Archive for the ‘Highway Carrier’ Category


PARS and ACI – Understanding the Border Crossing Process



Understanding the Pre-arrival Review System

The Pre-arrival Review System (PARS) allows customs brokers to submit shipment release information (provided by the importer and carrier) to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) for review and processing before the goods arrive in Canada. This speeds up the shipment release or referral for examination process for when the carrier arrives with the freight at the border. In order for the system to be successful, all trade chain partners need to do their part.

At Shipment Pickup

The carrier’s role is vital to the PARS process. At the time the freight is picked up from the shipper, the carrier will affix a PARS sticker/label to the commercial documents and forward them to the customs broker so they can set up the shipment with the CBSA, in advance.

The PARS sticker/label

The PARS sticker/label is made up of your carrier code and combined with a unique shipment number. This “PARS” or Cargo Control Number (CCN) is critical because it identifies both the carrier and the shipment to the CBSA at the time of reporting and when release documents are presented.

When faxing, or emailing commercial documents to the customs broker the carrier must advise them of

  • The port of crossing
  • The estimated date and time of arrival
  • The carrier’s contact information – in case the customs broker needs to reach you
Providing the customs broker and CBSA sufficient processing time will prevent a carrier or their drivers from being delayed at the border. It also allows the customs broker time to reach out to other trade chain partners if additional information is required.

Before heading to the Canadian border

Under the PARS process, the customs broker will submit the release information to the CBSA either electronically or in paper format — depending on the release requirements for the goods being shipped. Goods that require permits, licenses or certificates will require additional processing time using PARS.

ACI eManifest

With the advent of ACI eManifest making the transmission of pre-arrival conveyance and cargo data mandatory, effective January 11, 2016, carriers now have one more obligation to fulfill prior to heading to the border.

It is important to note that while the customs clearance process and ACI eManifest are closely linked, they are two separate and distinct things. In other words, you cannot just send all of your information to the customs broker and expect that they will set up your PARS for clearance and file your emanifest. Conversely, you cannot send that same data to your eManifest service provider and expect that they will file your eManifest and set up your PARS. The exception to this rule would be in situations where the customs broker clearing the shipment is also an emanifest service provider as is the case with Pacific Customs Brokers and its eManifest filing service, Border Pro.

Always verify that the shipment has been set up and that you are good to proceed to the border. You can verify the status of your shipment by calling the customs broker directly or by using their online PARS lookup tool.

At the Canadian border:

When you or your driver arrive at the Customs booth, the Customs officer checks all the commercial paperwork presented, and uses the bar-coded cargo control number on the PARS stickers to get access to the recommendation and also to determine whether or not the shipment can be released.

It is important for carriers to remember that the best way to ensure a smooth and seamless border crossing is to get all paperwork for both the customs clearance and eManifest sent as soon as possible. The more time that the broker has to review documentation, the better the chances are that your shipment will be in “accepted” status when you arrive and your truck will roll right through.


Did You Know?

Pacific Customs Brokers’ Border Pro for Carriers service was created to help carriers, truckers, drivers, dispatchers and self-carrying importers seamlessly clear customs while saving time and money. Border Pro for Carriers eManifest filing services can assist you in submitting all relevant information to Canada Customs within the required time period to ensure your trucks cross the border as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What has your experience been crossing the Canadian border?  Share them in our comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.

How to Avoid ACI eManifest Penalties Triggered by Voluntary Entries

Ban-600Large fines of up to $8,000 per shipment can occur for carriers not in compliance with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). With the introduction of monetary fines in January 2016, compliance is more important than ever. CBSA may issue penalties for submissions that are not complete, inaccurate, or intentionally false. In addition there are strict time frames for transmitting the required information which if not adhered to can result in fines.


Who is responsible for providing cargo and conveyance  pre-arrival data?

Carriers are liable to ensure all information provided to the CBSA including pre-arrival information is true, accurate and complete. The operator of the conveyance  that transports the goods to Canada is solely liable for providing all cargo and conveyance  pre-arrival information via electronic means to CBSA.


