Archive for the ‘Highway Carrier’ Category


What Is A Bill Of Lading And What Is Its Purpose?

Bill Of Lading

What Is A Bill Of Lading And What Is Its Purpose?

A bill of lading is a receipt provided by the carrier to the consignee. The receipt contains a detailed list of all of the shipments goods.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will need to know exactly what is on your truck. To help make sure all of your goods are accounted for and declared, you must supply a bill of lading or pick up receipt when faxing your Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) entry to your customs broker.

Why A Bill Of Lading Is Used

1. The main purpose of the standard straight bill of lading is it is a contract of carriage.

Other Bill Of Lading Purposes Include:

2. It may incorporate the full terms of the contract between the consignor and the carrier by reference.
3. It is a receipt signed by the carrier confirming whether goods matching the contract description have been received in good condition.
4. When completed in full, it helps the customs broker match up commercial clearance paperwork to ensure a complete declaration for all of the goods aboard the truck.

The carrier or the shipper can complete it, but the driver of the transport company is to sign and date the bill of lading once the goods are onboard their truck.

Why A Bill Of Lading Is Important

For Customs purposes the most important details on the bill of lading are:

  1. Piece count (total skids, boxes, pallets)
  2. Weight (total weight of the goods listed)
  3. Description of the goods
  4. Date (the date of pick up/export is used to establish the date for exchange rate)

If there is only one (1) location you have picked up goods from, then only one (1) bill of lading or pick up receipt is required. If you are picking up from multiple locations, then you need to have a bill of lading or pick up receipt for each location you have picked up from.

Commercial Documents

When picking up freight from the shipper, they may give commercial documents to you. If they do, please send your commercial documents to the customs broker with the bill of lading or pick up receipt. It is important that you send the customs broker all the documents you have. It helps ensure that all required documents are in place to declare those goods to Customs.

If the shipper does not supply you with commercial documents, please let the customs broker know as soon as you know, so they can work on getting the documents in order.

Other Documents

Often, a commercial invoice and bill of lading are sufficient for the customs broker and CBSA to process your load. There are many instances where special documentation will be required. Some examples of goods that need additional documents are:

  • CFIA regulated goods (fresh fruits & vegetables, fresh cut flowers)
  • Transport Canada regulated goods (vehicles) – which require another government agency (in addition to CBSA) to review the import

When faxing your PARS to the customs broker, simply affix your barcode label to the bill of lading. Make sure you are not covering up any important information. Be sure to clearly indicate which port you are crossing at and on what date and time. Please also include your phone number so that you can be contacted in the case there are any documentation issues.

Remember to ALWAYS confirm that your load has been set up before you get to the border.

Be accountable for the goods you are transporting and your cross border experience. Providing all the appropriate paperwork to your customs broker will truly ease your journey. If you need assistance with your bill of lading or any other customs brokerage or freight forward services, feel free to contact the experts at Pacific Customs Brokers for all of your international trade needs. 

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CBSA Will Use a New Cargo Inspection System to Pre-screen Northbound US Cargo

Cargo Inspection System - Pacific Crossing 2017


CBSA will open the first land border

Gamma Ray Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System to improve processing of US Cargo

at Pacific Highway sometime in the summer of 2017.

Contributed by Jan Brock,

Senior Trade Advisor
Former Chief of Commercial Operations Pacific Highway crossing

Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced in its Report on Plans and Priorities that it intended to invest in detection tools to assist the Border Services Officers with detecting high risk cargo.

Examinations may be performed with the use of specialized tools e.g. gamma ray imaging vehicle and cargo inspection system, ion scanners and detection dogs and may include a full or a partial offload of the goods to detect the presence of prohibited or restricted goods.” CBSA


Gamma ray imaging is a non-intrusive tool that cargo inspection services can use quickly and effectively to verify the presence of legitimate goods and to investigate suspicious and unknown materials. This technology assists with reducing border wait times and costs associated with cargo inspections.  

The Gamma Ray Imaging Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System being built at Pacific Highway is a stationary fixed location system contained within a building.

This technology performs the best for  detecting the presence of high density items  such as  steel or low density like narcotics.  It is capable of scanning an entire  semi truck and trailer ,intermodal shipping containers and automobiles for contraband.

