Importing goods requires a great deal of paperwork and compliance with customs regulations. Importers must ensure they have everything in order. They work with several entities, like customs brokers and freight forwarders, to clear shipments through customs.
ACI eManifest is an import requirement for goods coming into Canada, and all importers must comply with it. If you’re new to importing or unclear about how ACI eManifest works, this guide will answer all your questions.
What is ACI eManifest?
The Advance Commercial Information (ACI) eManifest system is a security program run by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). It’s an online portal importers can register with to help make bringing commercial goods into Canada easier. Importers and transportation companies input documents directly into the system, so CBSA can process goods through customs more easily.
What do importers use the ACI eManifest Portal for?
Importers, customs brokers, freight forwarders, and warehouse operators use eManifest for a variety of reasons, including:
- Transmitting data to the CBSA securely
- Receiving notifications from CBSA regarding shipments
- Verifying the status of trade data
- Accessing online help and other materials regarding importing
Who uses ACI eManifest?
Every entity involved in moving goods into Canada uses the eManifest Portal. Freight forwarders, transportation companies, customs brokers, importers, and customs officials all have access to it. Each user who has an account with eManifest must have a client identifier. For highway carriers and freight forwarders, this identifier is a carrier code. For warehouse operators, it’s a sublocation code. For brokers, it’s an account security number.
How does PARS work with eManifest?
A PARS (Pre-Arrival Review System) number helps carriers deliver their shipments directly to importers after crossing the border. It helps carriers, shippers, brokers, and customs officers identify shipments so that they can clear customs faster. A PARS number is one piece of information needed through the ACI eManifest Portal.
What is the ACE eManifest timeline?
Companies must file cargo data with eManifest within a certain timeframe if they want their goods to pass the Canadian border. The information must be submitted in advance; it cannot be submitted as the cargo crosses the border.
Different modes of transport have different timelines:
- Air carriers: The CBSA must receive and validate eManifest info 4 hours prior to air arrivals in Canada, or at the time of departure if the flight is less than 4 hours in duration.
- Marine carriers: The CBSA needs eManifest data 24-96 hours prior to the loading or arrival of goods in Canadian ports of entry. The exact time frame depends on the type of goods and how long the vessel’s journey takes.
- Rail carriers: The CBSA must receive eManifest data 2 hours before cargo arrives at the border by rail.
- Highway carriers: The CBSA needs to receive and validate conveyance and cargo data at least one hour prior to a truck arriving at the Canadian border.
What are ACI eManifest requirements for truck shipments?
On a given day, about 30,000 freight trucks pass between the Canada-US border, as highway carriers make up most of the import/export shipments between the two countries. If you own a trucking company or use trucks to move your goods into Canada, then you’ll have to abide by ACI eManifest requirements. These include:
- Port of arrival
- Date and time of arrival
- Special exemptions for any cargo, if applicable
- The vehicle identification number
- License plate information
- Driver’s passport number
- Driver’s Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card
- Commercial driver’s licence (CDL) number
- Line-item quantity and description of goods
- Shipper’s name and address
- Consignee’s name and address
How to register for ACI eManifest
Companies must register for ACI eManifest with the CBSA by filling out an ACI Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) application. Highway carriers will also need a highway carrier code.
Businesses also need the following info to register for eManifest:
- Their business type
- The legal business name and business status
- Name of the authorized agent if the company is using a customs broker
- Type of technology the business uses to communicate with the ACI server
You can register directly with CBSA using the ACI eManifest Portal for free. However, if you regularly import goods into Canada, you might consider using a service provider or software that will access the Portal for you.
Is ACI eManifest required for importers?
Yes, any carriers crossing the Canadian border must participate in the ACI eManifest program. Failing to comply can lead to Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties.
What happens if you don’t comply with ACI eManifest?
Transportation companies that don’t participate in the ACI eManifest program can face AMPS penalties. Not submitting freight documents to the ACI eManifest system can lead to an $8,000 (CAD) fine. Not submitting documentation on time could result in a $750 (CAD) fine, and CBSA can charge up to $1,500 (CAD) for corrections to submitted documents on the eManifest Portal.
What’s the difference between ACI and ACE Manifest?
ACE eManifest is the US version of Canada’s ACI eManifest system. Both function similarly and both are required for importing goods from outside the country. Customs brokers and importers who move goods across the Canada-US border often are familiar with how to use both systems and the subtle differences between the two. An experienced customs broker can help you differentiate between ACI and ACE and ensure you have the proper documentation for each country.
Complying with ACI eManifest
The ACI eManifest system is a crucial part of importing goods into Canada. Failing to submit documentation or submitting it incorrectly can lead to steep penalties for your business. A certified customs broker can help you with your documentation. BorderBuddy can ensure you’re compliant with all CBSA customs regulations as you move goods across the border. Contact us with your questions about importing your goods into Canada or the US.