electronic documents

ACI eManifest for Canadian imports (2024 Detailed Guide)

March 29, 2024

ACI eManifest contributes to modernising and streamlining customs procedures, fostering secure and efficient trade practices while reducing administrative burdens and enhancing security measures. 

Its adoption has led to smoother cross-border transactions, benefiting governments, businesses, and consumers by optimising processes and ensuring compliance with international trade standards. 

In this article we are going to discuss everything you need to know about ACI eManifest.

What is ACI eManifest?

ACI (Advance Commercial Information) eManifest is an electronic pre-arrival cargo and conveyance information transmission system used by customs authorities. 

It aims to enhance border security, streamline customs processes, and facilitate the movement of goods across international borders. 

ACI eManifest applies to various modes of transportation, including trucking, marine, air, and rail.

The following are the key components of the ACI eManifest

1. Carrier information
  • Identification data: Details about the carrier, including name, address, contact information, and carrier code.

  • Transport mode details: Information specifying the mode of transport (truck, ship, aircraft, or train).

  • Carrier's role and responsibility: Clarification of the carrier's role in transporting goods across borders.

2. Conveyance information
  • Vehicle/Vessel information: Details related to the conveyance used for transporting goods, such as registration number, size, and type.

  • Route details: Information on the intended route and the expected point of entry into the destination country.

3. Cargo information
  • Goods description: Comprehensive details about the cargo being transported, including type, quantity, weight, value, and nature of goods.

  • Packaging information: Details regarding how goods are packaged or loaded onto the conveyance.

  • Customs tariff classification: Classification codes that define the goods according to the Harmonized System (HS) for proper duty assessment.

Integration with the ACI eManifest

ACI eManifest specifically requires the submission of these key components in an electronic format, adhering to specified timelines before the arrival of goods at the border. 

This integration helps customs authorities conduct risk assessments, streamline processes, and ensure compliance with trade regulations more effectively.

The accurate and timely submission of these components is crucial for efficient border management, allowing for the facilitation of legitimate trade while safeguarding against potential security risks.

Why is ACI eManifest important?

1. Enhanced border security measures
  • Risk assessment: Allows customs authorities to analyse cargo and conveyance data before arrival, identifying potential security risks.

  • Targeted inspections: Facilitates targeted inspections based on pre-submitted information, enhancing border security without disrupting legitimate trade.

2. Streamlined cross-border trade
  • Efficient processing: Pre-arrival transmission expedites customs clearance, reducing border wait times and minimising disruptions to supply chains.

  • Real-time information exchange: Allows for timely information sharing among stakeholders, improving coordination and reducing delays.

3. Improved customs clearance processes
  • Accuracy and compliance: Ensures accuracy in cargo and conveyance data, aiding in compliance with customs regulations and reducing errors.

  • Automated processing: Provides automated checks and validations, expediting clearance processes and reducing manual intervention.

4. Reduced paperwork and manual processes
  • Digital transformation: Eliminates the need for paper-based manifests, reducing administrative burdens and paperwork for carriers and customs authorities.

  • Cost and time savings: Lowers operational costs and time spent on manual data entry, benefiting both businesses and government agencies.

5. Facilitation of trade partnerships
  • Harmonisation and standardisation: Promotes standardised information exchange, fostering collaboration and partnerships between countries for smoother trade operations.

  • Global trade compliance: Helps in meeting international standards and agreements, supporting seamless trade across borders.

6. Operational efficiency and transparency
  • Visibility and traceability: Provides visibility into the movement of goods, enhancing supply chain transparency and traceability.

  • Data analytics: Enables the use of collected data for analytics and insights, allowing stakeholders to optimise logistics and operational processes.

7. Environmental impact

Reduced environmental footprint: Digitalisation of processes minimises paper usage, contributing to environmental sustainability efforts.

ACI eManifest significantly contributes to modernising and streamlining customs procedures, fostering secure and efficient trade practices while reducing administrative burdens and enhancing security measures. 

Its adoption leads to smoother cross-border transactions, benefitting governments, businesses, and consumers by optimising processes and ensuring compliance with international trade standards.

Who needs to submit an ACI eManifest?

The obligation to submit ACI eManifest typically falls on the parties involved in the transportation of goods across international borders. 

The specific requirements may vary by country and mode of transport, but generally, the following entities are responsible for submitting ACI eManifest:

1. Carriers or transporters
  • Trucking companies: Carriers transporting goods via trucks across borders.

  • Shipping lines: Companies operating vessels for maritime transportation.

  • Airlines: Carriers involved in air freight transportation.

