Archive for the ‘Importing Food Products’ Category


 

FDA Food Facility Registration Renewal Opens October 1, 2018

 

About the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) program:

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) improves the registration process by ensuring, among other things, that the FDA has accurate contact information for each facility. The new registration form also includes new categories of foods. These new categories will help FDA rapidly communicate with the right facilities in the event of an emergency.

Food producers and manufacturers have long been required to register with the Food and Drug Administration. Facilities can register online, via mail or fax. If your company is not domestic (not located within the U.S.) you will be required to assign a U.S. agent in your registration. See below for more information on assigning a U.S. agent.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued further information and guidance regarding registration requirements for domestic and foreign manufacturers, processors, packers or holders of food for human or animal consumption based on changes made by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act).

Biennial registration renewal for food facilities begins at 12:01 AM on October 1, 2018. The updated food facility registration system is accepting food facility registration renewals.

Who must register?

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA), all domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, pack or store food, food ingredients, pet foods or dietary supplements are required to renew their registration with the FDA before the end of 2018 and to re-register every two years thereafter. This represents a change from the previous registration requirement for food facilities. The re-registration form contains new food categories, and requires more detailed and updated contact information.

How to re-register a domestic company?

To submit a registration renewal to FDA, a food facility is required to submit required registration information to FDA, including the additional registration information.

If you are affected by the new regulations, you may re-register your food facility online.

How to re-register if not a domestic company?

Pacific Customs Brokers offers the following services:

  • Act as your U.S. Agent
  • Assist with FSMA re-registration
  • Answer your queries regarding FDA requirements

Contact Pacific Customs Brokers for assistance with food facility registrations or the FSMA. To stay current on this topic, you may also want to subscribe to Pacific Customs Brokers trade updates.

Do you have questions on the FDA food facility re-registration? Share them in our comments section below or email Ask Your Broker today.

The Issues and Solutions of Container Exams at the Port of Vancouver

Container Exams at the Port of Vancouver

Importers like you are frustrated with the lengthy delays and subsequent costs of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) container exams moving through Canadian Ports, especially in the Port of Vancouver. Let us take a closer look at the cause, reasons for extended delays, and the associated fees with the current CBSA Vancouver container exam program.

Why the Trade Community is Frustrated With Container Exams in Vancouver

According to the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) and the container examination cost survey they conducted, delays of up to four weeks were experienced in the Port of Vancouver compared to three to five days in the Port of Montreal.  Their blog post entitled “Container Examinations Out of Control” reported that their members have experienced the following with the current container exam process at the Port of Vancouver:

  • Six to seven week delays in receiving their goods
  • Thousands of dollars in unexpected costs for container exams, storage, detention, per diem and demurrage charges
  • Lost sales as a result of the delays
  • Lost goods in the case of perishables

CIFFA estimates that invoices for examination, demurrage, and storage of containers can range up to $4,000 per container. Those fees add up to millions of dollars, which are inevitably passed on to the consumer.

CIFFA argues that there is no incentive to improve inspection efficiency because container terminal operators charge daily per container storage fees of $150 or more, and shipping lines bill shippers and freight forwarders for demurrage.

Importers bear all the direct costs incurred for the exams. Importers are also responsible for all indirect costs resulting from exams such as damages or losses during the exam, lost sales, production and/or contract penalties due to delivery delays. Another cause of frustration is the unnecessary confusion an importer is faced with when the demurrage, detention, and per diem terms are often and incorrectly used interchangeably on invoices.

Tip: Always clarify in advance what shipping delay charges you face.

Why is the Container Exam Process Longer at the Port of Vancouver?

The two main factors in the delays are the location of the exam facility and the volume of containers at the Port of Vancouver.

It is important to understand CBSA and the transportation industry agreed the best option for examining marine cargo containers for contraband was to use a specialized central examination facility.  With this centralized facility, CBSA officers can conduct efficient examinations using high tech equipment in a secure environment.  The current inspection facility for the Ports of Vancouver is located in Burnaby, a fair distance away from the ports.

