ACI eManifest filing software helps the trade community comply with customs regulations by simplifying cross-border processes. The Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program of the Canadian government and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) requires the submission of electronic pre-arrival data, so that customs officials have the information to determine whether inbound commercial goods and conveyances pose a threat to the safety, security, and health of citizens.
The ACI initiative improves customs risk management while facilitating the movement of legitimate trade. ACI reduces costly and time-consuming paper documentation, manual data entry, and associated errors. For businesses, ACI streamlines customs processing and expedites the release of commercial shipments. ACI also helps businesses better plan for the movement of conveyances and personnel with real-time cargo status messages from the CBSA.
The ACI program has three phases: marine, air, and eManifest. The first phase of ACI rolled out in April 2004, requiring marine carriers to transmit electronic cargo data to the CBSA 24 hours before loading the cargo onto the vessel at a foreign port. Phase II was completed in July 2006, requiring air carriers and freight forwarders to submit electronic cargo and supplementary cargo data to the CBSA four hours before arriving in Canada. If the flight is less than four hours, the transmission must be received by the CBSA before the flight leaves the foreign airport. Phase II also included marine shipments loaded in the U.S.
ACI is currently in its third phase, the ACI eManifest. ACI eManifest requires carriers in highway and rail modes of transport to transmit electronic pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA at least an hour and two hours respectively before arriving at the border for non-FAST carriers and 30 minutes before arrival for FAST highway carriers. Freight forwarders are also required to transmit advance secondary data, while importers or their brokers are required to submit advance importer data.
ACI eManifest Compliance
ACI eManifest requirements for highway and rail carriers have been mandatory since May 2015. Failure to submit complete, accurate and timely eManifest data to the CBSA may lead to monetary penalties and delays at the border. Submitted data must also be supported by source documents such as commercial invoices, bills of lading, air waybills, etc.
For freight forwarders, the ACI eManifest requirement is currently in a zero-rated Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalty period (January 11, 2017 to July 11, 2017). This means that noncompliant forwarders may receive non-monetary penalties under the AMPS.
The CBSA has given the trade community time to prepare for the ACI system and to work out technology issues. ACI eManifest filing software can greatly help companies with the transition to ACI and electronic customs processing. CBSA-approved IT software service providers like CrimsonLogic Global eTrade Services (GeTS) offer flexible and cost-effective software solutions that speed up data transmission and improve regulatory compliance.
ACI eManifest Filing Requirements and Data Transmission Options by Mode of Transport
ACI eManifest Air
ACI eManifest for the air mode of transport requires carriers (the operator of the conveyance or aircraft) or their authorized agents to submit all shipment information electronically to the CBSA before arrival in Canada. The requirement applies to all air shipments entering or transiting Canada, including Freight Remaining on Board (FROB) shipments.
Submission of pre-arrival eManifest data is not considered “reporting.” A report is achieved when the aircraft has landed in Canada and a report is submitted to the CBSA via a Conveyance Arrival Certification Message (CACM). eManifest data must be received and validated by customs at least four hours before the aircraft lands at the First Port of Arrival (FPOA) or before departure from the foreign port if the trip is less than four hours. Carriers may transmit eManifest data to the CBSA up to 30 days in advance.
Air carriers and authorized agents must transmit data via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems. An EDI connection with CBSA can be developed in-house, or the company may choose to purchase ACI eManifest filing software for air mode from a third-party vendor. Air carriers need a valid CBSA-assigned carrier code to be able to participate in EDI.
ACI eManifest Marine
Marine carriers are required to transmit advance electronic cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA at least 24 hours before loading the cargo onto the vessel at the foreign port. The requirement includes cargo loaded in the U.S. that is bound for or transiting Canada. Freight forwarders are also required to submit Supplementary Cargo Reports (SCR) to the CBSA via ACI. Data elements required in the SCR include information that is not available in the cargo report, such as ultimate consignee information and a detailed description of goods.
Like air carriers, marine carriers must have a CBSA-assigned bonded or non-bonded carrier code to transmit eManifest data. The CBSA encourages marine carriers to be bonded carriers, because a bond is needed each time the shipment moves beyond the FPOA. Bonded marine carriers have a security filed with CBSA to cover taxes, duties and other fees.
Freight forwarders must also have a CBSA-assigned carrier code to transmit pre-arrival information and supplementary data. The carrier code forms the prefix of the Cargo Control Number (CCN), Conveyance Reference Number (CRN) and Supplementary Reference Number (SRN) and must be shown on all cargo control documents.
Carriers may authorize an agent or service provider to file eManifest data to the CBSA on their behalf.. Data transmission is done via EDI connection using in-house software or software/service purchased from a CBSA-approved software as a service vendor.
ACI eManifest Highway
Highway carriers must transmit electronic cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA via ACI at least an hour before arrival for non-FAST carriers or at least 30 minutes before arrival for FAST carriers. Most personal and commercial shipments valued at over $2,500 require an eManifest submission, except for shipments that have been cleared under the Courier Low-Value Shipment Program, full load postal shipments, and in-transit highway conveyances.
Changes to eManifest submissions must be reported to the CBSA as soon as possible. Carriers can correct the eManifest in ACI before crossing the border. After crossing the border, minor changes can be done electronically; however, major corrections must be made on paper and submitted to the CBSA. eManifest data transmission in highway mode can be done via the ACI eManifest Portal or EDI. The eManifest Portal is a free, online application that supports manual data entry and creation of one eManifest at a time. For high-volume clients or for clients that are looking for additional value-added features and services, EDI transmission using ACI eManifest filing software is recommended.
GeTS ACI eManifest Filing Software
CrimsonLogic Global eTrade Services is a CBSA-approved provider of advanced ACI eManifest filing software for all modes of transport: highway, rail, marine and air. GeTS eManifest filing software streamlines customs processing, saves time, and improves compliance. GeTS also provides variety of services including ACROSS/CADEX, ACI Bay Plan, ACI eHBL, and RNS WACM services to the trade community.
ACROSS/CADEX is a web-based application connecting traders directly to the CBSA and other government agencies for submission of declarations and clearance of imports.
ACI Bay Plan
ACI eHBL simplifies the transmission of secondary cargo information (electronic house bill data/eHBL and Close Messages) by freight forwarders to the CBSA before arrival.
The RNS WACM application helps sufferance warehouse operators transmit WACM data to the CBSA and trade participants to receive release status updates, shipment arrivals, and deployment 4 notices.
Visit our Canadian eManifest page to learn more about ACI eManifest filing software and sign up for a 30-day free trial today.