  • Railway companies: Entities responsible for transporting goods by rail across borders.

2. Freight forwarders or brokers
  • Logistics companies: Entities arranging international shipments on behalf of shippers or consignees.

  • Customs brokers: Professionals facilitating customs clearance processes for importers or exporters.

3. Shippers or exporters
  • Manufacturers or suppliers: Entities responsible for the production or supply of goods being exported.

  • Exporters: Those directly involved in shipping goods from one country to another.

Who may be exempt?

  1. Low-value shipments: Some countries may have exemptions for low-value or certain types of goods.

  2. Governmental or diplomatic shipments: Shipments sent by government entities or diplomatic missions may have specific exemptions or alternative procedures.

  3. Emergency or humanitarian aid shipments: Certain humanitarian or emergency aid shipments might have special considerations or exemptions.

Compliance requirements
  • Regulatory compliance: Entities involved in the transportation of goods are required to comply with the customs regulations of the importing and exporting countries.

  • Timely submission: Compliance involves the accurate and timely submission of required ACI eManifest information before the goods arrive at the border or port of entry.

Steps to submit an ACI eManifest

Submitting an ACI (Advance Commercial Information) eManifest involves a series of steps to ensure the accurate and timely transmission of cargo and conveyance information to customs authorities before goods arrive at a border or port of entry. 

Here's a breakdown of the typical steps involved:

1. Prepare required information
  • Gather data: Collect comprehensive information about the cargo, conveyance, and parties involved in the transportation.

  • Ensure accuracy: Verify the accuracy of the collected data, including cargo descriptions, quantities, values, and conveyance details.

2. Use approved transmission methods
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI): Utilise approved EDI systems or software compliant with customs requirements for data transmission.

  • Web-based portals or systems: Some customs authorities offer web-based platforms for submitting ACI eManifests; ensure compliance with their specifications.

3. Submission timing and deadlines
  • Pre-arrival submission: Transmit ACI eManifest data to customs authorities well in advance of the goods' arrival at the border or port.

  • Adhere to timelines: Comply with the specific timeframes set by customs authorities for submitting ACI eManifests before the goods' arrival.

4. Revisions and amendments
  • Update information: If there are changes or corrections to the previously submitted ACI eManifest, promptly make revisions or amendments.

  • Compliance with regulations: Ensure that any modifications or updates comply with customs regulations and are transmitted within stipulated time frames.

5. Compliance with carrier responsibilities
  • Carrier obligations: Carriers or transporters must fulfil their obligations in providing accurate and complete ACI eManifest data to customs authorities.

  • Timely cooperation: Cooperate with customs authorities and provide any additional requested information promptly.

6. Confirmation and acknowledgment
  • Receive confirmation: Upon successful submission, receive acknowledgment or confirmation of receipt from the customs authorities.

  • Ensure receipt: Verify that the eManifest has been received and accepted by customs; address any issues or errors promptly.

7. Post-arrival compliance (if applicable)
  • Follow-up procedures: In some cases, there might be additional post-arrival compliance requirements; adhere to these if specified by customs regulations.

  • Address discrepancies: If discrepancies are identified post-arrival, work with customs to rectify any issues promptly.

8. Ongoing compliance and updates
  • Stay informed: Regularly update yourself or your organisation on any changes in eManifest requirements or procedures.

  • Continuous compliance: Maintain ongoing compliance with customs regulations and adapt to any changes or updates in submission procedures.

CargoX ACI solutions

CargoX provides ACI solutions that cover the submission, transfer and processing of all required documents. Utilising blockchain technology and verification procedures that include advanced know-your-customer (KYC) checks, CargoX ensures that ACI processes run smoothly and are secure and transparent beyond reproach. 

The CargoX Platform for Blockchain Data Transfer is an integral part of the ACI system in the Arab Republic of Egypt, and is currently being implemented in Uganda and Abu Dhabi. In Egypt it has helped provide major savings in time and cost for the importers and streamlined all the procedures. 

CargoX is currently developing new ACI features with the aim of making international trade even more frictionless, secure and transparent.

More than compliance

Navigating the intricacies of ACI eManifest involves more than mere compliance; it's about fostering efficient, secure, and compliant international trade practices. 

Embracing the digital transformation represented by eManifest not only streamlines customs procedures but also ensures the security of global supply chains.

By embracing technology, staying updated on regulations, and fostering a culture of compliance, businesses and stakeholders pave the way for smoother border crossings, reduced paperwork, and enhanced security measures. 

The future of international trade relies on this harmonised, digitised approach, allowing for seamless movement of goods while upholding regulatory standards.