Cross-border Shipping | What to Know About ACE/ACI Manifests

Cross-border Shipping | What to Know About ACE/ACI Manifests

For cross-border shipping from the USA into Canada (or vice versa), proper preparation is key to avoid disruptions and delays at the border. A vital part of that preparation is submitting the right electronic information to border control agencies before the cargo arrives in either country. 

What information do you need to submit? And what does that involve? 

Here’s what you should know about the ACI and ACE electronic manifests, including what they are and how they make cross-border shipping more efficient:

Understanding the Essentials of ACI/ACE Electronic Manifest for Cross-Border Shipping

The ACI and ACE electronic manifest are two sides of the same system — one is for shipments into Canada, and the other is for shipments into the USA. The aim is to make border crossings as fast and straightforward as possible without compromising safety. 

This system allows border control agencies to pre-clear low-risk shipments before they arrive, reducing the required waiting time. Truck drivers transporting goods can be on their way sooner and are more likely to make their deliveries promptly, which is helpful when planning delivery schedules and managing client expectations. 

What is the ACI Manifest?

The Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) manifest is used when crossing into Canada. It’s mandatory for all shipments and border crossings, even for drivers with empty trucks. 

Companies planning to move goods into or through Canada must submit the necessary information to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) before the truck arrives at the border. 
The ACI system works with Canada’s Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS), which allows importers to submit information on their cargo to the CBSA for pre-clearance. While they may seem similar, you can’t submit one and ignore the other. Both the ACI electronic manifest and PARS must be completed to clear goods before arriving at the Canadian border.

What is the ACE manifest?

The Advanced Commercial Environment (ACE) manifest is required for cross-border shipping into the USA. Just like the ACI electronic manifest, the ACE is mandatory for all shipments and border crossings, whether your truck is empty or not.

The ACE works with the USA’s Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS). Similarly to Canada’s PARS system, PAPS was created to speed up border crossings and clear low-risk cargo before it arrives. Both the ACE and PAPS must be completed to avoid issues at the border. 

What’s required for ACE electronic manifests and ACI electronic manifests?

You need to submit your ACE or ACI manifest at least one hour before your shipment reaches the border. Including the necessary information is vital for either system — oversights or errors can lead to long, potentially costly delays. 

The steps for submitting an ACE or ACI electronic manifest are essentially the same. 

For either system, your manifest should include information on:

  • The goods being imported
  • Their origin (where the cargo was made/sourced)
  • Their value (typically for calculating taxes and duties)
  • Their intended destination
  • Their intended use 
  • All other details considered relevant 

Depending on which country you’re entering, you’ll also need to include your PAPS or PARS number on your ACE or ACI manifest.

What happens after submitting ACE or ACI manifests?

When you have submitted your ACE manifest or ACI manifest, the CBSA or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will decide whether or not your shipment can be pre-cleared before arrival. In some cases, officers may feel that cargo needs to be inspected when it reaches the border. 

When shipments reach the border, officers scan your shipment’s PARS or PAPS barcode. This will present officers with all the necessary information on your shipment. The truck is then either allowed straight through or sent for further inspection. 

If your shipment requires inspection, it doesn’t automatically mean it will be denied entry. Once officers are satisfied that your cargo is as described in the manifest, it may still be cleared without additional delay. 

Collaborate with Professionals in Cross-Border Shipping for ACI and ACE Manifest Assistance

The ACI and ACE manifests are essential for cross-border shipping into Canada and the USA. By submitting electronic manifests before trucks reach either border, your company can save time and avoid shipping-related delays. The CBSA and CBP will have the necessary details to clear goods efficiently. 

That’s why it’s important to work with shipping professionals who can advise you on all the ins and outs of cross-border freight.

Diversifies Transportation Services (DTS) is an experienced freight shipping company, offering international shipping services at competitive rates. Get in touch now for your quote.

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