The Canadian Trucking Alliance has informed Canada Customs and Border Agency that member carriers are still experiencing difficulties and delays with the ACI eManifest program since the beginning of the informed compliance period, which took effect on Nov. 1.

EManifest is the third phase of the Advance Commercial Information program, an electronic data and information management program which has been under development since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on U.S. The goal of the program is to strengthen border security while reducing wait times for trucks hauling low-risk cargo. It affects carriers on both sides of the border.

With the implementation of eManifest, the CBSA must receive and validate highway carriers' electronic cargo and conveyance data a minimum of one hour before shipments arrive at the border.

In a letter to the Canada Border Services Agency directorship, CTA Senior VP Stephen Laskowski characterized the problems as above and beyond what could reasonably be attributed to learning curve issues, which are adding costs to carriers.

"It is clear from feedback and complaints from CTA members that there is a significant lack of consistency among border service officers in the level of knowledge and application of ACI policies," wrote Laskowski, who added CTA receives reports daily from carriers across Canada who say they have been held up for hours and in cases, days, due to confusion over ACI policies at the port level.

In addition, carriers report that some border service officers are telling truck drivers that ACI isn't being implemented until May 2013. "I'm sure you can appreciate the damage and confusion this this sort of messaging does to industry support of the initiative," says Laskowski.

Deanna Pagnan, CTA director of Policy & Government Relations, notes that carriers have made significant technological and training investments to accommodate ACI.

"The experiences of many carriers is causing them to question the value of those investments and of the ACI initiative as a whole," Pagnan says. "If these problems experienced at the port level are not corrected in a very timely manner, CBSA will lose the support of carriers and many may revert back to paper processes until May 2013 to save time, money and operational headaches."

CTA says it is prepared to continue working with CBSA to facilitate smooth ACI implementation and to overcome these ongoing challenges with ACI.

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10/18/2012 Canada Rolls Out eManifest