Descartes Joins the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA) in a Series of eManifest Strategic Business Planning Workshops

For the past 2½ years, representatives from the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (CIFFA), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Descartes have travelled to major freight hubs throughout Canada to help increase awareness of the regulatory changes impacting freight moving into the country. Most recently, as part of this initiative, a representative of Descartes spoke to primarily freight forwarder audiences in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in a series strategic business planning workshops.

During these interactive sessions, we explained the importance of the Canadian Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program, why it’s essential that forwarders understand their role in the initiative as the liable party, the potential impact on forwarders’ business processes and what forwarders can do to facilitate regulatory compliance within their respective organizations.

Currently, the ACI program is in its voluntary compliance period for eManifests. With enforcement of eManifest requirements for freight forwarders on the horizon, it is vital to establish a clear path for compliance now.

The regulation is mode-specific, meaning that the timing of the filing is based on mode-of-transport of the shipment. For air transport, there is a narrow window during which freight must be declared prior to arrival. Additionally, since shippers pay a premium to move their goods from point A to point B by air, there is an added urgency to avoid delays for air shipments. In contrast, for ocean shipments, there is more time to collect the requisite data elements while for air shipments, communications and processes come more into play. As a result, air transport is a prime example that shows that clear procedures must be in place within an organization to comply with the regulation and to avoid delays and potential penalties when they go into effect.

There are several items that I believe spell regulatory success in regard to Canadian ACI. In my opinion, the movement of data and documents has become more important than the movement of the freight itself.  This means that if you don’t have the data at the right place at the right time, then the freight itself does not move. An effective ACI strategy should cover the following three areas:

  • Company-wide Understanding - Not only should your operations know the regulation, but it is important that the significance of ACI cargo compliance is understood company-wide. This means that CEOs, CIOs and CFOs should also have at least a minimal understanding of the regulation and its key milestones.
  • Business Impact – If you are in the business of moving freight into Canada, it also essential to note that the regulation can and will impact your business processes at both an operational and financial level.
  • Project Management – You need to have a “champion” within your organization who not only helps to process changes within your business, but who helps to communicate with outside partners and agents to facilitate the transition to ACI compliance.

Please join us for an educational web seminar on the ACI eManifest initiative. The event is scheduled for Thursday, May 29 at 11:00am ET.

Click here for more details and to register.

We also encourage you to visit the Descartes ACI eManifest Resource Centre to stay up-to-date on the ACI filing requirements, deadlines and more:

https://www.descartes.com/aci-emanifest-resource-centre

Written by Oryst Dydynsky

a Consultant at Descartes Systems Group