The truck eManifest (electronic manifest) program is part of the trade modernization initiative of governments around the world, including the United States and Canada. A truck electronic manifest is the digital version of the trade document listing the crew, passengers, and cargo of a vehicle transiting a country’s land borders. Truck eManifests are required to be submitted in advance, usually an hour before the truck reaches the border.
The truck eManifest initiative aims to streamline and modernize cargo processing, expedite the release of low-risk, legitimate goods, and make it easier for customs officials to determine admissibility and identify safety and security risks associated with inbound cargo. Advance truck eManifest information also helps customs officials improve the identification of potential security issues earlier in the supply chain. For businesses, truck eManifest, also called highway eManifest, saves time, reduces or eliminates paper processes, and facilitates the release of commercial shipments.
ACE Truck eManifest
The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is a program implemented by the U.S. government and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to modernize cross border trade and enhance border security. When fully implemented, ACE will become the Single Window for all transactions between CBP and trade participants.
ACE eManifest is part of a broader initiative that requires carriers in all modes of transport (truck, rail, air, and ocean) to submit pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data to CBP. Advance data allows customs officials to better evaluate the risk level of inbound shipments and quickly release low-risk cargo while flagging high-risk shipments. For businesses, ACE truck eManifest saves times, eliminates labor-intensive and time-consuming paper processes, improves regulatory compliance, and helps move shipments more efficiently.
Most commercial shipments entering the U.S. by truck require an eManifest. It is the highway carrier or an authorized agent who is responsible for preparing and submitting the truck eManifest. The truck eManifest must be received and validated by CBP at least one hour before arrival for non-FAST carriers or at least 30 minutes before arrival for FAST carriers. The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program is a clearance program for trusted carriers transporting low-risk shipments from Canada and Mexico. FAST expedites the processing of trucks and drivers who have completed background checks.
There are two main eManifest data transmission methods: ACE Secure Data Portal or Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) connection using in-house software or software/service purchased from a third party. The ACE Portal is a free, online tool hosted on the CBP website, allowing highway carriers to prepare and submit one eManifest at a time through manual data entry.
EDI is a direct method of data exchange from one computer system (carrier) to another (CBP). Only truck carriers can submit eManifests via the ACE Portal, carriers in other modes of transport must use EDI. For large businesses, high-volume participants, and shippers utilizing other modes of transport, dedicated eManifest software and EDI connection are recommended.
ACI Truck eManifest
The Advance Commercial Information (ACI) initiative is the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. ACE. Like ACE, ACI aims to introduce more effective risk management processes to identify safety and security threats. ACI streamlines cross border trade and enhances border security by requiring trade participants in highway, rail, air, and marine modes of transport to submit pre-arrival shipment information to the Canada Customs and Border Agency (CBSA). ACI is all about providing customs with the right information at the right time.
ACI eManifest is the third phase of ACI. It requires carriers in the highway and rail modes of transport to submit advance electronic cargo and conveyance data for inbound shipments. In the eManifest phase, freight forwarders must also submit advance electronic secondary data and importers or their brokers must submit advance electronic importer data.
Truck eManifest requires highway carriers to submit eManifest data to the CBSA at least one hour (non-FAST carriers) or 30 minutes (FAST carriers) before arriving at the border. Carriers who fail to comply with eManifest requirements will experience processing delays. Noncompliance may also lead to monetary penalties.
To transmit truck eManifest data to CBSA, highway carriers can use the eManifest Portal on the CBSA website, or in-house, or third party software via EDI connection. However, the Portal is not intended for high-volume users or bulk filing. For this, software provided by a CBSA-approved third party is a better alternative.
Creating a Standard Truck eManifest
To create a standard truck eManifest, you must fill out the required information for the trip (conveyance, crew members, driver, passengers, equipment) and shipment (shipment type, shipment number, commodity information, shipper and consignee information).
Determine how the shipment will be released. Most commercial shipments must clear under PAPS (Pre-Arrival Processing System in ACE) or PARS (Pre-Arrival Review System in ACI) unless the shipment qualifies for another cargo release option. The carrier code must be shown on the manifest and invoice as a barcoded label for validation at border crossing. The carrier code must also be transmitted to the customs broker or authorized agent. For certain shipment types, such as informal entries or restricted goods, you need to provide specific documentation and additional data in the eManifest.
You will be asked to check for errors before submitting the completed eManifest. You can also save the eManifest and submit later. If there are no errors, you can go ahead and submit the eManifest. Otherwise, amend the information and resubmit the eManifest. You will be notified when the eManifest has been submitted successfully and accepted by customs.
At the border, drivers must present the cover or lead sheet and required identification papers to the customs officer. Always have supporting documents ready in case the officer asks to see it. Documents must also be archived for a period of time in case of audits.
GeTS Truck eManifest Solutions
Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a leading provider of global trade facilitation solutions. GeTS ACE Highway and ACI Highway are import management applications based on the Software-as-a-Service model. ACE and ACI Highway helps carriers and other trade participants save time by submitting eManifests to customs quickly and easily.
As an added benefit, ACE and ACI Highway subscribers who have activated both the ACE and ACI modules get the eManifest Conversion Tool that creates a mirrored eManifest for the return trip. The Conversion Tool allows users to save time and eliminate errors associated with manual data entry.