The Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) is a federal agency created for ensuing security for Canadians, enhancing border protection and facilitating international travel. The CBSA oversees the crossing of all travelers and cargo that cross over the Canadian Border. With approximately 1,200 points of entry across the Canadian Border, that means a lot of check points for inspection of vehicles and for reviewing cargo being brought in and out of the country. ACI (Advance Commercial Information) eManifest has allowed CBSA to facilitate the movement of cargo across all entry points.
With the implementation of ACI, commercial freight crosses the border in a timelier fashion as well as gives CBSA more information about conveyances & shipments before arrival at the FPOA (First Port of Arrival). ACI has streamlined border crossing for commercial shipments and encourages businesses to maintain a level of compliance with the program which is a benefit to Canada, CBSA and the entire transportation industry.
TCCU (Technical Commercial Client Unit)
CBSA also has a plan in the event the ACI system becomes unavailable. The CBSA provides call center support with a group known as the TCCU (Technical Commercial Client Unit). This unit can be contacted at 8 am – 5 pm ET and after-hours (for emergencies only). The number to reach the TCCU is 1-888-957-7224 within Canada and the US and +1-613-946-0762 from overseas. During an ACI system outage, a caller may call the TCCU and listen to the voice greeting to get an up to date message on the current status of the ACI system.
If a CBSA partner organization such as a software service provider system encounters an outage, they are required to keep the TCCU informed of such unscheduled system outage every 4 hours. In the event of a planned system outage by a service provider, then the TCCU requires 24 hours advance warning and updates every 4 hours. Before a scheduled maintenance begins, all ACI cargo data must be submitted 120 minutes before the commencement of the outage to ensure the ACI pre-arrival timelines have been satisfied.
During a CBSA system outage trade participants should continue to send ACI eManifest data as the transactions will be placed in a queue and eventually processed once the ACI system becomes available again. If the sending of ACI data is not possible during the system outage, then the ACI data should be submitted within 24 hours of the CBSA system becoming operational again. Once the CBSA system is restored, there is a 2-hour buffer time before all port operations return to normal. No AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System) will be issued during a CBSA system outage and during the 2-hour window after the outage as CBSA and port operations resume to normal.
If a conveyance arrives at the Canadian border during a system outage, the transportation carrier must provide paper cargo control documents or print out an ACI eManifest cover sheet. The phase “System Outage” needs to be written on the documents presented to the BSO (Border Services Officer). 14-digit transaction number (entry numbers) from the customs broker should be written or printed on the paperwork presented to the BSO.
TCCU will be providing emailed bulletins before and after every outage. To receive copies of these bulletins you have to register on the CBSA website. The TCCU will be alerting EDI clients and eManifest portal users every four hours during regular business hours of these outages. The TCCU also informs clients of holidays, exchange rates, tariff updates and interest rates as they change. The entire system is designed to keep all parties involved in the shipping of commercial goods over the Canadian border informed of any changes to existing policies. That means keeping carriers, brokers/importers, freight forwards and warehouses up-to-date about border policy changes.
For any CBSA outage lasting more than 4-hours the waiver of late-accounting penalties can be requested by sending an email to CBSA-ASFC_Commercial_Registration_Agrement_commercial@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca