Archive for the ‘Highway Carrier’ Category


The No. 1 Contentious Issue with ACI eManifest – Consolidation


Over the course of the ACI eManifest implementation period, the question that keeps cropping is

“Will CBSA alter their stance on the ‘one shipper, one consignee, one entry’ position?”

Monitoring this regulation closely, all indications and communications from CBSA point to a firm “No.”

In an effort to stick-handle around this regulation, many importers and carriers were looking to have multiple shipments consolidated at one U.S. facility and then moved on one BOL (bill of lading) showing the consolidation point as the shipper. One shipper, one consignee, one entry. Problem solved, right? Not so fast…

In a past conference call that we participated in, CBSA clarified their position on what does and what does not qualify as a consolidation. It is important to note that often when CBSA refers to a “consolidation,” especially as it relates to filing an ACI cargo report, they are talking about a group of shipments that is moved by a freight forwarder on one bill of lading,  then “de-consolidated” onto multiple “house bills” and customs cleared on individual entries. Regardless of that, the scenarios and guidelines listed below paint a pretty clear picture of what qualifies as a consolidation and when it is acceptable to file a single cargo report.

Transportation Scenario

Multiple shippers transport their goods to one common location in the country of export. The location consolidates the shipments onto one new bill of lading for transportation from the consolidation location to the consignee in Canada.

  • This scenario can require different eManifest submissions depending on what is stated on the Bill of Lading.
  • When CBSA reviews books and records, this review includes the billing documents, record of payment, individual bills of lading etc.
  • CBSA must be able to follow the audit trail from the pick-up of the cargo to the delivery of the cargo through the source documents that must be retained and provided to the CBSA upon request. (Section 22 of The Customs Act)

Example #1

4 individual Bill of Ladings from 4 different U.S. Shippers to 1 Canadian Consignee

The shipments arrive at a U.S. carrier’s terminal or warehouse location to consolidate the shipments for transportation from the terminal/warehouse to the consignee in Canada (they could have been transported to this location by different transportation companies or by the same one).

  • Each U.S. shipper has a separate contract of carriage with the carriers and each shipper has prepared their own bill of lading indicating a U.S. shipper and a Canadian consignee.
  • These are international movements.
  • A new BOL is created indicating the U.S. carrier terminal/warehouse as the shipper with the same Canadian consignee.
  • This example will require house bill submissions from Freight Forwarders

Example #1 eManifest Requirements

This would be a consolidated shipment:

  • The CBSA would accept one ACI cargo transmission from the carrier as per the single contract of carriage or bill of lading.
    • Carrier would be required to indicate “Yes” for the Consolidated Freight Indicator field of the cargo map as the audit trail and source documents will reflect a true consolidation with multiple shippers and one consignee.
  • The CBSA would expect multiple paper house bills or ACI house bill transmissions (future eManifest release) from the freight forwarder.
  • Multiple PARS would be submitted by the importer/ customs broker quoting the multiple house bills.

* It is important to note that, for highway carriers wishing to border clear all four shipments on PARS at the port of arrival, the above scenario would require four ACI cargo transmissions and four customs entries.

Example #2

4 individual Bills of Lading from 4 different U.S. Shippers to 1 central U.S. Carrier Terminal/Warehouse

The shipments arrive at a U.S. carrier’s terminal or warehouse location to consolidate the shipments for transportation from the terminal/warehouse to a single consignee in Canada

  • Each U.S. shipper has a separate contract of carriage with the carriers indicating a U.S. shipper and the terminal/warehouse as the consignee.
  • These are domestic movements.
  • A new BOL is created indicating the U.S. carrier terminal/warehouse as the shipper and a Canadian consignee.

Example #2 eManifest Requirements

This would be a non-consolidated shipment:

  • The CBSA would expect one ACI cargo transmission as per the single contract of carriage or bill of lading.
    • Carrier would be required to indicate “No” for the Consolidated Freight Indicator field of the cargo map.
  • The Carrier is required to submit one CCN for this scenario even though the cargo is originally shipped from multiple shippers.
  • One PARS would be submitted by the importer/ customs broker quoting the single CCN.

