Crossing the Border? What you need to know about ACE and ACI eManifests
Are you new to the trucking industry? Or looking to expand your company to include international deliveries? If so, this blog is for you. When crossing the Canada and U.S. border, it doesn’t matter whether you are heading south or north, an eManifest is required by both countries. Canada’s eManifest requirement is the ACI (Advanced Commercial Information), and the American counterpart is called ACE (Automated Commercial Environment).
Why ACE and ACI
The purpose of filing ACE and ACI electronic manifests is to speed up border crossings, while allowing each nation to protect their borders from illegal activities. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says that by implementing the ACE system, they have sped up truck processing times by 33%.
Canada and the ACI
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) requires you to submit an eManifest at least one hour prior to arrival through a licensed ACI portal. This data needs to be both received and validated prior to the shipment arriving at the border. Failure to submit an accurate eManifest will result in fines, and processing delays at the border.
The bar codes presented by the driver upon arrival at the border, must match the Cargo Control Number (CCN) submitted through the ACI portal. The most common errors stem from embedding the letters PARS (Pre-Arrival Review System) into the bar code, but then accidentally misquoting them back in the wrong order. Ex)1234PARS56789 in the ACI, but then the driver presents a bar code reading simply 123456789. The second error comes from misinterpreting the numbers 1 and 0 for the letters I and O.
If you drive a cargo of mixed CSA (Customs Self Assessment) approved goods, and non-CSA goods, you have the option to submit the data for the CSA goods along with the data for the unapproved goods.
An eManifest still needs to be filed before reaching the border even if you are driving an empty trailer.
We cannot stress how important it is to fill out your eManifest prior to arriving at the border. In Canada the first offence starts at a fine of $2000, and doubles every time after!
When submitting an ACI, this is the carrier’s opportunity to select if the shipment is In-Bond, or CSA. In-Bond shipments are not pre-cleared at the border. Instead a border officer will clear the shipment to be moved to a prespecified warehouse or an alternative CBSA office to clear through customs at that location. You will need to become a bonded carrier if you plan on moving goods in transit through Canada (US-Canada-US). In-bond shipments can only be done by bonded drivers. To become a bonded driver, visit the Government of Canada’s website here.
The United States and the ACE
Similar to Canada’s ACI, the ACE serves the same purpose when entering the United States. You must transmit your eManifest one hour before arrival at the border. The ACE has the ability to record and track account details regarding drivers, trucks, equipment, shippers, and consignees.
Please note that you are required to submit an eManifest to the ACE if you arrive empty, just like in Canada.
The ACE portal provides a space for the filer to specify if the shipment is In Bond. Once filing an eManifest for In Bond shipments, you must be report to CBP as having arrived within 30 days otherwise penalties may apply. The CBP will notify the carrier of failure to arrive in the appropriate time frame through the ACE portal.
Peter Suess Transportation Consultant and the ACE/ACI Portal
Peter Suess Transportation Consultant Inc offers a choice of either self service ACE/ACI portals for the do-it-yourself individuals, or a full-service option for those who prefer to leave the details to others.
ACE/ACI Self Service Portal for the DIY User
The portal gives the user 24 hour, 365-day access to filing eManifests. PSTC’s portal provides real time shipping tracking, text message alerts, and email messaging so you know what’s happening with your shipment at all times. It allows the user to generate eManifest cover sheets so that you have all your documents, entry numbers, and PARS in one location and available at the click of a button.
A huge benefit of the portal is it stores all your data indefinitely. This makes repetitive data entry like truck, trailer, driver, shipper, and consignee easier and faster, saving you time and energy. You can also easily check to see if a load was cleared, and go back to that data if problems occur later. Our portal connects you with both Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, saving you from using two separate portals for each agency. This makes it easier to use and manage as your data is all in one place, and is faster than government portals.
Full Service for the Busy Business Person
If you are the kind of person who doesn’t want the headache of wondering if your eManifests have been filled out correctly and on time, leave it in the hands of the professionals. PSTC is happy to do it for you. Providing year-round service, 24 hours a day, PSTC answers your emails and faxes to make sure that your eManifests are filled out correctly and in full, so you don’t experience delays at the border. We also forward shipping documents to your customs broker for clearance, saving your driver or employee the additional step of sending out documents again.
Maybe you have someone in house that provides this service, but do you have a back up plan for when they head out on 3 weeks vacation? Let PSTC be your back up plan. We can fill in while your regular employee relaxes on a well-deserved break, after hours, or even if they call in sick. Let’s face it, trucking doesn’t a sick day!