Using eManifest to Move Your Fleet Through Canadian Customs

eManifest Will Breeze Your Fleet Through Canadian Customs

Last week we talked about preparing your fleet for eManifest, Canada’s method of screening and facilitating the transport of goods and cargo into the country. Designed to identify potential security threats, eManifest requires cargo, conveyance, and importer data to be electronically submitted to the border one hour before arrival. Smart fleet managers will be thinking about how to ease the data submission process before eManifest is mandated on July 10, 2015.

You can find more details about the timeline to initiation and infringement penalties in last week’s post. In this piece, we will be discussing the two options you have to send the cargo and conveyance documentation to the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) ahead of time.

Your eManifest Options Depends on the Size of Your Fleet

The CBSA has provided two different ways for transporters to work with eManifest based on the volume of goods you carry over the border. Companies with a high volume of cargo should use the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) while those with a smaller to medium amount of over-the-border traffic would be better suited to the eManifest Portal. Data and business requirements vary between the two as they’re based on different technologies.

For Larger Fleets: Electronic Data Interchange

If you wish to use the EDI to submit data to get through Canadian customs, there are four sub-options available. The difference between the four largely depends on your business needs, technical capacities, and budget.

  • Direct EDI – Sometimes called point-to-point EDI, this method opens up a direct connection between your business and the CBSA. An initial investment of approximately $25,000 is required in addition to $6,000 in yearly maintenance fees. This is best suited for large businesses with multiple daily transactions.
  • EDI Network Service Provider – This set-up predates the internet itself when it was called the Value-Added-Networkd (VAN). It’s basically a secure network over which companies can exchange information. Still a popular option because of the value-added options services can provide, such as data backup and message tracking. Users will pay for their own VAN connection.
  • Customs Internet Gateway – CBSA developed the Customs Internet Gateway as a method for the trading community to tranmit data over the internet safely. Businesses choosing to go this route must first subscribe for access using this page.
  • Third Party Service Provider –  Recognizing that managing an EDI platform requires a broad range of skills, CBSA allows the option to use a third party service provider to transmit data on your behalf. A list of providers whose software is tested to be compatible with the CBSA can be found here.

For Every Other Kind of Fleet:  eManifest Portal

The eManifest portal is designed for small to medium businesses to easily transition into electronic data submission before arriving at the border. It’s currently available for highway carriers and freight forwarders, and soon warehouse operators and brokers will also be able to view data from the CBSA using the portal.

The Portal provides two kinds of accounts, a Business Account and a User Account.

  • Business Account – Set-up by an authorized representative of the company, the person will need to provide a client identifier and Shared Secret. For highway carriers and freight forwarders, the client identifier is the four-digit carrier code assigned by the CBSA. A Shared Secret is a temporary access code also assigned by the CBSA. You can apply for a Shared Secret through this link.
  • User Account – Every person accessing the Portal must first set-up a User Account using their name, phone number and email.

The eManifest portal only requires internet access and compatible Web browser that

  • Supports TSL 1.0 or SSL 3.0
  • Has Cookies enabled
  • Has Javascript enabled

Browsers that are fully tested against the Portal are Internet Explorer 8 or Firefox 2.0 and above. Other browsers may still work, but could present some problems.

This should provide you a basic understanding of the two options available as you start considering ways to prepare your fleet for the eManifest. All you really have to remember is, if you operate a fleet with high-volume cross-border traffic, EDI is your best bet. Anything smaller, you should be able to use the eManifest portal with no hiccups.