Every carrier (including ocean, highway and air)  entering the United States or Canda has to complete an electronic eManifest. Otherwise, the authorities (CBP or CBSA) will force the carrier to go back immediately when it arrives at the border (or even before loading the cargo at the foreign port as is the case for ocean cargo). For companies without best in class eManifest software, the process can be time-consuming and hard work.  eManifest software allows users to create the needed Customs compliance information, have the information validated and submitted directly to CBP and CBSA before the carrier arrives at the United States or Canadian border.  eManifest software offers many time-saving features that government portals might not be providing. Receiving eManifest notifications via SMS and email are one example of such time-saving features available to users of eManifest software.

How eManifest Software Works

You have to submit your eManifest information electronically to Customs at least one hour before you cross the border (in case of highway shipments). In Canada, you can send it to the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). If you are entering the United States, you can send it to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP). After receiving your eManifest, the CBP or CBSA will run the information via several targeting systems.  In the US the targeting system is known as ATS (Automated Targeting System) and in Canada the targeting system is known as TITAN (Tactical Information Targeting Analysis and Notification System) to ensure that your truck and the load you are carrying can cross the border legally.

Customs can accept or reject the eManifest. If they accept it, you will be free to cross the border. If they reject it, you will have to make the important changes and re-submit it before you arrive at the border. Customs can reject the eManifest for various reasons. One of them is inaccurate data entry. CBP and CBSA will send you an error code indicating the reasons for rejection of your eManifest. After the rejection, you have to check the reason codes promptly, fix the errors and resubmit the document.

Who Should Submit the eManifest?

Generally, every carrier transporting commercial goods to the United States or Canada should submit the pre-arrival eManifest. The US Customs & Border Protection is enforcing this under its Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) program. The Canadian Border Services Agency has been enforcing it actively under it’s Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program.

If you show up at the border before you submit the eManifest electronically, the border agency is likely to penalize you. In most cases, they will issue a monetary penalty. You should take every precaution to avoid penalties for various reasons. First, if you get a lot of penalties, you will be subject to delays and scrutiny each time you go to the border. Moreover, you will spend a lot of time at the border in secondary processing if you fail to submit the eManifest. And most of the monetary penalties are very large and will have a big impact on your bottom line.

The required information and submission timeframes highly depend on the transport mode and whether the cargo is clearing at the first port of entry into the country or moving into the country under bond. Most commercial shipments that cross the US-Canada border by trucks have to be released as Pre-Arrival Processing System/Pre-Arrival Review System (PAPS/PARS) unless the shipments qualify for other release options. PAPS/PARS demand submission of eManifest and the customs broker entry information in advance via customs brokers/importers and carriers for processing.

Submission of the eManifest

The first thing to do is apply for the American SCAC Code or the Canadian Carrier Code. The code you apply for will highly depend on whether you are planning to transport commercial goods alone to the country or commercial goods in and out of the country. Most trucking companies bring cargo in and out of the country.

You will receive the SCAC code usually within a couple of days and the Canadian carrier code after a week or two after which you will be able to start submitting your eManifests. Even though Customs offer online versions to help people submit eManifests, the government portals are not efficient and not designed for medium to large size carriers that are processing larger amounts of shipments.

What the Government eManifest Portal Offers

You will not be charged to use the government ACI eManifest Portal and the ACE eManifest Portal. However, none of the two support bulk filing or multimodal filing (ocean, air, truck).

The government eManifest portals provide you with the standards for entering data online. Unlike commercial eManifest software products, you will complete your data entry faster, complete eManifest filing for every mode of transport.

eManifest Software is customizable and you can, therefore, personalize it to match the needs of your business. It comes with many features such as email notifications, SMS notifications, real-time shipment tracking, data storage, advanced integration options and 24/7 customer support. You can connect to your ERP or any other legacy system.

In addition to expediting the release of cargo, eManifest software eliminates manual paper processing, which is not only time-consuming and labour intensive but it is also expensive. eManifest software improves data integrity and accuracy because you will only submit the information once and make copies if you want for your next manifest speeding up data entry.


Technology advancement is simplifying our lives and making our jobs easier. eManifest software is the answer to the increased border security requirements and important for people who want to cross the US and Canadian borders without any delays and promptly. The eManifests will be submitted to your local Customs agencies before you cross the border. Because the screening has to be conducted in advance, wait times at the border are shorter.

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