More than 80% of global merchandise is transported across oceans as marine cargo, and over 95% of marine cargo imported into Canada comes through five major marine ports:

  • Vancouver
  • Prince Rupert
  • Montreal
  • Saint John
  • Halifax

The three largest Canadian container ports are the Port of Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Montreal. Together, they handled five million, twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in 2016. Around 50% of this freight comes through the Vancouver and Prince Rupert ports. The Port of Vancouver consists of 4 container terminals with an annual capacity of just under three million TEUs per year. The volume clearly shows the one CEF/MCEF in Burnaby is busy.

Who is Responsible for the Container Exam Delays in Vancouver?

The delays experienced in Vancouver are further compounded by an already lengthy process. To gain an understanding of where issues lie we need to take a quick look at the stakeholders and their general responsibilities and possible contribution to the issue.

The Current Container Examination Process

Regardless of the Port, the container exam steps are the same as detailed below.

  1. The marine carrier reports to CBSA with information on the vessel, the crew and the routing via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) at least 96 hours prior to arrival.
  2. The marine carrier sends cargo data via EDI to CBSA 24 hours prior to loading the cargo onto the vessel at the foreign port.
  3. Using the marine carrier’s information, CBSA performs a risk assessment at the CBSA National Targeting Centre in Ottawa.
  4. At the first Port of Arrival (POA) the vessel arrives and the containers are discharged, put through a radiation portal, and then stacked at the Terminal storage.
  5. Containers that are targeted or selected by CBSA for examination are staged for dockside exam, Mobile Large Scale Imaging or for furtherance to Container Examination Facilities (CEF) or Marine Container Examination Facilities (MCEF) for an intrusive examination.
  6. The containers, which require de-stuffing, are transported to the CEF/MCEF for fumigant testing, possible ventilation, assignment to an examination bay and offloaded and reloaded following an examination.
  7. Containers are authorized to move by CBSA from the CEF/MCEF back to the Terminal and released for transport to the Importer/Consignee.

CBSA Roles and Responsibilities

CBSA targets 1.3% of all containers for examination as it views containerized cargo as a huge risk.  Physical exams are done with the assistance of the Canada Port Authorities. They are legislated to provide facilities for CBSA inspection. These facilities are known as Container Examination Facilities (CEF) and Marine Container Examination Facilities (MCEF).

CBSA has a number of methods to examine Containers:

Container Examination Facilities (CEF) and Marine Container Examination Facilities (MCEF): Containers are moved from the marine port to the CEF or MCEF where they are fully de-stuffed, the contents intrusively examined, followed by an examination of the container itself.  CBSA has a service standard for examination, which states that CBSA will strive to conduct a marine container examination within 24 hours of the arrival of the container at the CEF or MCEF. This service standard does not include weekends or holidays. Additional time is required for fumigant testing and ventilation procedures in addition to container reloading times and containers that are resultant for contraband.

Note on fumigation: The CBSA requires testing of all marine containers for fumigants before examination. Fumigants include methyl bromide, phosphine and benzene. Fumigant testing identifies chemical levels prior to the execution of an in-depth examination. Chemical levels found to be above acceptable levels require that the container be ventilated in order to reduce the elevated chemical levels to a safe level. The maximum time that may be required to ventilate is three days. Once the contents and container can be safely examined,  the container is de-stuffed, examined, and then reloaded and returned to the port.

Large Scale Imaging (LSI) Examinations: LSI examinations are non-intrusive, dockside x-ray examinations of containers, enabling the CBSA officer to see inside the container. Anomalies deep within a container, such as contraband, can be detected, depending on the commodities density. A LSI examination can also assist in determining whether an intrusive examination is needed, and is especially useful in selective examinations.

Pier Examinations: This dockside examination is partially intrusive and involves the CBSA officer opening the container doors to perform visual inspections and a limited physical examination of the cargo closest to the door. The inspection may result in referral for an intrusive examination conducted at the container examination facility.

The CBSA is responsible only for the costs associated with their services, such as the officers examining the container and the equipment and tools required for marine container examinations. They do not bill the importer for these costs.

Goods found violating Canadian legislation may be subject to enforcement action such as a monetary penalty or seizure.

CEF/MCEF Warehouse Operators Roles and Responsibilities

CBSA informs the Warehouse Operator of the containers requiring exam and works with CBSA on priorities. The Warehouse Operator coordinates with the Highway Carriers to move the containers from the Terminal to the CEF/MCEF. They then coordinate and are responsible for the offloading and reloading of containers for presentation of cargo for exam. The warehouse operator is responsible for all truck movements at the CEF/MCEF such as moves to and from the ventilation area and examination bays.

