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The Accelerated Commercial Release Operations Support System (ACROSS) uses advanced electronic technology to streamline the way goods are imported into Canada. With ACROSS, importers and brokers exchange information electronically with the CBSA thereby eliminating the requirement to present paper release packages, subject to certain limitations.
By reducing the workload involved in the clearance of low-risk shipments, ACROSS enables goods to be released more efficiently and quickly. Importers spend less time dealing with the CBSA, which gives them more time to focus on their businesses.
Further enhancements to ACROSS now give electronic data interchange (EDI) clients the option of transmitting release information that has other government department (OGD) requirements.
ACROSS improves the enforcement capabilities of the CBSA by allowing more time to be dedicated to the prevention of illicit goods entering Canada. It also provides a sophisticated method for targeting high-risk shipments.
Key Elements of ACROSS
- Electronic release of commercial shipments;
- An interface with OGDs to release shipments that have OGD requirements;
- A client profile feature that allows the CBSA to tailor registration and release services to meet the needs of importers; and
- A workload management feature that increases the efficiency of the importing process and allows the CBSA to shift resources to meet service and enforcement priorities.
ACROSS uses EDI for existing importing processes such as release on minimum documentation (RMD) and the Pre-arrival Review System (PARS). By giving importers and brokers the ability to transmit release invoice data and certain OGD requirements electronically, ACROSS eliminates the need to present paper release packages. The CBSA receives about 20,000 EDI releases each day at 102 ports of entry.
With ACROSS, the CBSA has a highly developed tool for ensuring that only high-risk imports are selected for compliance verification. The targeting system can verify a wide variety of information such as importer numbers, carrier codes and countries of origin. This allows for greater enforcement capabilities and a faster release process for low-risk shipments.
The ACROSS workload management function helps the CBSA meet the challenges of its paper and electronic workloads, while also providing clients with more efficient and responsive service.
ACROSS improves the importing process in the following ways:
- Greatly reducing the paper burden;
- Providing faster and more efficient processing of imports;
- Exchanging release information with OGDs;
- Reducing errors in the importing process;
- Providing for timely and efficient responses to requests for system enhancements;
- Allowing importers more time to dedicate to their businesses; and
- Enhancing the CBSA's enforcement capabilities.
ACROSS can help you revolutionize your business procedures to meet the demands of an ever-changing market:
- Exchange information 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
- Exchange release and permit data electronically, including Foreign Affairs/Customs Automated Permit System permits;
- Process releases for several ports of clearance from one location;
- Improve the accuracy of information by exchanging data without rekeying;
- Improve service delivery; and
- Reduce paper and handling costs by eliminating the need to photocopy and fax release packages.
How does ACROSS work?
Using ACROSS means you do not have to submit paper release packages. However, as a participant, you have to report your confirming declarations (Form B3, Canada Customs Coding Form) using the Customs Automated Data Exchange System (CADEX) or Customs Declaration (CUSDEC).
All existing cargo and release services are available through ACROSS, including the following:
- Release on minimum documentation (RMD);
- Pre-arrival Review System (PARS);
- RMD-OGD; and
For more information on these services, see Memorandum D17-1-4, Release of Commercial Goods.
Release process using ACROSS
Here is a step-by-step look at the EDI release process.
- The shipper, exporter, vendor or carrier sends the importer or broker the shipment information using EDI or by fax.
- Using this information, the importer or broker prepares the release request.
- The importer or broker sends the request electronically to the appropriate office.
- The CBSA verifies the information to ensure it meets EDI syntax requirements.
- If any errors are present (e.g. incorrect format), the CBSA sends the importer or broker a message using the same route as the incoming transmission. After the corrections are made, the importer or broker must retransmit the release data.
- ACROSS processes the EDI release data.
- A CBSA officer reviews the information and enters a decision into the ACROSS system to recommend release for PARS, release, reject or refer.
- When the goods are released, ACROSS sends the importer or broker an electronic release notification through the Release Notification System.
- The importer or broker must send the confirming accounting data to the Customs Commercial System within the time limits outlined in Memorandum D17-1-4, Release of Commercial Goods.
What about goods needing an import permit from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada ?
The CBSA and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada exchange permit data electronically. This means you don't have to submit paper import permits.
Your permit is issued by Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada . The department forwards the permit information to the CBSA electronically for sorting and processing. When you send the CBSA your release request, ACROSS matches this information to the permit.
The OGD Interface is an enhancement that allows EDI clients to transmit release data with OGD requirements to ACROSS. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) interface is now available on a national basis, along with interfaces for Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada and Industry Canada.
You can now use EDI to release goods for the following programs:
- CFIA – Agricultural import requirements
(e.g. meat, plants, vegetables)
- Natural Resources Canada - Office of Energy Efficiency
(e.g. refrigerators, air conditioners, motors)
- Transport Canada - Tire Safety
(e.g. on-road tires, retreads)
For each of the above programs, Harmonized System (HS) code tables have been prepared to help you prepare your release package for OGD requirements. Additional data elements for certain departments are required at the time of release and have been added to the latest EDI Phase III release maps. Depending on the department involved, certain fields must be completed and transmitted along with the release data.
For more information, please refer to the OGD Interface section.
Become a ParticipantRefer to the Procedures for Becoming an EDI Client.
If you have questions about ACROSS, please contact the Business Information Service.
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