As an ACI eManifest service provider, one thing has become abundantly clear to us in the past several months. Many carriers, and shippers too for that matter, struggle mightily when it comes to documentation for their loads.
While there are carriers out there running up and down the highway with not much more than scribble on a truck stop napkin, there are many whose paperwork processes are flawless. Though the ACI eManifest program does not demand any paperwork that was not previously required for cross-border transportation, it has certainly shone a light on many of the flaws and inadequacies in some carriers' paperwork processes.
The bulk of the burden for producing accurate paperwork falls to the shipper. However, it quickly becomes the carrier's problem if this paperwork is incomplete or inaccurate. Is there a more common reason for delays at the border than improperly prepared documents?
As it is the carrier that pays the price for these delays, in both lost time and possible monetary penalties, it is their right and responsibility to demand complete and accurate paperwork. Much to our surprise, many carriers do not even get a properly prepared bill of lading from the shipper. The bill of lading is quite obviously a key component in any transportation movement and is referred to repeatedly by Canada Border Services Agency when discussing paperwork requirements in relation to ACI eManifest. Bills of lading will also be a key part of any Customs audit and, if called upon to produce them, you want to be sure that they are accurate.
As most carriers are aware, CBSA extended the "voluntary compliance" period to "fall 2013". They also advised that they would give 45 days notice as to the implementation date for "Mandatory Compliance". As fall is already here, it is safe to assume that the announcement could come any day now. We strongly advise carriers to review and, where necessary, revise their paperwork processes. In order to assist carriers and shippers, CBSA has produced an updated document titled Information for U.S. Shippers "eManifest requirements for commercial shipments". Carriers and importers may want to review this document and forward it to shippers so that everyone is on the same page with respect to document requirements.
If you have any further questions regarding ACI eManifest, please contact our Border Pro eManifest Team at 855.542.6644 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also welcome your questions regarding ACI eManifest and its implementation in our comments section below.