Advance Commercial Information program and eManifest bring changes to border crossings
For decades businesses have been promised streamlined, paperless solutions for all their business processes. While we’re still nowhere close to a global paperless world, Canada Border Services Agency is doing its best to ensure that 2013 will usher in as many paperless solutions as possible—assuming it can meet its own deadlines.
The third phase of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program—more casually known as eManifest—is officially scheduled to get into full swing this year, which means those who ship or carry cargo face key deadlines that will change the way business is conducted.
Trucks and highways
The full eManifest program is being implemented in stages with staggered deadlines. The most concrete deadline was supposed to be May 1, 2013. That’s when eManifest for highway carriers was scheduled to become mandatory, and trucking companies and 3PLs would have been required to electronically submit information about their cargo to CBSA before vehicles arrived at the Canadian border. Carriers who didn’t comply weren’t supposed to be allowed to enter the country.
The information required is the same type information shippers would typically present in paper form (type of cargo, quantity of items shipped, origin of shipment, delivery destination, etc.). The degree of required detail, however, is greater than typically found on paper manifests. Carriers with lower volumes can submit the information using a portal on the CBSA website. Larger-volume carriers can use EDI to send the data.
It seems, however, the concrete hasn’t quite set. Although there has been no official verification from the government, MM&D has learned that some industry organizations are telling their members that the highways carrier deadline has already been bumped. One industry association spokesperson, who requested to remain anonymous, said “I can confirm that the deadline will be pushed back.”
Mississauga, Ontario-based freight forwarder and Customs broker Kintetsu World Express (Canada) Inc (KWE) issued a notice to customers and subscribers of its e-mail alert service which reads, “CBSA announced last week at a Border Commercial Consultative Committee (BCCC) meeting that eManifest for highway has been delayed. May 1, 2013, is no longer the mandatory date. CBSA is hoping for implementation in the fall of this year. This date change will likely.”
According to Dian Wollison, manager of Customs consulting at KWE’s Windsor Customs clearance centre, the information came from a notification sent out to select members of the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website describes the Border Commercial Consultative Committee (BCCC) as providing “CBSA officials and commercial stakeholders with a forum for dialogue on Canada’s border operations”.
Wollison says part of the reason for the delay is “many smaller carriers are not up to speed on this at all” so CBSA is “working on getting more carriers in the loop”.
CBSA originally chose November 1, 2012 to be the mandatory implementation date, but a couple weeks beforehand, “CBSA decided to call it a ‘soft enforcement period’—call it an informed compliance,” explained Deanna Pagnan, director of policy and government relations for the Ontario Trucking Association.
“So while it is considered mandatory, trucks are not currently being turned around at the border. They won’t be ‘AMPed’—receive administrative monetary penalties—if they don’t submit an ACI. Instead the border service officers are providing information. There’s a tear-off sheet that tells them what they should have done under ACI.”