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Canada Proposes to Expand eManifest Requirement to Truck and Rail Modes

Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Canada Border Services Agency is proposing regulatory amendments that would implement a comprehensive advance electronic reporting environment for commercial imports. This proposal represents the third phase of Canada’s Advance Commercial Information program, called eManifest, and includes requirements for electronic pre-arrival information in the highway and rail modes, enhancements to existing processes in the marine and air modes, and provisions that would allow the CBSA to develop administrative monetary penalties for non-compliance with eManifest requirements. A second package of regulatory amendments expected in 2015 or 2016 would mainly include provisions relating to advance information requirements for importers. The CBSA notes that once eManifest is implemented, Canada’s advance information requirements will be closely aligned with those of the United States.

Currently, ACI requires prescribed information for imports of commercial goods to be transmitted electronically to the CBSA (a) by marine carriers 24 hours before the goods are loaded onto the vessel at the foreign port or 24 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival at a port in Canada, depending on the type and origin of the goods and (b) by commercial air carriers four hours prior to arrival of the aircraft in Canada. Commercial highway carriers may provide paper documentation regarding imported goods upon arrival at the border but since November 2010 have had the option to provide this information electronically. Most rail carriers transporting commercial goods into Canada (99.6%) provide cargo and conveyance information electronically but there is no requirement to notify the CBSA when the train physically crosses the border into Canada.

The proposed amendments would make the following changes.

- Highway carriers would have to provide cargo and conveyance information electronically to the CBSA at least one hour before the conveyance arrives at the border. This information would be provided by either the carrier or a third-party service provider on its behalf and through either a direct connection or the CBSA’s free Internet portal.

- Rail carriers would have to electronically submit cargo and conveyance information at least two hours before the train is expected to cross the border into Canada and would also be required to provide an electronic arrival message to the CBSA without delay after the train crosses the border.

- Carriers in the air and marine modes would have to provide an electronic arrival message to the CBSA without delay upon arrival in Canada (i.e., after the aircraft is cleared by NAV CANADA to land at an airport following arrival in Canada or after the vessel lands at a marine port of entry).

- Customs sufferance warehouse operators would be required to acknowledge the receipt of goods in their warehouse through an electronic arrival message.

(The above requirements would not apply to goods imported under the courier low-value shipment program (e.g., casual goods or goods that have an estimated value of less than $2,500) that are transported by or on behalf of a courier that has been authorized to account for those goods.)

- Commercial carriers and freight forwarders would be required to hold a valid carrier code. A carrier could hold one code for each mode of transportation in which it is engaged, but a freight forwarder could only hold one code. Carriers and freight forwarders would also be required to keep the information regarding their carrier codes up to date and inform the CBSA of certain changes.

- Freight forwarders in all modes of transportation would have to provide secondary or supplementary information on commercial goods (e.g., name of person receiving the goods and delivery address) to the CBSA electronically and within prescribed time frames prior to the goods arriving in Canada.

- Requirements for keeping records relating to commercial goods transported to Canada would be extended to freight forwarders and would include all information provided to and received from the CBSA electronically for three years plus the current year.

- The CBSA could assess administrative monetary penalties for failure to provide pre-arrival cargo and conveyance information, provide cargo and conveyance information electronically or within the prescribed time frames, notify the CBSA without delay of a change to the advance commercial information provided, comply with a notification issued by the CBSA regarding commercial goods destined for Canada, and hold a valid carrier code.

The CBSA estimates that implementation of this proposal would result in a net benefit for businesses of C$391 million over a 12-year period from reduced delays at the border and from efficiencies achieved by replacing paper processes with electronic ones. The proposed regulatory amendments are also expected to enhance and improve border security.

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