This Cargo Inspection system  is a fast screening tool that will aid in facilitation of  cargo inspection at land borders. Large sized targets can be examined without unnecessarily opening or disturbing the contents of the load or incurring the cost of unloading or de stuffing the container.  

An offload will incur a cost to the importer, carrier and to CBSA cargo inspection services as it is very labour intensive.

The gamma ray image this system presents to the Border Services Officer (BSO) after the scan of the cargo and/or vehicle has been completed will assist in the officer’s decision on whether a more intrusive examination is warranted and the load may be redirected back to the warehouse for offload or destuffing by CBSA or the CBSA Contracted Cargo Inspection Service.

The efficiency, reduction in cargo inspection services and avoidance of costs associated with such action will make this new Cargo Inspection System a welcome addition to the Pacific Highway Port of Entry  and to Canadian Freight!

Have more questions on cargo inspection systems or cargo inspections services? Contact us and we are happy to assist.

For more detail please refer to the linked resource below :

Link: CBSA Report on Plans and Priorities

Want to learn more about the fundamentals of cross-border shipping? Attend a Customs Compliance Seminar hosted by Pacific Customs Brokers and learn from the experts.

Have questions or comments regarding importing to Canada? Leave them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.

Update C-TPAT Benefits Increase

Update C-TPAT Benefits Increase

Since shortly after September 11, 2001, amazingly over sixteen years ago, we have all heard the buzz about the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT).

To date, over 11,400 carriers, importers, customs brokers and other supply chain partners have become voluntary participants in this initiative to combat terrorism in the ever-expanding evolution of international trade. You may wonder “Only 11,400 members?” However, consider that approximately 52% of cargo (by value) entering the United States is C-TPAT approved.

Since our last update on this initiative wherein we stated that as this program evolves, more benefits would be seen by members, it is great to see more benefits come emerge. C-TPAT has become a much more dynamic program.

As the sophistication of security has increased, according the US Customs Website, the benefits of membership have also. 

Benefits of C-TPAT participation include:

  • Reduced number of CBP examinations
  • Front of the line inspections
  • Possible exemption from Stratified Exams
  • Shorter wait times at the border
  • Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company
  • Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders
  • Access to the C-TPAT web-based Portal system and a library of training materials
  • Possibility of enjoying additional benefits by being recognized as a trusted trade Partner by foreign Customs administrations that have signed Mutual Recognition with the United States
  • Eligibility for other U.S. Government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Secure Supply Chain program
  • Business resumption priority following a natural disaster or terrorist attack
  • Importer eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA)
  • Priority consideration at CBP’s industry-focused Centers of Excellence and Expertise

Are you interested in learning what this initiative is all about, but have been deterred from moving forward based on how difficult it is to obtain certification, the tremendous resources it will take, and how the costs appear to outweigh the benefits? There may still be some truth to this these perceived obstacles, but most anything worth obtaining comes with a price and required effort.

So we ask ourselves, is C-TPAT certification worth pursuing? As C-TPAT continues to evolve it becomes richer and more rewarding for members. The challenges that come along with developing your procedures and policies will be quite unique to your company, as will the benefits of participation.

Benefits translate into valuable practical considerations including:

  • Cost savings – A full Customs exam can cost upwards of $500-$1000 per container. This excludes the loss of time for both carriers and consignees and could be paramount to a shipment of perishable goods.
  • Less inspections – The more parties involved in a transaction who are C-TPAT members the lower the likelihood of a cargo inspection.
  • Penalty mitigation – C-TPAT membership is considered a mitigating factor in the case of potential penalty matters.
  • Increased compliance – Ongoing familiarity with the program decreases the necessary time spent and resources involved in assuring compliance.

As the program continues to evolve, we will continue to see that the benefits outweigh the costs or perceived obstacles and disadvantages of becoming a trusted trader. While there are no commitments from Customs, the trade community has requested that Customs consider a number of new benefits for the “next generation” of C-TPAT.