The CEF Warehouse Operator generates the fees for presenting the goods for exam, to cover the cost of transportation to and from the examination facility and the unloading and reloading of the container. They then bill these costs to the shipping lines that in turn pass the cost on to the importer.  

Marine Carriers Roles and Responsibilities

The marine carrier is responsible to present the cargo for examination when requested by CBSA.

If CBSA requests a full container exam the marine carrier is responsible to:

  • Ensure the container is picked up from the terminal and transported to the CEF/MCEF
  • Monitor the pick-up of the container and the subsequent return of the container to the terminal after examination
  • Field any calls from the importer regarding any delays on their shipment

They must obtain any terminal charges for a dockside/tailgate and LSI exam completed at the Terminal.  If the CBSA container hold is removed after an exam the carrier then invoices the importer for the costs incurred at the Terminal. Once the importer pays the costs to the marine carrier the container will be released to the importer.

Marine Terminal Operators Roles and Responsibilities

After the Terminal Operator receives EDI data regarding the vessel and the cargo from the marine carrier they will:

  • ‘Arrive’ the cargo electronically to CBSA when the vessel arrives
  • Discharges the cargo from the vessel to the shipyard
  • Arranges for on-dock and off-dock examinations as requested by the CBSA
  • Permits containers to depart the terminal when released by the marine carrier and CBSA

Importer Roles and Responsibilities

The Importer orders goods for import and then organizes logistics or depends on third party links in the supply chain to facilitate the movement and subsequent entry of the import into Canada.

Customs Brokers & Freight Forwarders Roles and Responsibilities

Customs Brokers and/or Freight Forwarders directly represent Importers in the coordination or facilitation of the exam processes with the Terminal Operators, the Marine Carriers, Drayage Carriers and CBSA.

The Customs Broker and/or Freight Forwarders may be involved in the logistics and may pay charges on behalf of the importer as their client.  The Customs Broker and/or Freight Forwarder is generally aware that a hold has been placed on an Importer’s shipment for examination by CBSA.  Although not a responsibility, the Customs Broker and/or Freight Forwarder generally fields calls from the Importer regarding the status of the delays in the release of the container.

Highway Carriers Roles and Responsibilities

The Terminal Operator informs the Highway Carrier which containers need to be examined by CBSA. The Highway Carrier then makes a reservation for pick-up of the container at the Terminal with the Terminal Operator.

Reservations sometimes have to be made about three days in advance. The Highway Carrier then has a one-hour window around their reservation time to pick up the container at the Terminal and transport it to the CEF/MCEF for CBSA examination.

Once the examination is complete, the Highway Carrier returns the container to the Terminal. The container is then released by CBSA and can now be delivered to the Importer/Consignee by the Highway Carrier or the Drayage Company once a reservation has been made to pick the container up from the Terminal.

Stakeholder Summary

As each stakeholder carries out their responsibility, it results in more opportunities for delays. These can quickly add up to become lengthy delays.

Many of the stakeholders state there needs to be improved transparency and efficiency in the inspection process by ALL parties. CIFFA urges CBSA to address both the pricing model and the regulatory framework of the shipping lines, terminal operators, and warehouse operators surrounding container examinations across the country.

CBSA’s Action to Improve Ocean Trade

The CBSA has made a commitment in their 2017/18 departmental plan “to work with industry partners and the Port Authority in Vancouver to advance the Marine Container Examination Facility (MCEF) project over the course of the year. The opening of a new MCEF will increase the Agency’s examination capacity and enhance the facilitation of legitimate trade.”

The CBSA held a one-day conference with all stakeholders in Vancouver in September of 2017. The conference identified a number of opportunities for improvement.  Some areas of improvement included the communication between all stakeholders regarding delays, service hours, and service standards including:

  • Shipping lines, Terminal Operators and Warehouse Operators must post standard fees associated with the movement and facilitation of freight through the marine process.
  • Terminal Operators need to improve the reservation system for pickup and return of CBSA examined or targeted containers. CBSA needs to provide proof of examination, LSI exam and ventilation timelines to stakeholders.
  • There needs to be a transparent dispute resolution between all stakeholders. Use of technology for real-time status and progress of the exam providing importers and their service providers’ insight to better plan and mitigate impacts of the exam to their business and supply chains.
  • Importers need the flexibility and the option to deliver direct from the exam site.
  • CBSA needs to identify opportunities to improve efficiencies and consistencies with their targeting and examination of container freight. A clear focus on the client is necessary which is transparent with defined and measurable service standards.

