ACI eManifest: Updated Timelines for System Functionality and Deployment


Update ArrowCanada Border Services Agency has provided updated timelines for ACI eManifest system functionality and deployment. These timelines and dates, which could be subject to change, are available in this CBSA presentation.

It is important to note that this presentation does not address the question that is uppermost in carriers’ minds – when will eManifest  become mandatory? Most of these updates deal with technical issues. Carriers that utilize a service provider or file their ACI eManifests using the Canada Border Services Agency web portal will be largely unaffected.

Highlights of this presentation include:

  • Implementation of Integrated Import Declaration (IID) and Document Imaging Function (DIF) in early 2015, with a February target
  • Introduction of a subset of new eManifest notices, for all EDI commercial clients, that will advise on the completeness of advance data submitted to the CBSA and on the arrival and release of shipments in December 2015
  • Deployment of electronic systems (EDI and eManifest Portal) for importers to transmit advance trade data (ATD) in December 2016

The Canadian Society of Customs Brokers’ visual timeline of CBSA/PGA initiatives also reflects these changes.

If you have any questions about ACI eManifest, or any other cross-border transportation matters, please do not hesitate to contact our Carrier Relations Liaison at 855.542.6644  or via email at carrierhelpdesk@pcb.ca.

For the latest updates on eManifest visit the Carrier News section of our website regularly or sign up for our weekly Border Pro newsletter. Additionally, you’ll find the Your Broker Knows YouTube channel to be an excellent resource.

 

Additional Resources:

 
 

Pacific Customs Brokers Wishes You a Merry Christmas!


Christmas Greeting 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holiday season is a wonderful time for us to appreciate our clients and partners who have supported our vision of being a premium service provider. Our business would not be possible without your continued support.

We’d like to take this moment to say thank you and send our best wishes to you and your families.

We look forward to working with you in the coming year and hope our business relationship continues for many years to come.

Wishing you much success in 2015!

- Pacific Customs Brokers

 

 

 
 

Importer Security Filing: Mandatory Bond Requirement


ocean importsAre your Importer Security Filing (ISF) submissions completed on time and accurately with every transaction? Full enforcement of Importer Security Filing (ISF) has been in effect since July 2013, and yet there are still many ocean shipments entering the United States with late or missing filings. We have not been able to secure statistics or numbers on this, however we are aware that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun issuing penalties for shortcomings such as failure to file, late filing, or inaccurate filings starting at US$5,000.

 

What has changed?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has just announced via the Cargo System Messaging Service (CSMS) that, effective January 10, 2015, these late ISF submissions will no longer be exempt from the bond requirements, as has been allowed to date.  Most ISF transactions will require a bond at the time of filing.

 

Impact on Importers:

For those importers who have been working hard to remain in compliance with these regulations and already have the appropriate bond on file with U.S. Customs, there should be no impact from this new layer of enforcement.

For importers who do not have a bond on file with U.S. Customs, there is an expectation of additional delays and expenses, in addition to the possibility of difficulties in finding agents willing to work with a non-compliant importer. With this added layer of enforcement of the ISF regulations, we fully expect to see a dramatic increase in the number of penalties being issued

 

Pacific Customs Brokers has published a number of blog articles over the past few years on this issue, that can be found at the end of this post.  If your company imports goods into the United States via ocean, we urge you to ensure that your business is complying with the requirements in this area and that you do have an ISF bond on file with U.S. Customs.

 

The Importer’s Responsibility:

While it is likely that most steamship companies will issue Do Not Load orders for shipments from known importers, they are not required by law to do so.  It is the Importer of Record’s responsibility to ensure that this filing is completed on time and accurately.

 

How we can help?

Pacific Customs Brokers offers Importer Security Filing services, in addition to customs clearances of ocean import freight into any port in the U.S. and Canada.  We are always pleased to answer any concerns you may have regarding this matter.

Have questions or comments about the Importer Security Filing final rule? Leave them in our comments sections below or email Ask Your Broker.