Where business arrangements exist, another carrier may provide the pre-arrival cargo data to CBSA; however, it is the conveyance operating carrier that remains liable for the pre-arrival cargo and conveyance transmitted to CBSA.


The conveyance operating carrier should ensure that all cargo carried in the conveyance has been transmitted to CBSA prior to arrival. This is the time to ensure a complete compliance strategy is in place with the carrier submitting the cargo to CBSA and the transporting carrier (if different) so that there are no discrepancies which could result in penalties assessed against the transporting carrier.


What are the penalties?

Penalties for not submitting ACI are applied to each shipment. The penalty is $2000 per shipment for first occurrence, $4000 per shipment for second occurrence and $8000 per shipment for third and subsequent occurrences.

Carriers have been assessed this penalty also when they failed to report cargo after the fact via an amendment to the original ACI Conveyance report filed. Importers who receive goods that were delivered to them without official customs release will voluntarily declare goods  via a B3 type V entry. The submission of the voluntary entry triggers the CBSA to assess a penalty against the carrier who transported the goods into Canada because the goods were delivered to the importer without reporting the cargo to CBSA. The transporting carrier should have amended their conveyance report to CBSA to report the cargo delivered or found over after the conveyance was released at the first port of arrival into Canada. If the cargo was not reported via an amendment to the original  ACI transmission then the penalty assessed by CBSA against the transporting carrier will be upheld.


How a carrier can avoid penalties for not reporting cargo?

To avoid penalties for not reporting cargo, carriers should ensure that all cargo carried has been reported via ACI and accepted prior to arriving at the first port of arrival into Canada. If cargo is found after the fact, the transporting carrier should amend their report as soon as possible and before the importer submits their voluntary entry.


Trade Advisory Services:

Pacific Customs Brokers can review and prepare AMPS appeals. Our Trade Advisors will work with you to guide your business through the appeal process and avoid incurring further penalties.

Have questions?

If you have any questions about ACI eManifest, please do not hesitate to contact our Carrier Relations Liaison at 855.542.6644 or via email at [email protected]
We also welcome your questions and comments in our comments section below.

How to Appeal An ACI eManifest AMPS Penalty

How Highway Carriers Can Appeal An AMPS Penalty

It is important for highway carriers to ensure that they are fully compliant to all CBSA requirements for eManifest to avoid AMPS penalties. In our earlier blog post, Hefty AMPS Penalties for ACI eManifest Non-Compliance,  we broke down the various AMPS contraventions and the penalties which may be applied. A graphical representation can also be found in this Infographic: ACI eManifest AMPS Penalties in Effect. Of note is the point that the penalty for not filng ACI for the cargo carried and conveyance used to carry the cargo is also applied when cargo  is found in Canada by the carrier and/or importer. The carrier must  amend or submit the report via eManifest for this cargo immediately upon discovery regardless of the importer submitting a Voluntary entry to account for the duty and taxes on the cargo.


When you are issued a penalty under AMPS, you will receive a Notice of Penalty Assessment (NPA), from the CBSA describing the infraction and the penalty incurred.

Appealing a Penalty Assessment

If a highway carrier disagrees with a Notice of Penalty Assessment (NPA), you may want it reviewed. There are two types of reviews available:

1. Correction

Following the assessment of a penalty, a designated officer may, on behalf of the Minister, cancel or reduce the penalty within 90 days of its issuance if any errors in the assessment were made. Correction requests should be submitted to the issuing office. To improve access to the correction process, the fax number of the issuing offices has been added on the NPA.

The information required in a correction request is:

(a)  the client identification number:

(i) Business Number (RM import/export account level);

(ii) Carrier Code (carrier/transporter);

(iii) Sub-office Work Location (warehouse operators);

(b)  the name and address of the client;

(c)  the penalty assessment number (a unique sequential identifier assigned by the AMPS automated system to each NPA);

(d)  the proof of payment of the NPA, when applicable;

(e)  an explanatory note, clearly identifying why the carrier believes that there is an error in the penalty assessment.

