Commercial Carrier and Freight Forwarder Identification and Eligibility

Marine Carriers

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Non-Bonded or Bonded

To apply for a carrier code, the first step is to determine if you need a non-bonded or bonded code.

The CBSA strongly recommends that marine carriers apply for a bonded carrier code, as a bond is required anytime unreleased goods move beyond the first port of arrival (FPOA). This includes scenarios such as emergency stops when the FPOA is changed.

In the marine mode, the FPOA is defined as the first Canadian port that a vessel stops for any reason including but not limited to the loading and or discharging of cargo, anchoring, bunkering, safety inspections, crew changes, diversions, etc.

For Great Lakes traffic, the CBSA has deemed two ports in and out of the Great Lakes as the FPOA whether the vessel stops there or not: Montréal and Port Colborne.

For vessels travelling into and through Canada from off shore and up bound, Montréal will be the FPOA, unless the vessel stops somewhere else in Canada first.

For vessels travelling with U.S. loaded cargo, from the Great Lakes and passing through the Welland Canal, Port Colborne will be the FPOA unless the vessel stopped somewhere else in Canada first.

Non-Bonded Marine Carrier

A non-bonded marine carrier must have all shipments released at the FPOA.

If a non-bonded carrier requires a bond for a single trip they may apply for a single trip authorization.

Bonded Marine Carrier

In the marine mode, a carrier must post security with the CBSA in the amount of $25,000 (Memorandum D3-5-2, paragraph 72) if:

  • Unreleased goods are moving past the FPOA; or
  • To participate in the Marine Overland Movement Program, where freight is forwarded in bond from a Canadian seaport(s) overland to a Canadian destination(s) for clearance or exportation without re-manifesting to a forwarding rail or highway carrier.

Becoming a Non-Bonded Marine Carrier

The CBSA Guidelines: Marine Carrier Code Application Process will assist you in completing your application.

To apply to become a non-bonded marine carrier with the CBSA you must:

  • 1. Complete and sign the application form and the Marine Carrier Attestation.

  • 2. Provide:

    • The carriers International Maritime Organization (IMO) Unique Company and Registered Owner Identification number. Information on the number scheme is available at:
    • Or

    • A copy of the appropriate proof of ownership document for your business
      • For corporations – article of incorporation or business registration document.
      • For partnerships – certificate of formation or master business license.
      • For sole proprietorships – photocopy of government issued photo ID.
    • For supporting documents being submitted from outside Canada:

      • The supporting document must be translated into either English or French and certified as to the authenticity of translation by the certified translator
      • A copy of the original documents (requiring translation) is to be notarized by a locally recognized lawyer or commissioner of oaths.
      • Both documents must be submitted.
  • 3. An authorized officer representing the company must sign the application form. The authorized officer must have legal signing authority and can include: Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), President, Vice-President, Owner, Partner, Secretary Treasurer, Executive Director or Director. In the case of a sole proprietorship, only the owner may sign.

  • 4. Submit scanned copies to the CBSA at

  • 5. Once you receive your carrier code from the CBSA, you must then apply to transmit Advance Commercial Information (ACI) to the CBSA and undergo the testing process.

Becoming a Bonded Marine Carrier

Recent Changes to the CBSA Bond Requirements

Please note that the CBSA no longer requires corporate seals or notarization for the bond principal. Form D120 and Memorandum D1-7-1 are being updated to reflect this change.

The CBSA Guidelines: Marine Carrier Code Application Process will assist you in completing the application form and D120 Customs Bond.

To apply to become a bonded marine carrier with the CBSA you must:

Single Trip Authorization

If a non-bonded carrier requires a bond for a single trip they may apply for a single trip authorization. For example, if a non-bonded carrier cannot obtain release of the shipment at the FPOA and chooses to bring a shipment inland for release at another CBSA office, the carrier must post a single trip authorization bond at the FPOA.

A single trip authorization may be acquired in one of two ways: by posting security with the CBSA using cash or a certified cheque, or by engaging a customs broker who provides this service.

Applications for a single trip authorization must be filed, in duplicate, at the FPOA in Canada using form BSF329-4: Application to Transact Marine Operations with the Canada Border Services Agency. Security must also be posted as outlined in Customs Memorandum D1-7-1: Posting Security for Transacting Bonded Operations.

Transmitting Advance Commercial Information

With the implementation of Phases 1 and 2 of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program, completed in 2004 and 2006, respectively, all marine carriers are required to electronically transmit marine cargo and conveyance data to the CBSA within prescribed time frames prior to arrival or prior to loading depending on the type and origin of goods.

Once you receive your carrier code, in order to begin transmitting data electronically to the CBSA, you must:

  • Complete BSF691: Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Application for Advance Commercial Information (ACI)
  • Undergo a testing phase with the CBSA.

Additional Information

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