 

Related blog articles:

  1. Ocean Shipments and Importer Security Filing
  2. Enforcement of Importer Security Filing Final Rule
  3. Video: Importer Security Filing “10+2?
  4. Full Enforcement of Importer Security Filing (ISF) “10+2? Begins July 9, 2013

 

Additional articles:

  1. CBP Enters Next Phase of Importer Security Filing
  2. FAQs: Importer Security Filing “10 +2” Program
 
 

Shipping Holiday Gifts into Canada – A Word to the Wise


Shipping Holiday Gifts into CanadaWith the holiday season upon us, many businesses and individuals send and receive gifts that cross borders. Whether you are sending corporate gifts to clients and vendors, online shopping or receiving gifts by mail from family and friends, you should be aware of a few details with regards to holiday gifts and cross-border shipping.

A. Sending holidays gifts from a business to a business

1. Don’t let customs clearance catch your recipient by surprise.

When sending a business gift, the receiver of the gift should not have to be responsible for customs clearance charges. Especially since they will not have the required information of the item being gifted in order to complete the customs entry. Arrange for customs clearance through your customs broker. Even though these are free, non-solicited gifts, they will require clearing customs and payment of all applicable duties and taxes.

Customs clearance requirements:

The gift will need to be accompanied by a pro-forma invoice, including all of the same required information as a commercial import. You must also declare an accurate commercial value for the product, as the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) does not accept inaccurate valuation.

2. Alcohol and spirits can be more expensive when shipping internationally.

Importing alcohol into Canada is subject to high duty and excise tax rates, and the import must be routed through a board, commission, officer, or governmental agency legally authorized to sell intoxicating liquor. If gifting liquor is a must, try contacting a winery or liquor store in the Canadian domestic market to purchase from and ship on your behalf.

3. Select the right gift basket.

If purchasing prepackaged gift baskets, be aware of its contents. Certain items such as meats, cheeses, fish and plant products require additional certificates, licenses, permits, and often carry high levels of applicable duties, making it extremely difficult to process such small quantities of these items contained in these gifts. We suggest giving gift baskets made up of items such as cookies, chocolates, coffee, crackers, oils, candles, etc., and avoid anything made from animal or animal products.

 

The bottom line:

If your organization is sending gifts cross-border, be prepared to treat them like every other export that is moved across international borders.

B. Shopping for holiday gifts online.

Many shoppers are choosing to stay away from the crowds, and are turning to online shopping these days. Be aware that the vast majority of online purchases are shipped from a non-domestic market (international) and will be required to clear through customs.

Check the online store’s or seller’s terms of sale and delivery

Confirm who is required to pay for the customs clearance – the seller or purchaser. If the purchaser is responsible for the customs clearance you will need to be prepared to pay all applicable duties and taxes when the item moves across the border. If the shipment is sent by mail and valued under $60.00 CAD, then there is the potential for the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) to allow the shipment to enter Canada without duties and taxes being paid.

Customs clearance requirements:

Although it will be a personal, non-commercial entry, in order to process the import you will be required to provide an invoice, including country of origin of the product, currency, and a complete description of the product(s) being shipped.

 

C. Mailing personal gifts to family and friends.

If you have friends or relatives who live abroad and are mailing you gifts, please ensure that they properly qualify the item as a gift and include a customs declaration.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • For an item to qualify as a “gift”, a friend or relative must send it to you personally and include a card or other notice indicating that it is a gift.
  • If you receive an imported gift by mail that is worth $60 CAD or less, you will not have to pay duty or tax on it.
  • If the gift is worth more than $60 CAD, you will have to pay any applicable duties and taxes on any amount over $60 CAD. For example: If a relative sends you a gift worth $200 CAD, you will pay any applicable duty, GST or HST and PST on $140 CAD.

Certain items do not qualify for the $60CAD gift exemption and are listed below:

  • tobacco
  • alcoholic beverages
  • advertising material
  • items sent by a business

Please also note that the $60 CAD gift exemption cannot be combined with the $20 CAD exemption that is available on most items valued at $20 CAD or less.

*These guidelines are applicable all year round, and are not specific to the holiday season.