If a request for a correction is denied, the carrier still has the option of requesting a Minister’s decision as described below in the redress process.


2. Redress  (Minister review)

If a client disputes the assessment of a penalty, a request for a Ministerial decision can be made. The CBSA’s Recourse Directorate reviews these requests. The NPA contains information on the redress process. It is recommended that clients provide as much information as possible relating to their objection to the penalty.

Requests for a Ministerial decision must be submitted within 90 days from the day the NPA was served. In exceptional circumstances, this may be extended to one year. The requests should be sent to the CBSA Recourse Directorate, 1686 Woodward Drive, Ottawa ON K1A 0L8. The Ministerial decision will be communicated to the client in writing. If the penalty was justified by the facts and the law, the decision will confirm that the penalty assessment will be maintained and any money and/or interest owing on the account of the penalty are payable. If, on the other hand, the penalty was not justified by the facts or the law, the penalty assessment will be cancelled and any money paid on the account of the penalty will be refunded and any interest.

Further information on the correction and redress processes can be found on the CBSA website.



If a carrier requests a correction or redress, the payment can be deferred until a decision is rendered. However, if it is determined that there was a contravention and that the penalty was correctly issued, and the penalty is not paid within the 30 days, interest will apply and be calculated from the day after the date of the NPA being served until the date the amount owing is paid.


Penalty Reduction Agreement (PRA)

The CBSA has a program called the Penalty Reduction Agreement (PRA). This is a formal agreement between the CBSA and the client whereby the payment of the penalty is partially reduced by CBSA for the client to reinvest in the correction of the client’s commercial information system.

A PRA must be approved first before penalties are reduced and information on how to apply for this program is in Memorandum D22-1-2, Penalty Reinvestment Agreement (PRA) Policy. The Agreement  and reduction of penalty amounts are specific to the client’s information system (eg. purchase of software, upgrade etc) and does not apply to ongoing costs for training employees, overhead and administrative costs, renovation costs, and salaries for hiring employees conversant with the CBSA policies.

Be sure to speak with a customs professional before agreeing to participate in a penalty reduction program.

What Carriers Can Do to Avoid AMPS?

A clear understanding of ACI eManifest requirements, comprehensive compliance monitoring and record keeping system will  ensure that you avoid monetary penalties and high risk scoring.

Minimize Your Risk of AMPS

Our ACI eManifest Seminars and Webinars are 90-minute sessions where we answer questions, offer practical solutions and help with the ACI eManifest regulations in effect. For details and to register »


Trade Advisory Services:

Pacific Customs Brokers can review and prepare AMPS appeals. Our Trade Advisors will work with you to guide your business through the appeal process and avoid incurring further penalties.

Have questions?

If you have any questions about ACI eManifest, please do not hesitate to contact our Carrier Relations Liaison at 855.542.6644 or via email at [email protected]

We also welcome your questions and comments in our comments section below.

Should Commercial Carriers Crossing into Canada Have a Carrier Code?

Should Commercial Carriers Crossing into Canada Have a Carrier Code?If you are driving a vehicle and transporting commercial goods from the U.S. into Canada, the following blog will help you understand why you should consider applying for a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) carrier code.

ACI eManifest is in place and a carrier code is mandatory for carriers to transact business with CBSA.

If you are a carrier “for-hire” meaning you are transporting commercial goods to Canada you must have a carrier code. A carrier “for-hire” who arrives at the border without a carrier code will not be permitted to haul the commercial goods into Canada.


Before we assess carrier code eligibility, let’s understand a couple of related terms.


What is a carrier code?

A carrier code is a unique four-character code issued by the CBSA to identify a carrier. There are two main types of carrier codes:

  1. Non-bonded carrier code – Carriers in possession of a non-bonded carrier code must have freight coming into Canada released at the border (first port of arrival).
  2. Bonded carrier code – Bonded carriers have posted security which allows them to transport shipments (not cleared at the first point of arrival) inland to a bonded warehouse of their choice.


