, requires truck/highway and rail carriers to submit electronic cargo and conveyance information to the CBSA before arriving at the border. ACI eManifest also requires freight forwarders and importer self-filers or their brokers to submit advance electronic secondary and importer data to the CBSA. Most commercial goods bound for or transiting Canada must be manifested.
ACI eManifest requirements have been mandatory for the ground mode of transport (highway and rail carriers) since January 11, 2016, with CBSA issuing monetary penalties for noncompliance. On November 7, 2016, the submission of electronic house bills (eHBL) also became mandatory. Clients that submit electronic house bills for imports and in-transits voluntarily are not required to submit supplementary reports for cargo with accompanying house bills.
Customs officials determine the risk level of each shipment transported by truck based on the pre-arrival information submitted by the carrier. At the border, the driver will be allowed to cross if everything is in order. However, the truck or shipment may be subject to inspection if there is missing information, the shipment details are vague or incomplete, the shipment has a dangerous goods code or Harmonized System (HS) code for regulated goods, the cargo weight is unusually high or low, or if there are several cargo and conveyance changes.
ACI eManifest Data Requirements
For highway carriers, the ACI eManifest requirements are in addition to the release requirements that must be supplied by the importer or their customs broker. For goods to be released at the first point of arrival, the carrier must contact the importer or broker to ensure that the release request is sent to and accepted by the CBSA before arrival. Both the eManifest and release request filing ensure smooth and efficient cross border trade.
Required cargo data elements include the Cargo Control Number (CCN), the Port Code of the First Point of Arrival (FPOA) and the Port of Destination/Exit, description of the goods, and shipper and consignee information. Required conveyance data elements include the carrier’s Conveyance Reference Number (CRN), the Port Code of the FPOA in Canada where the conveyance will cross the border, Estimated Date and Time of Arrival (ETA) at the FPOA, and the Cargo Control Numbers (CCN) of all related cargo submissions. Additional data elements may also be required depending on the type of shipment.
ACI eManifest for Freight Forwarders: Important Dates
CBSA has implemented ACI eManifest requirements for freight forwarders in a phased approach. CBSA has released an implementation timeline for freight forwarders.
November 7, 2016 to January 10, 2017: Transition period for all freight forwarders. CBSA is working closely with freight forwarders to resolve issues related to the transition. Penalties for noncompliance will NOT be issued during this period.
January 11, 2017 to July 11, 2017: Freight forwarders that fail to comply with ACI eManifest requirements may receive zero-rated or non-monetary penalties under the CBSA’s Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).
July 12, 2017: Freight forwarders that fail to comply with ACI eManifest requirements may receive monetary AMPS penalties.
ACI eManifest Penalties for Noncompliance
Highway and rail trade participants that fail to submit accurate, complete and timely information to CBSA may receive heavy monetary penalties. Fines may also be issued if the carrier or party involved in the shipment fails to inform CBSA that changes have been made to the submitted information. Besides fines, noncompliance often leads to denial of entry, shipment delays and dissatisfied customers.
CBSA has announced changes to the AMPS for ACI eManifest effective November 1, 2016. Monetary penalties for ACI violations range from $250 to $8000 depending on the infraction and risk level. Multiple infractions or continued noncompliance usually means higher monetary penalties. For example, a client that failed to submit advance cargo or conveyance eManifest data to the CBSA will be fined $2,000 for the first penalty, $4,000 for the second penalty, and $8,000 for the third and subsequent penalties, including turning around the conveyance to submit ACI data from the U.S. The above penalties also apply to parties that failed to comply with the CBSA notifications regarding the goods being transported by the carrier.
Parties that submitted false, inaccurate and incomplete information to CBSA and parties that failed to notify customs in a timely manner about corrections to pre-arrival information will be fined $500 (1st penalty), $750 (2nd penalty) and $1,500 (3rd and subsequent penalties). Those that failed to submit pre-arrival eManifest data to CBSA within the specified timeframe and manner will be fined $250 (1st penalty), $375 (2nd penalty) and $750 (3rd and subsequent penalties).
On December 1, 2016, CBSA moved forward with graduated ACI eManifest penalties. Carriers with repeated infractions will now receive level 2 or level 3 penalties. Carriers must comply with ACI requirements for at least 12 months to return to level 1.
Carriers and importer self-filers can correct only lower-level infractions. In addition to the graduated penalty levels (level 1 to 3), CBSA also evaluates the frequency of the infraction or the retention period. Depending on the violation, the retention can range from one to three years. Most infractions have a one-year retention period, after which penalty calculations will start at the first level. Companies with a lower risk assessment profile are least likely to receive strict cargo inspection.
To encourage carriers to take corrective action, CBSA will send letters to carriers or their contacts that are most at risk for noncompliance. The letters will include details of the AMPS, instances of non-compliance, and offers of assistance to address the problem.
GeTS ACI eManifest Solutions
As the transition from paper-based cross border processes to electronic continues, CBSA encourages organizations and trade participants to be aware of new regulations. Technology plays a critical role in ensuring compliance and reducing the risk of monetary penalties. The right ACI eManifest technology makes high-volume eManifest submissions and tracking quick, easy, and convenient.
Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a CBSA-approved service provider of industry leading trade processing solutions. Based on the Software-as-a-Service model, GeTS offers multiple connectivity options for carriers and freight forwarders. Clients can submit required ACI eManifest data to CBSA via a web-based application with EDI connection, via fax or email, or via integration with existing systems.
Clients that prefer to integrate GeTS ACI eManifest solutions into existing systems can do so seamlessly. eManifest filings are sent directly to the CBSA. This plan supports multiple submission options and partial data transfer to a web portal account to complete and send eManifest filings.
A web-based account stores all trip and shipment details, including drivers, trailers, and consignees. Create, submit and track eManifest filings online. For faster eManifest creation, clients can use upload and templates features for each trip and can create mirrored trip details for U.S.-bound carriers.
Fax or Email (FAX2US)
Clients with limited access to the Internet can fax or email paper documents to the GeTS ACI processing center. GeTS will prepare and submit the eManifest to CBSA, send a copy to your broker, and notify the truck driver when they can head to border crossing.
GeTS eManifest solutions feature a secure corporate account for enterprise users, 24/7 customer support (including expert assistance on customs compliance issues), streamlined and easy-to-use application that reduces data entry, multiple plans, and connectivity options. There are no extra charges for the set-up and no hidden fees. Visit our website to learn more about ACI eHBL.