 

Need assistance with shipping your holiday gifts into Canada this season? Pacific Customs Brokers can help. Contact our Client Services team for questions or a quote.

 

Will you be shipping Christmas gifts cross-border this year? Have questions? Leave them in our comments section below.

 
 

U.S. West Coast Container Ports — Contending with Congestion


West Coast Ocean CongestionThere is considerable and understandable concern within the trade community regarding the current West Coast trade disruptions, and the resulting delays and diversions of vessel cargo arriving and departing from West Coast ports.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific Maritime Association have been in negotiations since May 12, 2014 over a new West Coast longshore labor contract. The current six year labor contract expired at midnight on June 30, 2014 so the ILWA and PMA have been working to renew labor contracts by reaching an agreement on a new contract.

Back in June of this year we wrote a blog article regarding possible contingency plans that importers and exporters might consider in mitigating the disruptions that a Longshore strike could cause.  While a strike has not yet been called, and negotiations are continuing, we are ever aware of the growing disruptions and delays currently happening at all major West Coast ports.  Now might be a good time to review some of the alternative options, as there does not seem to be a projected return to normalcy in this matter, and it may get worse before it gets better.  A strike is not yet ruled out of the realm of possibility.

Particularly because there is no way to know when this situation might resolve, we suggest that you consider the options that we’ve put forward here, in addition to working with your overseas partners for minimizing disruptions as much as possible.

In addition to our suggested options reiterated below, U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Seattle has issued a Trade Information Notice updating the procedures that are available and to be taken in relation to the port congestion, particularly in regards to diversion of vessels.

The various scenarios outlined in the Trade Information Notice include:

  1. Vessel Diverted to Foreign Port and Discharged
  2. Vessel Diverted to Foreign Port Not Discharged
  3. Vessel Diverted to Another West Coast Port and Discharged
  4. Vessel Diverted to Another U.S. Port Not Discharged
  5. Vessel Diverted from Intended West Coast Port to Gulf or East Coast for Discharge
  6. Vessel Rests at Anchor and Not Diverted

 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will continue to disseminate information as it becomes available. In addition, U. S. Customs has clarified that members of C-TPAT will experience “front-of-line privileges” upon resumption of normal business practices. To the extent possible and practicable the containers can be moved ahead of any non C-TPAT shipments awaiting exam, regardless of how long they have been there.

 

Alternative steps in dealing with the severe West Coast port congestion:

As a majority of imported retail goods are shipped through West Coast terminals and gates, a successful contract negotiation is of critical interest to all in the supply chain.  It is now clear that a new agreement will not be reached without considerable disruption, having a contingency plan in place in case of a strike, lockout or long-term disruption will help your business mitigate inevitable supply chain disruptions. Below are some alternative steps you could take to safeguard your shipments.

  1. Scope your alternatives – Develop a backup plan with an experienced logistics provider to ensure the proper flow of merchandise.
  2. Choose alternate port routings – Look at routing shipments to Canadian and East Coast ports not affected by these activities.
  3. Consider moving products via sea-ground options and/or air freight to minimize the impact of increased costs. Air might be a good choice for critical time-sensitive products.
  4. Transload, truck, and intermodal - Be prepared to consider multiple means of transportation, utilizing truck and intermodal as needed to keep products moving.
  5. Prepare for likely delays and stoppages at the ports as the disruptions and diversions continue.
  6. Stay updated on the status of the negotiations – Pacific Customs Brokers is monitoring the situation and will continue to post updates to the Trade News section of our website as they become available.

How Pacific Customs Brokers can help

Additionally, our affiliated companies Pacific Overseas Forwarding and PCB Sufferance Warehouse can help you devise a customized backup plan. We offer solutions from cross docking and clearing your goods to transporting them down to your North American destination. U.S. exporters might look to use our bonded warehouse as a destination to ship overseas bound cargo for container loading. Contact us to learn how one of our logistics specialists can help you prepare your contingency plan.

 

Have questions or concerns about the potential U.S. West Coast port strike? Use the comments section below to leave us your thoughts or email Ask Your Broker.

 

Additional Resources: