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  • 14 Dec 2016
  • Canada
  • USA
  • ACE
  • ACE eManifest
  • US eManifest
  • USA eManifest
  • Automated Commercial Environment
  • Single Window
  • Trade
  • United States Customs and Border Protection

How Can I File ACI eManifest?

“eManifest” is a term describing the transmission of electronic cargo information to customs officials before the cargo arrives at the port of loading or at border crossing. In Canada, eManifest is part of the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) larger Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program, which aims to modernize and improve cross-border commercial processes. eManifest will improve the safety and security of Canadians and facilitate the customs clearance process for legitimate shipments.


eManifest requires carriers, freight forwarders and importers to submit electronic cargo, conveyance and other supplementary information to the CBSA before loading or arrival of cargo at the border. When fully implemented, eManifest will be mandatory in all modes of transportation: marine, air, highway and rail.




CBSA has been gradually rolling out eManifest requirements for several years, and early adopters could participate in the pilot phase. In October 2010, high-volume highway carriers first participated in the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) version of the eManifest system. The EDI system was either developed in house or provided by IT solutions partners.




The following year, CBSA’s eManifest Portal became available to small and medium carriers. The portal only required a computer, web browser and internet connection to transmit eManifest messages. eManifest requirements for house bill/supplementary data and advance trade data became mandatory for freight forwarders in 2016.


eManifest is the third phase of ACI, following the implementation of air and marine shipments (phase 1) and highway and rail shipments (phase 2). Each mode of transport has its own eManifest requirements, guidelines and implementation timeline.




The ACI program is a modernization of Canada’s cross-border trade and processes. With eManifest, the CBSA aims to improve security by identifying threats to health, safety and security before cargo and conveyances arrive in Canada. By collecting and assessing pre-arrival data, the CBSA can identify high-risk shipments before they reach the border while facilitating the movement of low-risk, legitimate goods.


eManifest makes Canada’s border processes more efficient, secure and compatible with American and international standards. Many countries have implemented electronic processes to allow customs officials to screen cargo before it reaches their borders while improving the efficiency of cross border trade. eManifest harmonizes information requirements with the World Customs Organization and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).


eManifest is very similar to the U.S. Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) initiative, although the ACI and ACE are not connected. This alignment of processes is beneficial to Canadians, the Government, and the trade community. Under eManifest, communication is improved between businesses and the CBSA, and the administrative burden on businesses is reduced. Businesses can receive real-time status notifications so they can move cargo as scheduled.


Eventually, eManifest will become the standard process for clearing all shipments leaving and entering Canada. Many carriers, forwarders and agents are already participating in eManifest, but there is still a significant portion of the community that is not. The CBSA understands that switching to eManifest is not an overnight process. There are many challenges associated with the transition to the new system, so the CBSA has implemented eManifest in phases to allow the trade community to comply with requirements. To avoid errors and potential penalties, CBSA recommends becoming familiar with the eManifest process before it becomes mandatory.




In most cases, eManifest is mandatory for all shipments in all modes of transport. Certain exceptions include shipments going out of Canada, full load postal shipments, and shipments that have been cleared under the Courier Low-Value Shipment Program.


Filing Exceptions


All incoming shipments valued at over CAD$2500 are required to have a Canada Customs Invoice (CCI). Complete CCIs and most cargo and conveyance data must be submitted to CBSA electronically, but there are some exceptions. CBSA may request paper invoices, declarations, bills of lading (BOL) and other documents when the invoice contains very large numbers of goods that can be time-consuming to key in manually. Paper documents may also be required if the shipment is low value ($2500 CAD or less) or the merchandise requires a special permit or license to be presented to the CBSA before release, such as firearms or certain vehicles.




eManifest requires all highway and rail carriers to transmit advance cargo data electronically to the CBSA. Freight forwarders are also required to submit secondary data, while brokers or importers are required to send advance importer data to the CBSA. Carriers and forwarders can use EDI, web-based eManifest Portal or a third-party solution to exchange information with CBSA.


Highway: Cargo and conveyance data must be received and validated by the CBSA a minimum of one hour before the shipment arrives at the border.

Rail: Cargo and conveyance data must be received and validated by the CBSA a minimum of two hours before arrival at the border.




For Canadian goods that are being shipped back to Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requires the Country of Origin to be indicated (the country from which the goods were shipped) and the end code “Canadian Goods Returning” to be selected in the Automated Import Reference System (AIRS). The Country of Origin submitted to CBSA must be Canada. Origin information for both CFIA and CBSA is needed for the importer or broker to receive an EDI release. The requirement is in place to mitigate the potential risk associated with shipments coming from different countries.