Who is a carrier?

CBSA defines a carrier as a person involved in international commercial transportation who operates a conveyance used to transport specified goods to or from Canada. To operate a conveyance means to have legal custody and control of the conveyance as an owner, a lessee, a charterer, a mortgagor, or on a hire purchase agreement.

Specified goods are:

  1. Commercial goods;
  2. Empty cargo containers to be imported into Canada and that are not for sale; and
  3. Any other goods to be transported to Canada for a fee

We can now review the eligibility to hold or receive a carrier code from the CBSA. When a company or carrier applies for a carrier code, it is the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate to the CBSA that they are in fact a carrier and that they meet the definition of a carrier.

If you meet the definition of a carrier and transport goods for a fee, then you are eligible to receive or hold a carrier code.


The following are examples of parties who are NOT eligible for a carrier code:

  1. An importer transporting their own goods into Canada under the definition of “hand-carried goods”.

“Hand-carried goods” are defined as commercial goods carried by a paying passenger on board traveller’s commercial conveyances (bus, taxi, plane, ship, etc.) or commercial goods being imported and accounted for at the port of entry by the owner of a business, or an employee, driving a “not for hire,” non-commercial conveyance described as:

(a) an owner of a business or an employee of a business driving a vehicle registered under the business (fleet car) transporting commercial goods for the business; or

(b) an owner of a business or an employee of a business driving its own personal vehicle transporting commercial goods for the business

  1. The conveyance is the goods being imported.

For example, a car dealer purchases a vehicle in the United States and drives the vehicle into Canada for commercial importation purposes. The vehicle is considered “hand-carried” goods.

  1. A ships agent in the marine mode who is not directly engaged in the international commercial transportation of goods.

For example, a ships agent who applies for a carrier code for the sole purpose of providing Advance Commercial Information (ACI) to the CBSA on behalf of other carriers under the ships agent’s carrier code.

  1. Companies who do not own or operate a conveyance and are not involved in the actual transportation of goods.

For example, a logistics provider who does not have an exclusive contract with a third party and hires that third party to transport the goods into Canada.


  1. Companies who do not have a conveyance or cannot provide a history of leasing/renting vehicles for carrier purposes at the time they will be requesting a carrier code from the CBSA.

For example, a company who is interested in becoming a carrier to transport goods into Canada; however, it intends to lease or purchase a conveyance once it determines its business volume and after it obtains a carrier code from the CBSA.


Should you surrender your carrier code?

For-hire carriers have reporting and recordkeeping requirements which include eManifests under Advance Commercial Information (ACI). If you currently hold a carrier code and do not transport commercial goods for hire we recommend you contact CBSA at the contact information provided below  and surrender your carrier code thus removing your responsibility for eManifest reporting.

Commercial Registration
Canada Border Services Agency
191 Laurier Avenue West, 12th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0L8
Email: [email protected]
Phone (Toll-free in North America): 1.866.749.6623
Phone: 1.613.960.1702


How to get a carrier code?

To file for a carrier code you must apply directly to the Canada Border Services Agency. You must fill out a Carrier Code Application and email [email protected]. If you have questions, call toll-free 866.749.6623.


Carrier Code Assistance

Pacific Customs Brokers offers assistance with the carrier code application process. Please contact our Carrier Help Desk at 855.542.6644 or [email protected] for more details.


Have questions or comments on this blog post? Leave them in our comments section below.

How to Process Unique Shipments When Filing ACI eManifest

Unique Shipment Processes are not exempt from pre-arrival data and have reporting and pre-arrival requirements which are different in some manner.

Here is a quick list of these processes:

Courier Low Value Shipment (LVS) / High Value Shipment (HVS)

These shipments are exempt from pre-arrival cargo reporting. Conveyance pre-arrival data transmission is still required, quoting the appropriate cargo exception code.

