Buckle up, because the Canada Border Services Agency is changing its commercial border processes. The changes are meant to make customs clearance more efficient, but they will also require carriers to make some changes in the ways they communicate with CBSA, according to website of Today’s Trucking magazine.

Photo by Jim Park

Photo by Jim Park

Two major changes are on the horizon that will help CBSA assess for risk as a single unit. Before, when CBSA considered giving good and people access into Canada, it looked at documentation as separate parts.

Changes come into effect July 2014:

  • CBSA’s Release Notification System (RNS) messages are being replaced by new messages known as “Completeness Notices,” which are pre-arrival notices. “Disposition Notices,” which are post-arrival notices, will also be introduced. The new “Advance Commercial Information (ACI) Notices” aim to give carriers greater visibility into the status of a shipment throughout the process of transportation and importation into and through Canada up to, and including, release.
  • Existing EDIFACT maps were built by CBSA not in accordance with World Customs Organization (WCO) standards. Because of this, CBSA is making changes to Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) map s that EDIFACT maps can be brought in line with WCO standards. ANSI maps will also be impacted.

So here’s a quick run-down of how things run at the border. Advance Commercial Information, also known as eManifest is submitted to CBSA through Electronic Data Interchange for highway cargo and conveyance submissions so that CBSA officers can identify health, safety and security threats related to commercial goods before the goods arrive in Canada. The eManifest message maps (cargo, conveyance) are in ANSI and EDIFACT standards.

So when the upgrade comes into effect July 2014, carriers that use EDI to communicate with CBSA will have to make changes to their system or risk losing communication. But, carriers will have one full year to transition from current systems to the new systems.

These changes do not impact highway carriers that exclusively use the ACI Portal or a service provider for eManifest.

The impact to each carrier depends on where they are in the process of communicating with CBSA today. While there will be widespread impact, it is unclear to what extent this will effect each carrier’s operations.

CBSA has reached out to the Canadian Trucking Alliance to put together a group of carriers to help understand the changes’ impact so they can try to minimize impact.

CTA also said in a press release that they will host a free webinar for carrier members to give details on what’s being changed and when and the impact on business as well as the benefits from increased visibility to shipments, and what carriers can be doing now to prepare.