Next generation benefits of C-TPAT could include:

  • Basing cargo release on 10+2 data and permitting monthly entry of cargo aligned with the periodic monthly statements
  • Expedited responses to ruling requests
  • Enhanced penalty mitigation
  • Prior disclosure benefits
  • Further lowering of the number of inspections
  • Tax incentives for supply chain security and safety enhancements
  • Mutual recognition with other countries’ approved security programs

What is involved in becoming C-TPAT certified?

  • Complete and submit the Agreement to Voluntarily Participate in C-TPAT
  • Complete and submit the Supply Chain Security Profile Questionnaire – be aware that it is possible that Customs will request or require changes and upgrades to your current processes
  • Assure that your stated procedures are followed through on, and updated as necessary

Some of the absolute must-haves or must-dos for becoming C-TPAT certified, and effective participant in the program include:

  • Having the full commitment and support from high-level company management
  • Integrating C-TPAT participation into your overall supply chain security program
  • Assigning dedicated staff to manage the certification on a continuing basis

Attend an upcoming C-TPAT Seminar:

To benefit from overall cost savings, expedited border crossings and fewer cargo inspections, it may be of interest to attend our in-class seminar on becoming a Trusted Trader. Owners, Managers and Signing Officers of companies seeking eligibility information and how to get started on the application process are recommended to take part in this two-hour course.

Feedback from a recent attendee:

“I have a better understanding on what it takes to become C-TPAT or PIP certified.” – Zori Kitanova, Global Logistics Supervisor, Whitewater West Industries

You can register to attend our C-TPAT Seminar Here:


This blog is a brief summation of the C-TPAT certification program. For more detailed information, please : CLICK HERE

Immediate – Declaration Accepted Notices – Timing Changes!

Immediate Update for those who submit EDI Transactions! 02-28-2017

Immediate Update

Declaration Accepted Notices  – Timing Changes!

Currently, as your customs broker we are able to see an accepted message when our entry has been reviewed and accepted by CBSA, regardless of the ACI emanifest status.

Effective March 4-5 2017,  the Declaration Accepted Notice may not be sent out until both the Release Request and the ACI eManifest is on file.

Please see the following message from Canada Border Services Agency:

With the next release of eManifest functionality expected to be available March 4-5, 2017, the timing of the Release Notification System (RNS) class of Notices (RNS, ANS, SNS, QNS) will change. These timing changes have been made to align the Legacy Notices with the eManifest Notices .

Two notable changes are:

  1.     Previously, an RNS Declaration Accepted (“Dec Accept”) Notice was sent to clients when a Release Request had been accepted and a decision had been made. This decision would be made on the Release Request and independently of other associated documents.
  1. The new eManifest design model and the supporting legislation now requires that Advance Commercial Information(ACI) cargo be submitted prior to arrival under most circumstances.
  2. Under the new eManifest design model, decisions may not be made on Release Requests until related ACI cargo is accepted in CBSA systems.

This means that the Dec Accept Notice may not be sent out until both the Release Request and the ACI cargo are on file.

Due to this change, the Dec Accept Notice may no longer be sent out when only Release Requests are on file (such as with re-manifests).

  1.     Previously, for shipments that had been referred for examination (REFER SEC) prior to arrival,  the Warehouse Operators that subscribed to RNS notices would be notified of the Request For Examination through an RNS Refer To Secondary Notice, while other trade chain partners involved in the shipment would have received an RNS Declaration Accepted notice informing them that a decision has been made on the release request. Under the new D5A design model for RNS Notices in eManifest, the Warehouse Operators will no longer receive the Refer to Secondary until the cargo has been arrived at its destination.

Due to this change, Warehouse Operators that have subscribed to the transporting Carrier’s RNS profile will now receive the RNS Dec Accept when a decision has been made on the release request and the cargo is on file prior to arrival.

Pacific Customs Brokers can process all of your import transaction needs:

In addition to the e-Manifest Filing Service, we can process the U.S. Customs entry documents by setting up the clearance of your goods into the commerce of the United States while simultaneously filing your e-Manifest.

Allowing Pacific Customs Brokers to be your sole service provider ensures that all CBP regulations are compliant and accurate thus lowering the risk of delays at the border.

Service Options

Full e-Manifest ProcessingPacific Customs Brokers will file the e-Manifest on your behalf.e-Manifest Self-FilingOnce set up, a login and password will be provided in order for you to file your e-Manifest.

