eHBLs will be Mandatory for all Consolidated Shipments Starting January 4
COVID-19 has accelerated the volume of parcel shipments entering North America, creating new opportunities and challenges for trade participants. Compliance with customs regulations is critical to ensure speedy clearance and delivery to customers. Automation of e-document submission and entry consolidation are keys to efficient processing of large volume parcel flows.
A Bill of Lading is one of the most important documents in the shipping process. To ship any goods, a Bill of Lading is required and act as a receipt and a contract. An electronic house bill (eHBL) is the digitized version of a house bill issued by an NVOCC operator, or a Freight Forwarder to their customers. Starting January 4th, 2021, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) requires freight forwarders and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) to electronically submit advance house bill data for imports and in-transit shipments within specific time frames.
The eHBL transmission includes the following data elements:
- Primary Cargo Control Number
- Cargo Control Number (CCN)
- Carrier code
- Detailed description of the goods
- Quantity and weight
- Consignee name and address
- Shipper name and address
- Consolidation indicator
- Country of consolidation
- Freight forwarder name
- Mode of transport
- Movement type
- Port of destination/exit or sub-location
eHBL submission has been available to freight forwarders since 2016, but it will finally become mandatory on January 4th, 2021. It’s in the best interest of trade participants to prepare for the transition as early as possible. Businesses should test their technical and manpower capabilities for eHBL filing now while there are still no penalties for noncompliance.
Getting Ready for eManifest House Bills (eHBL): Important Dates
November 1, 2020
Freight forwarders and NVOCCs can submit eHBLs for all consolidated shipments, including:
Back-to-back shipments or shipments managed by a forwarder with a single house bill.
Buyer consolidation shipments or shipments with multiple shippers and one importer managed by a forwarder with one house bill.
Canada FROB must be submitted using legacy ACI supplemental reports.
Consolidated in-transit shipments (from overseas through Canada to the U.S.) must be reported using eHBLs or legacy supplementary reports.
Consolidated in-transit shipments (from the US through Canada to overseas importer) are exempt from the eHBL requirement.
January 4, 2021
eHBLs will be mandatory for all consolidated shipments (see exceptions above) with zero-rated penalties for noncompliance. This informed compliance period will run for six months. CBSA will issue monetary penalties starting June 2021.
Freight forwarders/NVOCCs must transmit eHBLs within the 24-hour advance eManifest time frames. eHBL data must be submitted to CBSA using the eHBL data set for imports, along with house bill Close Messages indicating that all eHBLs have been transmitted to CBSA. FROB shipments over Canadian ports must be submitted to CBSA using the supplementary cargo data set.
Transmission Options for eManifest House Bills
Forwarders and NVOCCs can transmit advance eHBLs to CBSA using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), CBSA’s eManifest Web Portal or a third-party service.
EDI. EDI is a system-to-system connection governed by messaging standards. It is the most common method of information exchange with CBSA and other government agencies. Businesses can either build EDI connectivity in-house or work with a service center or IT provider with EDI capabilities. The former can be expensive particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.
eManifest Web Portal. The CBSA’s eManifest Web Portal is an online access point for filers to submit and query data. Filers need a Portal account to view, edit and submit information. While there are no costs to submit eHBLs via the CBSA Portal, it’s not designed for bulk submissions.
Third party Software provider. Working with a third-party provider is the best option if you wish to have an efficient way to submit eHBL supported with the guidance of compliance experts. Most providers offer flexible services that can be tailored to different business needs.
eHBL Readiness Checklist
With only a few weeks to prepare for the eHBL mandate, it can be challenging and overwhelming for businesses. Freight Forwarders may not be up to speed on the latest requirements, internal processes may not be ready and overseas partners involved are not well informed. To avoid implementation delays, companies should take immediate steps in getting their operations ready. Here are some things to consider:
Infrastructure and capabilities. Ever-changing customs regulations often leave trade participants scrambling to comply. If you foresee that eHBL and other CBSA requirements will likely outpace existing infrastructure and capabilities, working with third party experts can be the right decision.
Communication with trade partners. Effective communication among supply chain participants is key to successful eHBL compliance. You need visibility into the supply chain to access real-time information and submit accurate eHBLs. Ensure that all parties involved understand the new rules and their role in providing accurate data within the specified timeframes.
Transmission method. Choose the right method to submit eHBL that best fit your operational needs. Some freight forwarders submit eHBL on a web portal while others prefer to submit right from their FMS without duplicate data entry on a web portal. Software Providers specialized in compliance make it easy to integrate their services with in-house FMS.
Why Work with a Service Provider?
It might be time to outsource the submission of eHBL if your business is growing rapidly and you wish to focus on what you do best. Perhaps you lack the technology and the expertise to comply with eHBL requirements. A trusted third-party provider can:
- * Provide the technology and expertise to streamline eHBL submission
- * Maintain and update technology to adapt to regulatory changes
- * Is available round the clock to help you sort out customs compliance problems
- * Provides flexible services and pricing options that scale with your business
Getting Ready for eManifest House Bills (eHBL) with GeTS
Global eTrade Services is a CBSA-approved provider of advanced, industry-leading technologies that has been serving the freight forwarding community for over a decade. GeTS ACI eHBL solution simplifies eHBL submission for freight forwarders, NVOCCs and other authorized filers. With scaling technology and a team of experts ready to answer your thorniest compliance questions, we ensure that your business is ready for eHBL submission way before the mandatory date.
GeTS ACI eHBL features:
Connectivity. Create, submit and track eHBLs, manifest forwards and Close Messages. Get real-time CBSA notifications for better decision making and keep goods moving.
Efficient data transmission. ACI eHBL information is sent directly to CBSA via a highly secure connection. Data transmission is efficient even for high volume. Enhanced features are also available for power users.
24/7 customer support. Access expert assistance wherever you are via email, phone or live chat.
Benefits of GeTS ACI eHBL:
Master eHBL grouping. Grouping makes it easy to organize and track eHBLs even for high-volume users.
Advanced user management. User IDs with configurable rights and roles are designed for freight forwarders to assign to overseas agents for eHBL preparation and filing.
Increased visibility. Get automatic email alerts on see real-time messages from CBSA.
Multiple connectivity options. ACI eHBL can be accessed anywhere from any internet enabled device. Besides online access, the software can be integrated with existing FMS or similar systems.
No contract terms. Enjoy the ultimate flexibility with various subscription plans that can be subscribed on the fly with no commitment.
Learn more by visiting our eManifest House Bills (eHBL) page or contact us today!
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