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eManifest (ACI) requirements for commercial shipments

Last year, Canada Border Security Agency’s (CBSA) Transporter and Cargo Control Programs Unit issued a reminder on the reporting requirements of cargo descriptions when using the Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) and eManifest initiatives.

Clear, plain language cargo descriptions that offer CBSA enough detail to understand what your items are, will support their risk assessment efforts. It helps them identify low-risk shipments and facilitate the free flow of goods.

Required information for eManifestsContainer_Canada_131462157_s

Under ACI and eManifest initiatives, carriers need to provide electronic cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA in advance of their arrival at the Canadian border.

Shippers are encouraged to assist carriers by providing all Customs commercial invoice information about their shipments bound for Canada. This information includes:

  • Shipper’s name and address

  • Consignee name and address

  • Delivery name and address (if different from the consignee)

  • Cargo description, packaging type, and quantity

  • Gross weight of the shipment

  • Customs self-assessment (CSA) information (if applicable)

What is an acceptable cargo description?

A detailed cargo description is one that clearly and concisely describes the item—it requires enough detail to allow the CBSA to identify the size, shape and characteristics of the cargo.

For example, “Ladies’ apparel” is not acceptable as a cargo description, but “Women’s dresses” is. “Appliances” is unacceptable, but “Refrigerator” is.

CBSA has created an accessible chart and guide to acceptable cargo descriptions. Read more here

Consolidated shipments

For consolidated shipments where house bills and/or a supplementary cargo report are expected, these descriptions may be allowed on the consolidated cargo document:

  • Freight of all kinds (FAK)

  • Shipper load and count (SLC)

  • Consolidated

  • General merchandise, or

  • Other general or vague descriptions.

A detailed description, however, must be included on the electronic house bill or supplementary document.

What happens if your cargo description isn’t acceptable?

An unclear or under-detailed description, along with noncompliance of any of the other requirements, may result in delays, more examinations of your shipments into Canada, and potentially, penalties under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).

With more than half a century of freight forwarding to Canada, our Freight team is ready to assist you with all your eManifest requirements to keep your goods moving smoothly. Contact our Freight Department today!

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