Steps To Improve The CBSA Marine Container Exam Program

CBSA argues that numerous factors complicate the issue, and terminal/warehouse operators are only one part. CBSA states it is working with the Port of Vancouver, terminal operators, and other industry stakeholders to improve the system’s efficiency.

This initiative includes the construction of a new federal government container examination facility (MCEF) on Tsawwassen First Nation land which is strategically adjacent to the Port of Vancouver’s Deltaport and the new Delta iPort container logistics center.

A New MCEF in Tsawwassen

A new MCEF in Tsawwassen (TCEF) will augment the severely constrained facility in Burnaby and will initiate the new CBSA marine container examination program focusing on technology (scans) and less on manual inspections. The TCEF will consist of a new warehouse complex, which will house CBSA container examination facilities, a fumigant ventilation area, a LSI fixed building site and operator transload area in the warehouse. The facility is currently under construction and should be operational as of May 2018.

The Operator of the TCEF will charge fees such as drayage, scans, ventilation and de-stuffing. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) will set the fees the TCEF Operator can charge but will consult with the Industry to ensure fees stay competitive.

CBSA and VFPA are considering options to release goods at the earliest opportunity for consignees so that delays are minimized. This would suggest that the container arrives at Deltaport and is selected by CBSA to be examined and/or LSI scanned. The container is moved from the adjacent Deltaport to the TCEF and scanned through the LSI facility. Then the container will be released or transported to the adjacent warehouse for examination, ventilation testing and then subsequently released directly from TCEF by CBSA to be delivered to the importer.

Outcome for Importers & Consumers

This post will help you gain a clearer understanding of the issues associated with the current CBSA Vancouver container examination operations. It is a complex problem, which will require all stakeholders to collaborate and take responsibility in improving their role in the process in order to provide consumers with goods that are not subject to a flawed and costly system.


If you have any questions on CBSA container exams, please leave them in the comments section below, and I would be happy to look into them for you.

 

 

 

Your Designation Maintenance Begins with our Professional Development Courses

Image: Seminar Room

 

A new year means a new start and this includes a reset to the maintenance requirements of your professional designations set forth by the credential’s governing body. Your Professional Development starts with Pacific Customs Brokers.

Taking any of our seminars and webinars may earn you maintenance points, credits, and hours towards a variety of professional designations. Some examples of eligible designations are:

  • Certified Customs Specialist (CCS)
  • Certified Trade Compliance Specialist (CTCS)
  • Certified Export Specialist (CES)
  • Designate with the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC)
  • Accounting Professional


Registration for Spring is now open!

Review and plan your professional development maintenance for the first half of 2018 by clicking on the course names below:

  CSCB NEI LSBC
Webinar CCS CTCS CCS CES  
CDN Importing for Beginners Part 1
CDN Importing for Beginners Part 2
US Importing for Beginners Part 1 1
US Importing for Beginners Part 2 1
FDA Regulated Goods 2 2 1
CFIA Regulated Goods 2 2
NAFTA for Beginners Part 1 1 1
NAFTA for Beginners Part 2 1
 
Seminar
Shipping Perishables – NEW! 3 3
CDN Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5
CDN Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3
Exporting from Canada 5 3 3
US Trade Compliance Part 1 5 5 3
US Trade Compliance Part 2 5 5 3 3
HS Tariff Classification 5 6 4
Free Trade Agreements 5 5 5
Customs Valuation 5 5
CFIA 5 5
FDA 5 5 3
C-TPAT 2.5 2.5 2 2

 

If you have never attended one of our Professional Development Courses, the following information might help you decide on attending the next one.