For Canadian goods returning classified under headings 9813 and 9814, paper documentation is required. The transaction will be rejected if EDI is used. Until further notice, brokers must tick the “OGD requirement” box on the CBSA exception lead sheet. For brokers using EDI for CFIA-regulated goods returning to Canada, the goods must be classified under the correct heading (1-97), Canada must be indicated as the country of Origin, and the appropriate CGR tariff must be specified when filing the final accounting.




CBSA has used a phased approach to eManifest implementation. ACI marine mode went live on April 19, 2004 (phase 1), while air mode and marine shipments loaded in the U.S. became effective on July 26, 2006 (phase 2). ACI is currently on its third phase, the eManifest program.


Important dates:


·         2011. EDI and the eManifest Portal were made available to highway carriers for transmitting cargo pre-arrival information (cargo and conveyance data).

·         2012. EDI systems were deployed for rail carriers.

·         2013. EDI and eManifest Portals were available to freight forwarders in all modes of transport.

·         May 6, 2015. Regulatory amendments supporting the eManifest initiative were published in the Canada Gazette. The amendments made eManifest requirements legally binding for highway carriers, freight forwarders and rail carriers.

·         May 6 to July 10, 2015. Transition period for carriers without penalties for non-compliance.

·         July 10 to January 10, 2016. Non-monetary penalties for carriers who do not comply with eManifest requirements

·         Starting January 10, 2016. Monetary penalties for carriers who do not comply with eManifest requirements


In the coming years, eManifest will add new features such as notices about the completeness of advance data and arrival/release of cargo for all EDI clients, new cargo message maps in all modes of transport, new end-state notices and expanded Manifest Forward functionality for all clients in all modes via EDI and the eManifest Portal, and EDI and eManifest Portal for importers to transmit Advance Trade Data (ATD).




Clients can transmit eManifest data to CBSA using three methods: electronic data interchange (EDI), eManifest Portal, or a CBSA-approved third party solution from a service provider.


eManifest Portal


The CBSA developed the eManifest Portal to allow the transmission of pre-arrival shipment data through the Internet. The eManifest Portal was originally intended for small and medium-sized businesses to facilitate compliance. Today, the eManifest Portal is available to highway carriers and freight forwarders that send pre-arrival data to CBSA and to brokers and warehouse operators that wish to view data they have received from the CBSA.


EDI System


The EDI system allows direct data exchange from one computer to another. There are four EDI options for clients sending shipment data to the CBSA. Clients must implement one of these methods to participate in EDI: Value Added Network (VAN), Customs Internet Gateway, direct connection, or third party provider.


·         VAN. A value-added network is a public EDI network that allows multiple clients to use a single interface to exchange information with each other and with the CBSA. Clients pay for the VAN connection and associated fees.


·         Customs Internet Gateway. CBSA’s Customs Internet Gateway (CIG) allows clients to exchange data over the Internet.


·         Direct Connect to CBSA. Clients can connect directly to CBSA for an initial investment of about $25,000 for setup and $6,000 for annual maintenance.


·         Third Party Service Provider. CBSA has approved third party service providers to transmit data to CBSA using various communication methods.





CrimsonLogic Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is one of the third-party solutions providers that have been approved by the CBSA. GeTS has completed testing of its software service for ACI Highway and offers best-in-class eManifest solutions for carriers, freight forwarders, brokers and importers in air, marine and highway modes.


To learn more, please visit our ACI eManifest page. You may also get in touch with us through the online form on the Contact Us page.  



Related Pages

Canada eManifest

ACI eManifest e-HBL

eManifest Canada: 10 Helpful Points in Choosing the Right ACE ACI Provider for your Business

ACI e-HBL Portal

The ACI eManifest Portal and your ACE ACI Services Provider

ACI Highway Canada eManifest FAQ

Simplifying the Filing Process with eManifest EDI Integration

CBSA eManifest Processing

Canada eManifest: Highway Shipments Made Easy

Mandatory Electronic Notification of Cargo Arrival FAQ with CrimsonLogic

ACI for Freight Forwarders (eHBL)

ACI eManifest Phase III: Canada eManifest House Bill Data & Supplementary Cargo Reports

ACI housebill eManifest: Bill of Lading for Freight Forwarders

Canada ACI eManifest Highway

ACI eManifest Air

Canada ACI Marine


eManifest Processing


How Can I File ACI eManifest?