CBSA System Update to Improve ACI eManifest Functionality, But Comes With Challenges

 

Canada Border Services Agency will be introducing system enhancements to allow CBSA to modernize commercial border processes and allow for a more streamlined and predictable customs clearance process.

Previously, CBSA assessed documentation as separate components and these enhancements will enable CBSA to risk assess as a single unit when making determinations for admissibility to Canada for goods and people.

The update will also mean that service providers and carriers with direct connections with CBSA will also have to make the necessary upgrades or risk not being able to communicate with CBSA. The new functionality will be available in July 2014 and carriers and service providers will then have one full year to transition from current systems to the new systems. The impact to each carrier is entirely dependent on where they are in the process of communicating with CBSA today.  Carriers’ systems are unique and different, volumes vary and amount of data and purpose of data is also different. 

While there will be widespread impact, it is unclear to what extent this will effect each carrier’s operations. 

There are two major changes that will take place.  First, CBSA’s RNS messages will no longer exist as they do today.  RNS messages are being replaced by new messages known as “Completeness Notices” which are pre-arrival notices. “Disposition Notices” will also be introduced. These are post arrival notices.  The new “ACI Notices” aim to provide carriers and supply chain partners with greater visibility into the status of a shipment throughout the process of transportation and importation into and through Canada up to, and including, release. RNS is scheduled to end in July 2014 and will be replaced with these new “ACI Notices”. 

The second major change is the EDI map to the ACI 309 cargo transmission.  Existing EDIFACT maps were built by CBSA not in accordance with World Customs Organization (WCO) standards and this change will rectify that bringing the CBSA EDIFACT maps in line with WCO standards.  This will facilitate global trade and communication with Canada.  ANSI maps will also be impacted. 

As a result, carriers, service providers and other stakeholders that use EDI to communicate to CBSA will have to make changes to their systems.  These changes do not impact highway carriers that exclusively use the ACI Portal or a service provider for eManifest, but those carriers should be aware of the new “ACI Notices”.

In an effort to begin raising awareness of the impending change, CBSA has reached out to CTA to develop a small working group of carriers representing a cross section of industry to not only help understand the changes and the impact but also to look for ways in which the impact can be mitigated. 

The working group of CTA member carriers will assist CTA in articulating the impending changes to the membership at large and raising awareness of impact to carriers with similar processes and systems in place.

CTA will be hosting a free webinar to carrier members in coming weeks to provide greater detail on what is being changed and when, how it will impact carrier business, the benefits associated with the increased visibility to shipments, and what carriers can be doing now to prepare.