International trade has evolved over the years as different businesses export and import cargo across the Canadian border. However, submitting and keeping track of pre-arrival freight information has never been easy for highway carriers, freight forwarders, warehouse operators and brokers ever since ACI eManifest became mandatory under Customs Law.
Previously, trade and logistics companies had to submit paper documents on cargo information to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to comply with legal and security requirements. However, this proved to be slow and disorganized with cases of missing documents and delays at the border as security review of the cargo happened at the arrival of the border as opposed to before the arrival of the truck as it does now with the ACI implementation. With the emergence of the eManifest Portal by CBSA, the transmission of pre-arrival cargo data has never been easier.
What is the eManifest Portal?
The eManifest Portal is an online platform developed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that allows highway carriers to electronically submit freight data to Customs officials before the arrival of the truck at the border for security assessment and approval purposes.
Essentially, eManifest is an option that allows for the advance, electronic submission of conveyance and pre-arrival cargo data. The eManifest Portal is the third phase of the Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) program that aims to improve customs clearance processes, hence the name ACI eManifest.
Notably, it is a legal requirement for all air, marine, highway and rail carriers to submit advance cargo information to Customs prior to the arrival of their shipment. The main objective of implementing this system is to monitor and assess the potential security risk of cargo crossing the border in order to protect the health and safety of Canadians. The eManifest system also seeks to improve and modernize cross-border operations by removing outdated clearance processes.
The eManifest Portal system was created primarily to help small enterprises and medium-sized businesses involved in cross-border trade to comply with customs requirements and ease the transition to electronic data transmission away from the burdensome paper reporting processes.
Amazingly, highway carriers can transmit their shipment info from anywhere and at any time so long as they have a stable internet connection and they can access a browser-compatible device such as a PC or laptop.
How does the eManifest Portal Work?
The eManifest Portal works in a very simple way. It comes with several features that allow users to transmit freight information to the CBSA in a fast, easy and secure way. Users may also confirm receipt of the transmitted data and receive notifications from Customs. Moreover, you may verify the status of the trade data regardless of whether it is transmitted via the portal or through Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
Importantly, registered users may receive system messages on vital data concerning their cross-border activities. In case of any problem using the platform, the portal offers reliable online help services and reference materials that you may utilize to navigate the system.
Opening an eManifest Portal Account
Notably, not everyone is eligible to use the eManifest Portal. The only eligible people allowed to sign up include highway carriers, air carriers, freight forwarders, customs brokers and warehouse operators. In addition, you must meet various technical and business requirements to open your eManifest account.
To operate your eManifest account effectively, your computer must meet the following technical requirements:
– Stable internet connection
– Supported web browser e.g. Firefox 34 or Internet Explorer 8 and above
– Enable Browser cookies
– Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption
The eManifest Portal offers users two types of accounts. These include a Business Account and the eManifest Portal User Account. As indicated by its name, the Business Account is specifically reserved for businesses entities such as highway carriers.
The eManifest Portal User Account is for the user on the system who would be entering eManifest details. Each person seeking to work using the portal must have an eManifest User Account. You will be required to provide basic information such as your name, e-mail and phone number.
For your highway carrier company to use the eManifest Portal, an authorized representative of your company must set up a Business Account. The representative is called the “Account Owner” and he will be issued with a Shared Secret and a Client Identifier once they open the Business Account.
What is the Client Identifier?
A client identifier is a unique number or code issued to trade chain partners for purposes of identification. For carriers and forwarders, the identifier is known as a carrier code while for warehouse operators it is called a sublocation code. Interestingly, brokers have a different type of client identifier called an account security number.
Importantly, all highway carriers must have a valid carrier code issued by the CBSA. This is because the generic itinerant carrier code 77YY that was previously used by highway carriers is no longer invalid.
What is a Shared Secret?
A shared secret is a special temporary access code issued by the CBSA to companies that want to open a business account in the eManifest Portal. The code essentially authenticates and validates a client when setting up an eManifest Portal Business Account. This access code must be used within 90 days after issue before it expires.
eManifest Portal Account Log In Credentials
All users require credentials in order to log in into the eManifest Portal accounts. A credential is some form of an electronic key (or password) used to log in into your account. In essence, a credential is an attestation of identity authentication that allows you to log in into your account.
The eManifest Portal uses two types of credentials, including GCKey, which is a government issued credential, or a Sign-In Partner, which is issued in collaboration with participating institutions such as banks. You may use either of the two types of credentials to log in into your Portal account.
To create your GCKey credential, you must visit the Government of Canada’s Website and navigate to the GCKey section. Here, you will be required to choose a user ID and create a password before your GCKey is generated.
On the other hand, the Sign-In Partner credential is issued by participating financial institutions. It includes a User ID and a password. With this in mind, you have to contact the participating bank or institution of your choice to acquire the login credentials.
Data Transmission Requirements
Even though the eManifest Portal is simple and easy to use, transmitting cargo information is somewhat difficult and time-consuming, especially for first-timers. You may download reference materials from the CBSA website to get a grip on how to transmit relevant data to the agency. Fortunately, the agency offers incisive online help and support services to all registered users, making it easier for account holders to submit relevant cargo and conveyance data.
All highway carriers are required to transmit pre-arrival cargo data within the time frames specified by the CBSA in the Reporting of Imported Goods Regulations. Interestingly, you may submit freight information up to 30 days in advance. However, in the case of highway shipments, you must make sure that the data is received and validated by customs at least one hour prior to the arrival of your shipment at the First Port of Arrival (FPOA).
The Highway Cargo Document must include the following information:
– A cargo control number (CCN), beginning with the carrier code and a – unique reference number
– The Port Code of the First Port of Arrival in Canada
– The Port Code of the Port of Destination or Exit
– A description of the goods
– Shipper and consignee information
Enlist a registered customs expert for eManifest Solution filing to uphold the highest level of customs compliance. By enlisting a registered customs expert experienced in how the system works, you can rest assured that all your freight data will be transmitted on time in compliance with all legal and security requirements.
Customs City Global Solutions Inc. is a registered and tested service provider with vast experience in providing eManifest solutions to local and international trade partners, highway carriers, airlines, freight forwarders, brokers and warehouse operators. In addition, we connect trade companies to customs agencies globally.
Our areas of expertise include:
– ACI Highway (Advanced Commercial Information)
– ACE Highway (Automated Commercial Environment)
– ICS (Import Control System)
– ACI eManifest Notices (D4 Notices)
– AFR (Advance Filing Rules)
– RNS (Release Notification System)
All our systems are cloud-based for enhanced performance and scalability. Furthermore, you may access our systems from anywhere on any device including PCs or mobile devices. We also offer real-time backups on all your crucial freight data so that you can always have access to it whenever you need it.