ACI (E-Manifest) Detailed Cargo Description Requirements for Commercial Shipments

CBSA Transporter and Cargo Control Programs Unit issued a reminder notice to the importing industry on the reporting requirements on cargo descriptions to be met.

Under the Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) and e-Manifest initiatives, carriers must provide electronic cargo and conveyance data to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in advance of their arrival at the Canadian border.

The CBSA encourages shippers to assist carriers in meeting e-Manifest requirements.

To do this, the shippers are asked to provide all customs commercial invoice information to carriers about shipments destined to arrive in Canada. Examples of customs commercial information that shippers may provide to carriers include:

• Shipper 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 shipment;
• Customs Self-Assessment (CSA) information (if applicable to the cargo).

A detailed cargo description is a clear and concise description of an item. The description should be in plain language and detailed enough to allow the CBSA to identify the size, shape and characteristics of the cargo.

If the shipment is consolidated (where house bills and/or a Supplementary Cargo Report are expected to follow), the following descriptions may be accepted on the consolidated cargo document: Freight of All Kinds (FAK); shipper load and count (SLC); consolidated; general merchandise; and other similarly vague descriptions. A detailed description must be provided on the electronic house bill or supplementary document.

This link provides a guide to acceptable and unacceptable descriptions.

The provision of accurate and plain language cargo descriptions supports risk assessment and assists the CBSA in identifying low-risk shipments, therefore, facilitating the free flow of goods.

Any non-compliance with the requirements, including the provision of the detailed cargo description, may result in delays and increased examinations of shipments to Canada. Also, clients deemed to be non-compliant may be issued monetary penalties under the Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS).

For more information on e-Manifest requirements and client support, visit the CBSA Web site.