High Value Shipment (HVS)

Goods Found Astray (Misrouted Goods)

Foreign goods found astray in Canada must be electronically transmitted post-arrival as soon as they are discovered by the carrier and then exported and reported to CBSA as per D3-1-8, Cargo-Export Movements

Goods Found Astray (Misrouted Goods)


Any excess in the number of pieces transmitted to CBSA in the same shipment and found by the carrier post arrival are overages and must be reported to CBSA as soon as they are discovered by transmitting an amendment to the cargo transmission. An overage can only be corrected post arrival without penalty if the goods were reported to CBSA initially pre-arrival.



Like overages, shortages can be corrected for goods initially reported pre-arrival and subsequently the carrier found that the number of pieces found was less than the number of pieces reported. Again carriers are to report shortages as soon as discovered to CBSA and are to transmit a post-arrival amendment to the original cargo transmission.


Personal Effects

When personal effects are imported into Canada by a carrier, the name and address of the actual consignee is required. The name of the moving company is to be provided in the NOTIFY PARTY field of the eManifest transmission.

Personal Effects

Single Trip Authorizations

Carriers using a single trip bond are required to electronically transmit pre-arrival conveyance and cargo data to CBSA showing First Port of Arrival (FPOA) as the port of destination. Once the carrier arrives in Canada, the driver must present a paper A8A with a different CCN on it. The driver will be referred to a customs broker or agent for security or bond application. Once secured the bond application and A8A will be presented to CBSA at the FPOA. CBSA will acquit the electronic cargo with the in-bond CCN (re-manifest) and the cargo will be permitted to proceed inland on the paper A8A.

Single Trip Authorizations

One Conveyance – Multiple Trailers – One Shipment

Where one shipment is carried on two or more trailers but hauled by one tractor, one CCN is assigned to cover the shipment. Each trailer must be identified on the conveyance report, and the description field of the cargo report should indicate the number of pieces and trailers comprising the shipment eg. “1000 pieces contained in two trailers”

Multiple Trailers – One Shipment

Entered to Arrive (ETA) and Value Included (VI) Shipments

Pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data is required for ETA and VI shipments. CBSA will manually acquit the cargo data with the original transaction number associated with the goods.

Ships’ Stores (Goods Imported for Ships Stores)

Pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data is required for ship stores.

Ships’ Stores

Duty Free Shops (Goods Imported by Duty Free Shops)

Pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data is required for goods imported by duty free shops.

Goods Imported by Duty Free Shops

“To Order” Shipments

To acknowledge existing business practises, CBSA will accept “to order” “to order of shipper” or “to order of bank” or “other named entity” in the consignee field provided the name and address of the owner or his/her representative is transmitted in a “notify party” field.

“To Order” Shipments

Non-resident Importer

Non-resident importers and their foreign address are to be identified electronically in the consignee field. The delivery party name and address must be completed for where the goods are destined in Canada.

“To Order” Shipments

In-transit Cargo

Pre-arrival conveyance data is required for a Conveyance reporting with in-transit cargo.The conveyance report shall quote the in-transit cargo exception code. The Carrier will prepare and present to USCBP and CBSA copies of the A8B, United States – Canada Transit Manifest.

** CBSA will not issue AMPs penalties for failing to electronically transmit conveyance data until such time as the CBSA implements and mandates a complete in-transit solution.

In-transit Cargo

Transit International Routier (TIR) Carnet

Pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data must be transmitted for TIR Carnet import or or an E29B Temporary Shipment. The Conveyance report should quote the applicable exception code. A paper A8A is also to be provided to CBSA upon arrival.

“To Order” Shipments


Have questions?

If you have any questions about unique shipment processes under ACI eManifest, please do not hesitate to contact our Carrier Relations Liaison at 855.542.6644 or via email at [email protected].


eManifest Filing Services

Our Border Pro for Carriers eManifest filing services can assist you in submitting all relevant information to Canada Customs within the required time period to ensure your trucks cross the border as quickly and efficiently as possible.


What has your experience been crossing the border with unique shipments?  Share them in our comments section below or email us at Ask Your Broker.


Additional Resources: