February 15, 2023 | Circular No. 11493

Dear Member,

Please find below an update on a number of CBSA issues that are currently on our agenda

Reporting of Split Shipments Occurring Post-Arrival

Members may recall that following discussions with the Customs Committee in 2020, CBSA informally agreed that split shipments occurring both pre and post vessel arrival could be reported electronically (by submitting a new split CCN that references the original CCN in the “special instructions” field), thereby eliminating the need to account for such shipments through an outdated and labour-intensive manual re-manifesting process.

Although it was our expectation that this informal electronic process would eventually be incorporated into CBSA regulations, this has only occurred for split shipments occurring pre-arrival.  For split shipments occurring post arrival, CBSA has reverted back to the previous reporting process, under which paper re-manifests must be submitted for each portion of the shipment by destination (as per paragraph 102 of memorandum D3-1-1).  Indeed, we are aware of several cases in which carriers have received compliance warnings on the need to revert back to this process for post-arrival splits, and CBSA has indicated that penalties may be assessed for future cases of non-compliance.

We are now following up with CBSA to better understand why the informal solution they had previously agreed to can’t continue to be used, pending the development of electronic functionality for processing post-arrival splits.  We will revert with additional news as these discussions progress, but in the meantime, members who handle post-arrival split shipments should be guided by the above.  We would also ask members who are impacted by this change to contact the undersigned so we can continue to build (or rebuild) the case as to why reverting to a paper re-manifest process for post-arrival splits is not a viable solution.

Discharge of Containers at Non-Container Ports

As previously reported, CBSA has signalled its intention to more vigourously enforce its policy of only allowing containerized cargo to be discharged at ports that are fitted with fixed radiation detection technology (i.e. Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Montreal, Halifax and Saint John).  Although CBSA has been fairly lenient with this policy in the past, we have been made aware of several recent cases in which local CBSA officers have refused to allow containers destined to a non-containerized port to be discharged until they have been diverted to one of the five ports noted above for screening purposes.

We have had several discussions with CBSA on this subject, with a view to ensuring that they understand the significant impacts that would occur if this policy were fully enforced, particularly in the breakbulk sector, which often involves the transport of containerized project cargo and other goods to non-containerized ports.  Although CBSA has indicated that they are open to discussing and potentially approving specific shipments to non-container ports on a case-by-case basis, we would like to take this one step further by developing a process under which carriers could obtain pre-approval for discharging containers at non-container ports, contingent on the submission of specific information elements to CBSA.  This would be a voluntary process that could potentially provide carriers with greater certainty regarding their ability to discharge containers at a given port while a voyage is still in the planning stages.

We will be reverting to members with additional information on this proposal, along with an opportunity to provide input, within the next few weeks.

CBSA’s New Revenue and Accounting System

We are working to arrange a presentation on CBSA’s new electronic portal for assessing duties and taxes and managing revenue (known as CARM), which is expected to become fully operational in October 2023.  Although the new portal is designed primarily for importers and their representatives, we are seeking to better understand its potential impacts on marine carrier operations.

It is our understanding that marine carriers who perform the services of an importer (whether occasionally or otherwise) will have to be registered in the new portal and obain an appropriate bond. What is still unclear is whether the portal will also be used for other revenue management purposes, including the payment of penalties and related activities – which could make it necessary for any stakeholder who needs to transact finanical operations with CBSA to be registered in the portal. We also have questions regarding the timely release of cargo in cases where duties and taxes have not been fully paid due to an importer’s inability to register for the new portal, which could be of particular concern during the initial transition to full CARM this October.

We anticipate that the presentation on CARM will occur during the next meeting of our Customs Committee, which will be held in late March or early April.


Karen Kancens
Vice President