The Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program by the Canadian government allows the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to facilitate trade and better identify potential threats to the country, based on advanced information provided by importers/exporters, carriers, brokers and freight forwarders to customs officials.
The ACI eManifest program has three phases. The first two phases, ACI I and ACI II, require air and marine carriers to send advanced pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA electronically. The third phase, ACI III or the Canada eManifest initiative, requires freight forwarders and importers in air, marine, highway and rail modes of transport to submit house bill or supplementary cargo data, in addition to cargo and conveyance data, to the CBSA electronically before arrival or loading.
A freight forwarder is a person who consolidates/deconsolidates shipments or provides other similar services on behalf of the consignee or importer of goods. A freight forwarder also facilitates transport of goods into or within Canada by the consignee or the person in charge of conveyance. The person in charge of the conveyance that will pass through the first point of arrival (FPOA) is required to submit cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA.
The freight forwarder, on the other hand, is required to submit house bill/supplementary cargo data to the CBSA. Even if another entity submits house bill/supplementary data on behalf of the freight forwarder, the freight forwarder is still responsible for the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the data.
Under the ACI eManifest Phase III initiative, freight forwarders are required to submit electronic house bill/supplementary cargo data to the CBSA within the following time frames:
Marine: 24 hours before arrival or loading depending on the type and origin of goods
Air: 4 hours before arrival or at time of departure
Supplementary data provides detailed information on consolidated (FROB-Freight Remaining on Board) shipments. Bonded or non-bonded freight forwarders may send electronic supplementary cargo reports to the CBSA. However, a non-bonded freight forwarder is only allowed to submit electronic ACI supplementary reports.