As part of the implementation of its new eManifest initiative, Canada Border Services Agency is urging motor carriers to ensure they have their own unique identifier known as a carrier code.
CBSA's eManifest initiative will change the way carriers file data when bringing cargo into Canada. (Photo by Jim Park)
CBSA's eManifest initiative will change the way carriers file data when bringing cargo into Canada. (Photo by Jim Park)

Implementation of eManifest, a major project that will change the way commercial goods coming into Canada are processed, began on Oct. 31, but to prepare carriers and drivers currently using code 77YY, a transition period began on May 1. The agency plans to eliminate the generic itinerant highway carrier code, 77YY, as of March 31, 2011. CBSA is now assigning unique carrier codes that will become a legislated requirement for all carriers.

An official with CBSA told that there were 19,000 entries filed using the generic code last year. The agency is concerned that many carriers and single-truck independent owner-operators could still be using the code, even as the phase-out deadline draws nearer. Once the generic code is eliminated, carriers continuing to use it will be denied entry to Canada.

The first phase of the eManifest roll-out went into effect Nov. 1, with the implementation of the electronic data interchange (EDI) system. Highway carriers registered for eManifest can now transmit their pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA before arriving at the border.

This advance information will allow border services officers to detect potential health, safety and security risks before goods reach Canada. It will also allow low-risk, legitimate goods to cross the border more efficiently.

"eManifest is part of the overall measures the CBSA is putting in place to enhance the safety and security of Canadians and international trade while streamlining cross-border processes," said Cathy Munroe, vice-president, programs branch. "Moving goods quickly, reliably and securely across the border is critical to Canada's prosperity and economic competitiveness."

This first milestone is one of several more to come. In 2011, the CBSA will offer a secure eManifest Portal transmission option that will allow for the electronic transmission of highway carrier data through the Internet. Later in 2011, eManifest will be offered in the rail mode and then to freight forwarders. When fully implemented, eManifest will be a virtually paperless process that starts before shipments even reach the border.

For further information on the process for obtaining a carrier code, visit the Commercial Carriers.section of the CBSA Website.

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