Air ACI (Advance Commercial Information) requirements have been mandatory since 2006 when the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) deployed the second phase of ACI. Under Phase 2 of the program, all carriers in the air mode of transport are required to transmit electronic cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA within specific timeframes. Air ACI requirements aim to improve risk assessment of inbound cargo and streamline processing for trade participants.
ACI Air Report Types
Air Cargo Report (SO802)
The air cargo report contains the cargo details, including information about the shipper, consignee, and goods. The non-resident importer name and address may be entered in the consignee field, as long as a Canadian name and address is provided in the delivery address field.
If the primary cargo report is incomplete, a supplementary cargo report must be submitted to the CBSA for all import, in-transit and freight remaining on board (FROB) cargo. The air cargo report also contains the Cargo Control Number (CCN), which starts with the CBSA-approved carrier code followed by a unique number assigned by the carrier.
The carrier or authorized agent must submit the electronic air cargo report to the CBSA via EDI at least four hours before arriving in Canada. If the trip is less than four hours, the report must be transmitted to the CBSA before the aircraft leaves the foreign airport.
Air Conveyance Report (SO794)
The air conveyance report contains details about the aircraft, flight, crew and passengers. The air carrier or its authorized agent must transmit the air conveyance report to the CBSA via EDI at least four hours before arriving in Canada. If the flight is less than four hours, the report must be submitted before the aircraft leaves the foreign airport.
The conveyance report contains the Conveyance Reference Number (CRN), which is the flight number and the date of departure. The CRN is used to link the conveyance report to all associated cargo reports and/or split shipment cargo reports. The CRN must be shown on all air cargo reports unless the carrier is sending a split shipment report. Air carriers must coordinate with all parties to ensure that the correct CRN is shown in the cargo reports and the reports submitted within the specified timeframe.
If there is a change to the ETA or there is an unscheduled re-rerouting that is greater than 30 minutes, the carrier must change the First Point of Arrival (FPOA) and/or ETA in the conveyance report and re-submit. Cargo is not authorized to be released from the warehouse before the ETA specified on the Conveyance Report.
Air Split Shipment Report (SO786)
The air split shipment report contains details about shipments that have been split before departure due to carrier capacity limitations. The split shipment report contains details about the conveyance and boarded quantity, as well as the original master Air Cargo Report.
The air carrier or its authorized representative prepares and submits the split shipment report to the CBSA via EDI at least four hours before arrival in Canada. If the flight is less than four hours, the split shipment report must be sent to the CBSA before the aircraft leaves the foreign airport. The carrier must submit the air cargo report showing the master load and quantity in the eManifest, in addition to a split shipment report for each portion of the split.
Air Supplementary Cargo Report (SO687)
An air supplementary cargo report is required when the primary cargo report lacks complete cargo details. The carrier, an authorized agent, or the freight forwarder may submit the supplementary cargo report to the CBSA via EDI at least four hours before arrival in Canada. For flights less than four hours in duration, the supplementary cargo report must be submitted to the CBSA before the aircraft leaves the foreign airport.
If the carrier transmits the supplementary cargo report, they must obtain the shipment information from the freight forwarder. The carrier is also responsible for showing in the cargo report that a supplementary cargo report is forthcoming. Freight forwarders must provide paper or electronic house bills for deconsolidated shipments. The carrier or forwarder submitting the supplementary cargo report must assign the Supplementary Reference Number (SRN) and provide the Cargo Control Number (CCN).
Conveyance Arrival Certification Message (CACM)
Under ACI’s third phase (eManifest), all air carriers operating a conveyance that is transporting specified goods are required to submit electronic Conveyance Arrival Certification Messages (CACM) to the CBSA via EDI at the First Point of Arrival (FPOA). The CACM contains the Conveyance Reference Number (CRN), CBSA carrier code, first port of report, and actual date and time of arrival.
The carrier or its authorized agent must submit the CACM to the CBSA after the aircraft is cleared by NAVCAN to land at the airport. The CACM must be submitted in addition to the cargo and conveyance reports. Exemptions to the CACM rule are conveyances that are also exempt from the ACI data requirements. If the air carrier voluntarily submits an ACI conveyance report for an exempt aircraft, however, the carrier must also submit the CACM. If a third party agent submits the CACM to the CBSA, the agent must use the CBSA-issued carrier code on the document.
Air ACI Submission Timeframes
Electronic cargo and conveyance information in the air mode of transport must be transmitted to the CBSA within prescribed timeframes. The filer is responsible for submitting accurate, true, complete and timely information to customs.
Report Type Flight Duration Timeframe
Conveyance >4 hours 4 hours before arrival
Conveyance <4 hours Before aircraft leaves the airport
Cargo >4 hours 4 hours before arrival
Cargo <4 hours Before aircraft leaves the airport
Supplementary Cargo >4 hours 4 hours before arrival
Supplementary Cargo <4 hours Before aircraft leaves the airport
CACM -- After aircraft is cleared to land
ACI Data Transmission
In the air mode of transport, electronic information must be transmitted to the CBSA in the proper format and messaging standard via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). EDI is a method of system-to-system data exchange using messaging protocols. EDI transmission uses two major messaging standards: ANSI X12 and EDIFACT. ANSI was developed by the American National Standards Institute while EDIFACT was developed by the United Nations Economic Commission. ANSI is used mainly in North America, while EDIFACT is commonly used by the rest of the world.
Under the ACI program, air cargo and conveyance data must be transmitted in EDIFACT format only, while supplementary cargo data can be in ANSI and EDIFACT formats. Air cargo, conveyance, and supplementary cargo information may be transmitted to the CBSA in any order as long as the filer meets submission requirements, including timeframes.
ACI Air GeTS Solutions
Air ACI reports and messages must be transmitted to the CBSA via EDI. Clients may establish a direct EDI connection with the CBSA or use the services of a CBSA-approved IT provider like Global eTrade Services (GeTS). GeTS is a leader in global trade facilitation, offering advanced and flexible software solutions to the trade community.
GeTS ACI Air allows carriers, freight forwarders and agents to submit air ACI reports, house bills and other electronic documents to the CBSA quickly and easily. GeTS ACI Air also informs subscribers about risk assessment notices such as hold and hold cancellation messages. Subscribers can choose from multiple pricing plans and connectivity options to suit their needs.
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