There are many steps a carrier can take to ensure efficient entry into Canada prior to arrival. We have compiled 6 steps below.
Prior to Arrival
Step 1: Match loaded shipment to shipment paperwork
After loading, ensure that the documentation provided to you matches what was loaded on/in the trailer as well as what was transmitted to Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) via eManifest. Ensure the cargo control number (CCN) or Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) transmitted via eManifest matches what is provided to the customs broker. Pay particular attention to commodity descriptions and piece counts. If the piece count or commodity differs, notify your dispatch. Do not send inaccurate documentation to the customs broker. This step helps to avoid inadvertently importing undeclared goods.
Step 2: Identify the customs broker for the shipment
Ensure you are aware of the customs broker in charge of submitting the entry to CBSA and obtain their current contact information. Once you have identified the customs broker, find their contact information by visiting their website. Submitting customs documentation to the incorrect broker or incorrect fax number or email address will result in the shipment not being accepted upon your initial request.
Step 3: Ensure you have all the paperwork needed to clear the shipment
Documentation includes the shipment invoice noting the commodities, piece count and weight actually loaded on the truck. Additional documentation can include phytosanitary certificates, certificates of origin and other documents that Other Government Departments (OGD) require in order to accept the load for entry into Canada. Please note however that in some cases, the carrier is only required to submit a bill of lading and PARS barcode with a reference number relating to paperwork previously submitted to the custom broker by the importing client. Missing information will result in processing delays with the customs broker.
Step 4: Prepare the documents for submission to the customs broker
- Place a bar-coded PARS sticker on each customs invoice. Ensure the PARS number matches what was transmitted via eManifest. One PARS sticker can be used for each individual pickup and/or drop unless the load is from a consolidated warehouse. For more information on the difference between a consolidated and non-consolidated load please read our blog post entitled The No. 1 Contentious Issue with ACI eManifest – Consolidation.
- Under the PARS bar-code, write:
- The port in which you will be crossing into Canada.
- The estimated date and time of arrival (ETA) at the port of crossing with as much accuracy as possible.
- Include your name and contact information in case the broker needs to clarify or obtain additional information about the shipment.
Missing PARS bar-codes can result in Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties, eManifest complications and/or delay in processing with the customs broker. Inaccurate ETA’s can backlog a customs broker and also delay processing time. Missing driver contact information inhibits the broker’s ability to contact the driver if there are any missing or illegible aspects of the documentation received.
Step 5: Submit the customs documentation in PDF format to the customs broker
Using the contact information obtained in step 2, carriers should submit all paperwork provided, including the information listed in step 4, to the customs broker. Often, attachments of word documents or picture files can be illegible to the customs broker. Therefore, ensuring the documentation is sent in PDF format can be the difference between expedited or delayed processing if the customs broker must contact the driver to request legible documentation.
Please note: In addition to submitting customs documentation to the customs broker to obtain accepted entry status with CBSA, carriers are also responsible for reporting goods imported into Canada via ACI eManifest. Pacific Custom Brokers provides eManifest filing services for carriers. In those cases where Pacific Customs Brokers is both the customs broker for the shipment and the chosen eManifest service provider for the carrier, the carrier can include the ACI eManifest request sheet with their submission of customs documentation.
6. Check the acceptance status of the shipment
Ensure your shipment has received accepted status at least one hour prior to arriving at the port of crossing. At that time, if your shipment is not accepted for entry, you can work to rectify the issue prior to arriving at the port. Also ensure that the Cargo and Conveyance eManifest submission has received acceptance status.
On arrival at the border, present a machine readable bar-code to the Border Services Officer. This bar-code links the cargo data transmission to the information CBSA has in their system. The preferred option is a bar-coded Conveyance Reference Number (CRN) but a bar-coded Cargo Control Number (CCN) can be provided or both a bar-coded CRN and CCN. The CBSA officer will stamp the sheet with the bar-code as “proof of report”.
“Proof of release” can be obtained by obtaining a stamp on the PARS documents from the Border Services Officer at the time the cargo is released at first port of arrival or through CBSA’s Release Notification System/RNS.
Are there additional steps you take to ensure efficient entry? Have questions or comments regarding the steps we have outlined? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.