So, if you were able to make it through the above without nodding off, you will have picked up that the key issue here is the original bill of lading and CBSA’s ability to establish and follow an “audit trail.” Quite simply, if multiple shipments are moved from various points in the U.S. into a central terminal location, on domestic bills of lading showing that terminal as the destination, and, if a new bill of lading is generated showing that central location as the shipper, and the Canadian destination as the consignee, you can submit one cargo transmission and one PARS entry. It is important to note that this bill of lading is a legal document and must be supported by the domestic bills of lading that moved the cargo into the consolidation point. Further to this point, it is critical to know that this procedure should not be used merely in an attempt to circumvent the regulations and that in the case of a CBSA audit, you will be required to present all original bills of lading.

In virtually all other scenarios involving multiple shippers to a single consignee, you will be required to file multiple cargo transmissions, and multiple PARS entries will be required for customs clearance.

It appears as though it may be time for importers, carriers and customs brokers to prepare themselves for the inevitable fact that the clearance of multiple shipments on one entry will soon be a thing of the past.

We hope that this helps to bring some clarity to what we have found to be the most contentious and hotly debated issue surrounding the implementation of the ACI eManifest program. 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 Should you need assistance in filing eManifests, Pacific Customs Brokers offers both self and full-service eManifest filing.

If you are just getting on board with ACI eManifest and are a little unsure of how the program works and how it will affect your business, we recommend attending our upcoming ACI eManifest Seminars and Webinars wherein we will discuss how the program works in-depth and answer your questions.

We also welcome your questions regarding ACI eManifest and its implementation in our comments section below.

ACI eManifest Requirements Now Mandatory

After many delays and  false starts, as of May 6, 2015,  ACI eManifest regulations are now in effect. As per the eManifest regulatory amendments published in the Canada Gazette, Part II, we have summarized the impact on highway carriers below.

What does this mean for highway carriers?

  1. Carriers who have not yet registered are advised to do so immediately and may contact Pacific Customs Brokers for help with this process.
  2. Carriers who have registered for the program but have not yet begun to file are advised to begin as soon as possible so that they are fully compliant at the deadline.
  3. Carriers who have registered for the ACI eManifest program and have already been transmitting ACI eManifest data, will carry on with business as usual.

The following is an official notice from Bruna Rados, Director General, Information, Science and Technology Branch, CBSA.

I am pleased to advise that on May 6, 2015, regulatory amendments supporting the Canada Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) eManifest initiative were published in the Canada Gazette, Part II. This final step in the Government of Canada’s regulatory process makes the eManifest requirements for highway carriers, rail carriers and freight forwarders, as set out in the regulations, legally binding. Today, the CBSA website has been updated to inform stakeholders that the following implementation timelines apply to eManifest requirements for highway carriers.


Implementation Timelines:

eManifest requirements for highway carriers are now mandatory and the following implementation timelines apply:

  • From May 6, 2015, to July 10, 2015, the CBSA will provide carriers with a period of transition during which penalties for non-compliance will not be issued.  The Agency will work closely with carriers on corrective measures to help them comply with eManifest requirements.
  • From July 10, 2015, to January 10, 2016, carriers who do not comply with eManifest requirements may be issued zero-rated penalties (non-monetary) under the CBSA’s Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).
  • Beginning January 10, 2016, carriers who do not comply with eManifest requirements may be issued monetary AMPS penalties.

This is an important milestone in eManifest implementation and the CBSA continues to offer industry support in their transition to eManifest through online resources and dedicated client support.

How Pacific Customs Brokers can help:

Pacific Customs Brokers offers both self and full service eManifest filing. We also provide ACE e-Manifest filing services for shipments into the USA.

