CARM: What all importers need to know about CARM

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Terminology Explained


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Advance Commercial Information (ACI) – ACI is a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) initiative to increase cross border trade efficiencies and to improve the protection of Canadian citizens through advance cargo clearance and risk assessment screening.  As part of CBSA’s priority to “Secure the Border Strategically”, ACI requires carriers and freight forwarders to electronically transmit cargo data from the shippers in advance of commercial cargo importations, based on time frames regulated by mode of transport.

The receipt of pre-arrival data (known as ACI filing) enables CBSA officers to more effectively manage higher-risk goods and identify threats to health, safety, and security prior to the arrival of those goods in Canada.  It also allows lower risk goods a more efficient, streamlined process at the border.  When ACI data does not meet the requirements, the CBSA may choose to resolve the issue with the carrier, issue a penalty or prevent the carrier from moving the goods into Canada.

Timeframes for submitting ACI  information to the CBSA:

  • Air:  4 hours minimum before arrival in Canada or at time of departure if the flight is less than four hours.
  • Highway:  1 hour minimum before arrival at the border.
  • Marine:  24 – 96 hours before vessel loading (depending on the type and origin of goods).
  • Rail:  2 hours before arrival at the border.

Quick Tip #20
True or false? AMPS penalties only apply to import shipments

Answer: False. Canadian exports are subject to about 17 AMPS (Administrative Monetary Penalty System) infractions.

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