By R.Bruce Striegler
In April 2012, one of North America’s largest customs brokerages headquartered in Toronto, Livingston International, conducted a survey of small and medium businesses in the U.S. import / export sector to determine their level of confidence in the future. What the survey found was that nearly 90 per cent expect their company to grow over the next several years yet 80 per cent of the surveyed companies expressed concerns that Customs delays will have a negative impact on their ability to manage their business. Thirty per cent say they tend to ignore government regulations and hope for the best when transporting goods across international borders.
While the majority of those in the survey are active in global markets, only 48 per cent said they feel extremely or very comfortable targeting new international markets and 14 per cent expressed outright discomfort likely due to the ever-changing customs rules and regulations and their limited expertise in this quickly-changing area.
As the Canadian and United States governments move forward with their plans to strengthen cargo security at the border, shippers must move to improve their abilities to handle the new regimes. One example of changing procedures includes the October launch of the Prince Rupert Pilot Project, which is part of the integrated Cargo Security Strategy included in the Beyond the Border Action Plan. This project focuses on harmonized screening of maritime cargo arriving at Port of Prince Rupert and its subsequent movement by rail to the United States, crossing at International Falls, Minnesota.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) began implementation of eManifest for land-based cargo shipments in 2010, and the program is moving forward to full implementation. In November 2012, CBSA announced it was imposing an informed compliance period for highway carriers which will be in effect until May 2013, when eManifest-enabling legislation and regulations are expected to be in place. During this six-month informed compliance period, carriers will not be denied entry to Canada or subject to penalties for reasons associated with eManifest non-compliance, but will be informed of the requirement to transmit advance highway and cargo and conveyance data.
Contact the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA)
Highway carriers can now transmit electronic pre-arrival data to CBSA. The Agency strongly encourages clients to adopt eManifest requirements before they become mandatory.
• For those not familiar with the eManifest program, visit the Frequently Asked Questions section of the CBSA website: www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/manif/faq-eng.html.
• Early adopters benefit from more time to adjust to eManifest processes and correct problems.
• Clients will benefit from the comprehensive online resources and client support at CBSA’s eManifest website: www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/manif/menu-eng.html, which will reduce the likelihood of non-compliance penalties when the requirements become mandatory in May 2013.
• Carriers must ensure that they have a valid CBSA-issued carrier code and that CBSA has current contact information.
• Carriers will need to choose a transmission option for pre-arrival reporting, either the Internet-based eManifest portal or Electronic Data Interchange.
Resources available include the following:
• eManifest Portal Demonstration: Setting up your Portal Account(s) (available in pre-recorded Webinar format) This presentation demonstrates how to access the eManifest Portal, create User and Business Accounts and assign User Roles.
• eManifest Portal Demonstration: Working in the Portal (available in pre-recorded Webinar format) This presentation demonstrates the various features of the Portal including how to add Account Users, assign User Roles, create and submit Trade Documents, and provides client support information.
• Clients with eManifest policy- and operations-related questions can speak directly to a Border Services Information agent during regular business hours, Monday to Friday (from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time, except holidays). Calls within Canada: 1-800-461-9999, Calls outside Canada: 1-204-983-3500 or 1-506-636-5064. Callers will be asked to choose one of four options: personal or traveller; business importation/exportation; currency exchange rates; coming to Canada.
eManifest Help Desk
• Clients can also e-mail the eManifest Help Desk to ask eManifest-related questions about policy, operations and eManifest Portal Shared Secret applications. To contact the eManifest Help Desk, e-mail eManifestfirstname.lastname@example.org
eManifest Technical Support Unit (TSU)
• Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and eManifest Portal technical support is available to highway carriers by telephone and e-mail. Contact the eManifest TSU by phone: 1-888-957-7224 (Press 2 for calls within Canada and the U.S., toll-free available 24/7) and by email: TSU.UST@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca (non-urgent correspondence only, email monitored during regular business hours Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm Eastern Time excluding statutory holidays)
CBSA advises that due to the unprotected nature of the Internet, only general enquiries can be answered through this service, other enquiries are best addressed in person, by telephone or by mail. Contact@cbsa.gc.ca