Get Your eManifest Questions Answered

Pacific Customs Brokers is fully aware of just how intimidating this whole program can seem. Carriers and customs brokers both work towards a common goal – getting the shipment to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. In our ongoing effort to provide a wide variety of carrier-related services, and to help you prepare for this regulation, we are offering a series of ACI eManifest Seminars and Webinars in the coming weeks. In these 90-minute sessions we will answer questions, offer practical solutions and help with the ACI eManifest regulations in effect.

For details and to register »

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

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.

Wood Packaging Materials: 5 Tips to Avoid Shipment Refusal

wood-palletsWe have posted a few articles about the increase in U.S. Customs refusal of import shipments due to non-compliance with the wood packing material regulations, containing everything from perishable food products to floor tiles to machinery to textiles. This remains a topical subject, and while Customs has not officially published the exact numbers, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)  issued thousands of Emergency Action Notices in 2012 nationwide, with many of those being at the U.S.-Canada border. With very rare exceptions, these shipments have required immediate re-export. No recourse and no options for further mitigation or treatment are being offered at this time.

It is estimated that the U.S. spends about $138 million dollars each year fighting the effects of invasion by non-native species, which includes plants and seeds, as well as animals and insects. While CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) and the USDA (United State Department of Agriculture) have been waging this battle for a number of years, there is a definite increase in the number of inspections taking place and the severity of required actions over the course of the past couple years. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) regulations regarding wood shipping material (ISPM 15) went into effect in 2005. Since then, all wood packaging material (WPM) entering the U.S. must be either heat treated or fumigated according to these regulations. We want to be clear that the recent increased levels of inspection and refusal are not due to any new requirements, but rather more focus and increased officer training regarding this important issue.

Wood packaging materials must not only be appropriately treated and have certification issued, but if an inspection is ordered and the officer finds reason to question the validity of the stampings or documentary statements, Customs has the right and the responsibility to refuse the shipment.

This is a list of a few of the scenarios that have come to our attention recently:

  1. Cargo arrives at the port of entry with a mix of marked and unmarked WPM. No assumptions will be made by Customs as to the origin or status of the packing materials and the entire shipment will be refused and ordered for immediate export.

  2. When goods are delivered from overseas to a warehouse, the packaging is certified and appears clean. By the time it is shipped to the U.S., however, an uninvited rodent set up house in the warehouse. Even if the WPM is marked & certified, it will be rejected – likely for noxious weed seed – and refused, with immediate export demanded.

  3. The WPM is all certified and marked appropriately, but the Customs officer finds evidence, or even a question of evidence – say frass, or fresh boreholes – that it may have been re-infected, or possibly the initial treatment was not effective, or the marks and certification were fraudulent. You guessed it – the shipment is refused and immediate exportation is ordered.

  4. The WPM is certified and marked, but the Customs officer finds evidence that the WPM is concealed in some fashion – hidden between plys, or possibly an unmarked piece of bracing material. Once again, the shipment is refused and immediate export is ordered.

If your cargo is carried as a less than truckload (LTL) shipment, it may be consolidated on a truck or in a container with other shipments. If one shipment in that lot is found to be non-compliant, it is very likely that everything on that truck or container will be refused and sent back to origin. Who bears the costs involved? Every carrier makes their own decision on this, so you will want to address this issue with your client.

Clearly, the costs of having a shipment refused at the border can be tremendous. Between all of the necessary documentation, inspection fees and communications, wait time, a wasted trip to the border and return, re-import process, repacking the shipment and sending it again – possibly late this time, or the risk of having an angry customer who no longer wants the product, not to mention possible penalties issued at a later date by U.S. Customs for non-compliance… no wonder you have a headache!

So, here are a few suggestions on what can you do to lessen the likelihood of being caught up in this scenario:

  1. Make sure that your warehouse personnel and your vendors know, understand and follow the regulations on WPM – the USDA-APHIS website is a good starting place to look for more in-depth information.

