Container Bank Program (CBP)
Customs Notice 15-029


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1. This customs notice provides information regarding the Container Bank Program (CBP).

2. Heading 98.01 of the Schedule to the Customs Tariff provides for duty and tax free importation of containers of Chapters 86, 87, 88 or 89, engaged in the international commercial transportation of goods, including any ancillary equipment necessary to ensure the safety, security, containment and preservation of the goods. However, such containers may only be used for this purpose and not for other purposes in Canada.

3. Headings 98.13 and 98.14 of the Schedule to the Customs Tariff provide for goods which originate in Canada or which are imported and accounted for under section 32 of the Customs Act to be exported and subsequently reimported customs duty free if the goods are returned without having been advanced in value or improved in condition by any process of manufacture or other means, or combined with any other article abroad. In addition, if there was a refund or drawback when the goods were exported or they were manufactured in bond, then the amount of the refund or drawback must be repaid or the customs duty to which they would have been liable had they not been exported from Canada must be paid. These provisions apply to the specific goods and not to substitutes, even identical goods.

4. Goods which are eligible for customs duty relief under Headings 98.13 or 98.14 may be eligible for goods and services tax (GST) relief. However, GST is not relieved for goods under these headings if, prior to importation, the goods were:

Container Bank Program (CBP)

5. The CBP facilitates the accounting for and movement of a client’s containers which are exported from and returned to Canada. It is done through the establishment of a “container bank” with the CBSA. The CBP provisions were initially established through the “Importation of goods once exported from Canada Regulations” (repealed ) and GST relief is provided through the Excise Tax Act, Schedule VII, Section 9.

6. For the purpose of the CBP:

7. For greater certainty, this administrative policy does not affect, in any way, the requirement or exemption respecting the accounting of containers pursuant to section 32 of the Customs Act and the Accounting for Imported Goods and Payment of Duties Regulations. In addition, importers authorized under the Customs Self Assessment (CSA) program should refer to Memorandum D17-1-7, Customs Self Assessment Program for Importers for information regarding the reporting of empty containers. The CBP also does not exempt authorized participants/importers/carriers/etc. from meeting any and all applicable other government departmental requirements (for example, Canadian Food and Immigration Agency requirements related to wooden containers, etc.).


8. Where a container bank has been authorized by the CBSA a company may import containers or a like quantity of similar containers on a duty and tax free basis, provided that the maximum quantity or value of any one type of the company’s containers actually in Canada during a period of time that is mutually agreed upon between the company and the local CBSA officials, does not exceed its container bank for that type of container.

9. In order to operate a container bank, a company must apply in writing to the CBSA for authorization. The letter requesting permission to operate a container bank should be sent to the Manager of the applicable office below for the areas through which the containers will be returned to Canada or, where the containers are expected to be imported through multiple areas, where the company’s principal office is located:

10. The authorization request must be in writing and should include the following information:

11. In order for the CBSA to authorize a container bank, a company must agree to:

12. Where a company allows a third party to use containers from its container bank, the company must notify the CBSA office which originally authorized the container bank of the third party’s name, and advise whether the company will:

13. In those instances where a company wishes to operate a container bank in more than one CBSA region, the company may apply for a container bank to the regional CBSA office for the area where the company’s principal office is located. That CBSA office or, where directed by that office, another CBSA office, will monitor the container bank operation. The company’s principal office will do the physical inventory or maintain the accounting system and any records referred to in paragraph 11 above for the movement of its containers in all regions. However, where a company’s offices are independent of each other, each office may apply for its own container bank to the appropriate CBSA region.

14. The CBSA will notify a company in writing confirming the effective date and the terms and conditions for the authorization of the company’s container bank once the requirements of paragraphs 10 and 11 above have been met.

15. The CBSA may cancel an authorization at any time if the terms and conditions of paragraph 10 of this document are not complied with. A registered letter will be sent to a company when an authorization is cancelled explaining the reason for cancellation.

16. Where there has been an increase in a company’s volume of trade in goods transported by container and the company has not reported any increase in the quantity or value of containers in its container bank, the CBSA may request that a physical inventory be done or it may audit the company. Such a request or audit does not limit the CBSA from requesting physical inventories or conducting audits or verifications for other reasons.

Examples of Accounting Systems and Record-keeping of Container Banks

17. It is expected that the accounting system and record-keeping for container banks will differ from one company to another. Accounting systems may be periodic or perpetual, manual or computerized, etc. Some examples of systems that may be used to monitor and control container banks are outlined below. Other systems that meet the requirements of paragraph 11 of this document will also be considered:

Additional Information

18. For more information, within Canada call the Border Information Service at 1-800-461-9999. From outside Canada call 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064. Long distance charges will apply. Agents are available Monday to Friday (08:00 – 16:00 local time / except holidays). TTY is also available within Canada: 1-866-335-3237.

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