Professional Development Courses – Webinars

Our webinars are designed to meet the demands of the global trade community. These live sessions are a convenient way for trade professionals to stay ahead of new regulations with international trade and gain additional knowledge in key areas. Benefits of attending an online course include:

  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards
  • Global accessibility – Travel is removed from the equation for companies with multiple locations or branches
  • Convenience – Attend from the comfort of your desk or home
  • Concise training – In a fast-paced industry, efficiency becomes just as important as staying compliant
  • Industry accreditation – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations

Professional Development Courses – Seminars and Workshops

At our in-person courses you learn the best practices of being a compliant importer and/or exporter which will help you expedite your commercial shipments to and avoiding costly delay triggers. Our experts share their knowledge and stories on international and cross-border shipping regulations to keep you current with customs and partner government agency requirements.  Benefits of attending an in-person seminar or workshop include:

  • All day access – Get our experts to answer your questions one-on-one
  • Case studies and real-life examples – Examine other attendees’ trade compliance hurdles
  • Cost-effectiveness – More affordable than industry standards
  • Range of topics – Choose from a wide variety of topics
  • Certificate of Completion – Receive a certificate for each course you attend
  • Handouts – Take home your own set of course material
  • Industry accreditation – Earn points towards maintenance of your industry designations
  • Networking – Connect with other like-minded professionals

 

Have questions or comments about any of our courses? Call 888.538.1566 or email us today!

Perishables Shipping | 12 Questions Every Shipper Must Ask

Perishables Shipping | 12 Questions Every Shipper Must Ask

Seldom do shippers or product owners know or understand the terminologies or intricacies of perishables shipping to ensure safe, and seamless passage of their goods. Without industry expertise, critical shipment details may be overlooked resulting in product damage or contract loss. Here are tips and tools to be a successful perishables exporter.

When we are contacted to move perishables shipments, the conversation may include the commodity trade name and that it must be kept at a specific temperature. It is packed in boxes, on skids, and is delivering to a foreign city, ready for pickup tomorrow. We then ask them the following questions:

  • What are the Incoterms® (terms of sale)?
  • Is there a letter of credit (L/C) involved?
  • How many commodities (SKU) make up the shipment?
  • What are the weights and dimensions of each shipping piece?
  • Are any pallets used certified and does the product contain the required markings?
  • Have the pallets been shrink-wrapped and were corners used?
  • Are there temperature recorders on the freight?
  • *What export documentation has been prepared to accompany the shipment?
  • Will your company file the B13A export document for Statistics Canada?
  • ** Does your product require phytosanitary certificates and has the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) completed the
  • inspection?
  • What mode of transport is optimal: air, ocean, or highway?
  • Has this shipment been pre-quoted – what is the quote reference?

TIP: Be ready to share your knowledge of the shipment to ensure proper handling and transportation to destination.

This list of condensed questions will start a conversation about a perishables shipment. It is important to note that although the client is familiar with their products and may not understand the need for these questions, we are not and therefore are required to ask in order to meet your specific shipping requirements. This ever-changing field is a constant learning process for freight forwarders and carriers. The freight forwarder, the person in charge of the shipment, must have a clear understanding of the shipment to be able to react to any situation following pickup from origin door. This would include after hours and weekends when the shipper is not available.

TIP: Be proactive and start the discussion early.

From this list of questions the conversation continues until we have a complete picture of the shipment and knowledge of where, when and how it must move. From door to door any number of issues, security measures or documentation questions can arise that would cause a delay and/or negative result.

Conversely the carriers – truckers, steamship lines and airlines – have a similar list of questions when the freight forwarder is booking the shipment. If we are not able to provide a complete understanding of the shipment, those carriers may have doubts about a successful delivery, which could affect them supplying a booking confirmation and final freight rates as a matter of liability. All parties involved in a freight movement want to deliver the shipment in its best possible condition, on time and as quoted. Carriers are bound by the information contained in the bill of lading and/or in the booking confirmation. Therefore, all questions must be asked, answered and understood, and itemized on the export documentation and on-hand with the freight forwarder.

TIP: Exporters must be as detailed as possible when organizing their shipments. Be ready and prepared to share all information with your freight forwarder so they can ensure the documentation is correct and in order, as well as being your conduit to the carriers. If your freight forwarder does not ask all these questions or is not available 24/7, you will require a freight forwarder that better meets your needs.

Finally, do not hesitate to ask any and all questions of your freight forwarder. They may not have all the answers exactly when you ask them but they gain the knowledge and reply as promptly as possible, as to put your mind at ease that you are receiving the best possible service.

We hope you will drop in again as this series on perishables shipping continues. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the movement of perishable commodities, please do not hesitate to call us at 888.538.1566.

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.