Pacific Customs Brokers will include 24/7 operational support with either of the service options listed above.

For further information on e-Manifest, please contact our Client Services Team via email [email protected] or call toll-free at 877.332.8534.

Want a quote on filing from our experts – fill in the free no obligation quote form below:

Malcolm McLean – A Salute to the Brilliance of Carriers 02-2017

Malcolm McLean – 1914-2001

Salute to Carriers - Malcolm McLean

Who was Malcolm McLean?

Why is he perhaps the most important person in the history of carrier shipping?

With much respect and admiration for his ingenuity, we salute Malcolm McLean.

In our industry, as in life, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.

The History of the Man:

While his name is relatively unknown today, this North Carolina trucker invented container shipping, a method now indispensable to the modern world of global trade. As amazing as that fact is, so is the personal story of Malcolm McLean.

Malcom McLean was born into a North Carolina farming family in 1914.

His father was a farmer who also worked as a mail carrier to supplement the family’s income. Struggling to assist his family during the Great Depression, a young Malcolm started pumping gas at a service station near his hometown of Maxton, and managed to save enough money by 1934 to buy a second-hand truck for $120.


Malcolm McLean’s very first truck!

Malcolm McLean and his First Truck


With that initial purchase, he was able to start a small trucking company to transport farmers’ goods and supplies.

McLean soon began hauling dirt, produce, and other odds and ends for the farming community in Maxton where reliable transportation was hardly commonplace.

Little did he know at the time that this purchase was the catalyst to set McLean on his lifelong career in the transportation industry.

Malcolm McLean the Fleet

Over the next six years, Malcolm’s resourcefulness enabled him to expand to thirty trucks by 1940. By the mid-1950s Malcolm’s company, McLean Trucking, amassed over 1700 trucks and he sold his company for $12 million dollars, a terrific sum in 1950s currency!

Keep in mind that this all happened during an economically bleak time – surrounding the Great Depression.

Why he is perhaps the most important person in the history of carrier shipping:


Malcolm McLean was not what we would refer to as a patient man. He was born into a world and time that demanded a certain sense of urgency. The phrase, “Time means money” is always top of mind for an entrepreneur, and most carriers of his day were – many continue to be today.


Waiting at the dock for between eight and twenty hours to have his truck loaded or unloaded drove McLean crazy! He was not the type of man to stand still, his every minute was spent towards a result that generated money for his business, his family and his future.

Only perhaps Jack Sparrow would hopefully relate to the extreme waits that took place for carriers when their delivery needed to go through the loading and unloading process at ports during that time given today’s efficiencies we enjoy.


His years in the transportation business showed McLean the need for an easier method of shipping goods. He had watched dock workers unloading goods from trucks and transferring them to ships, and marveled at the inefficiency of the process. “Wouldn’t it be great,” he asked himself, “if my trailer could simply be lifted up and placed on the ship?”

Knowing nothing about ships did not stop him from taking action!

In 1955, he gambled big on a container venture, buying two oil tankers and securing a bank loan to buy $42 million worth of docking, shipbuilding, and repair facilities. He refitted the ships and designed trailers to stack below or on the decks. One year later – he launched the solution to the problem he had little patience for and in April 1956, his first container ship, the Ideal X, departed Port Newark, New Jersey, headed for Houston loaded with stacked containers for the first time ever!

Thank you Malcolm McLeanTo you and to our carrier audience we offer a salute to the brilliance of Carriers!

Malcolm McLean 1957


Born 1914, Maxton, NC –   Died 2001, New York, NY


As McLean’s first container ship left Newark harbor, a man asked Freddy Fields, a top official of the International Longshoremen’s Association, “What do you think of that new ship?” Fields replied, “I’d like to sink that s_________h.” Longshoremen strikes ensued, but the cost of shipping dropped by a factor of a hundred. ~



Our in-house seminar series on U.S. Trade Compliance and Canadian Trade Compliance are another great way to understand the movement, compliance and regulations around goods imported into both countries.

Have questions or comments regarding the hidden areas of risk and how to mitigate them? Share your thoughts with us. Leave them in the comments section below or email Ask Your Broker.