  2. As you load your shipments destined for the U.S., look at it like a Customs officer will: is the shipment packed so as to be easily examined? Are all pallets and crates clearly and appropriately stamped? How about dunnage, bracing and loose packaging – are they stamped? Know the signs of infestation – bark, frass, boreholes, live insects or larvae. Is there any evidence of pest infestation on the packing? Make sure the pallets are clean and clear of rodent debris, unintended soil or plant/seed material, and any other unwelcome pests.

  3. If you are building your own crates or packaging materials, you must use materials from a registered and accredited manufacturer, and have the final packing material treated appropriately. You cannot create your own ISPM15 marks.

  4. Implement processes and policies for shipments being returned due to non-compliance, particularly if you are hauling LTL loads. Be prepared with a plan of action, and remember that shipments cross the border and are examined 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at some ports, so it is a good idea to advise your Customs Broker of after-hours contact instructions.

  5. Stay in close communications with your Customs Broker regarding updates and/or changes in the regulations, and know how these changes might affect you and your cargo destined to the U.S.

Pacific Customs Brokers can help advise you on how to better your chances of success with Wood Packaging Materials compliance. We can provide you with helpful information to avoid delays and refusals and manage the entire Customs process seamlessly.

Have questions about Wood Packaging Materials? Leave them in our comments section below.


11 Reasons Why a Carrier Would Need to See a Customs Broker

Numbers-one-600A driver’s cross border journey is so much more than picking up freight and proceeding with delivery. Crossing international borders, especially with commercial freight, means complying with the rules of the governing country.

There are many aspects for the carrier to consider when planning their journey: transportation permits, routes, road conditions, hours and what customs requirements apply to the goods on board.

While most entries must be transmitted to the CBSA electronically for review, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. Here is a list of those exceptions to help give you a better understanding of some of the reasons you or your driver may have to stop your journey along the way:

  1. Invoice lines in excess of 999 lines — When an invoice covers a large number of purchased goods, it can take a customs broker quite some time to key it line by line. This is why customs has allowed entries exceeding 250 lines to be presented as a paper entry to help expedite the clearance process.
  2. Multiple Highway Cargo Control numbers at frontier
  3. Courier Low Value Shipment rejected from consist (2500CAD or less)
  4. Other government department permit or certificate required — There are certain goods that cannot be released electronically because they require a permit, certificate or license to be presented to CBSA. An example of this would be vehicles that require Form 1 or fire arms that require a special permit.
  5. System outage (ie. customs broker, CBSA or CFIA)
  6. Shortages, Entered to Arrive, Value Included — These goods are reported when the quantity of goods originally reported to the CBSA is different from that received by the importer or broker.
  7. Provisional — When the importer/owner or broker cannot establish a final value for duty of goods at the time of importation. In such cases, goods may be released under the interim accounting provisions.
  8. Prime & ETAs — When an item is too large to fit on one truck and transportation of the goods will be split up onto a number of trucks.
  9. Used self propelled vehicles — Goods that require U.S .customs authorization to export before they will be CBSA released.
  10. Used machinery requiring inspection — Goods that may have soil or dirt present must be inspected to ensure that the proper cleaning precautions have been taken.
  11. CBSA has requested to see a paper declaration


In any of the above cases, the customs broker will instruct you or your driver to come into their office to collect a paper package, which they will have prepared in advance. After obtaining instruction from the customs broker, you will proceed to the customs booth and advise the border service officer (BSO) that you need to see your customs broker. The border service officer will instruct you where to park while you take care of your documentation.

Once you’ve visited the customs broker and have obtained the paper package, those documents need to be presented to CBSA for their release decision. If release has been granted, Customs will stamp your paperwork released and you may then proceed with final delivery.

Do your due diligence and always ensure that your entries are good to go before proceeding to the border. By doing this, it gives you and the customs broker an opportunity to communicate any special instructions to each other.

What do you think? Leave us your questions or comments below or email Ask Your Broker.

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

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: