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Integrated Cargo Security Strategy (ICSS) Overview

On December 7, 2011, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama released the Beyond the Border Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness. As part of this Action Plan, Canada and the United States (U.S.) committed to developing a joint strategy to address risks associated with shipments arriving from offshore based on informed risk management, under the principle of “cleared once, accepted twice.” The Integrated Cargo Security Strategy (ICSS) is aimed at identifying and resolving security concerns as early as possible in the supply chain or at the perimeter, with the expectation that this will allow us to reduce the level of these activities at the Canada-U.S. border.

The ICSS outlines how Canada and the U.S. will reduce duplication of efforts and processes, and work together offshore and at the physical border to facilitate the movement of secure cargo. It recognizes the importance of:

  • having common advance data requirements;
  • sharing advance timely information for cargo shipments arriving in Canada or the U.S. from offshore;
  • harmonizing targeting and risk assessment methodologies; and
  • sharing examination results. 

There are a series of pilot projects and activities that will validate and inform the ICSS.

They are as follows:

Stakeholder Engagement

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is committed to maintaining an open dialogue with stakeholders from all facets of the trade community and to ensuring that their views and perspectives are considered in the design, development and regularization of the ICSS.

For more information on the ICSS, or to send your feedback or questions, please contact us at: Contact@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca.

Integrated Cargo Security Strategy (ICSS)

The binational (Canada–United States) ICSS sets out the vision, objectives and actions to address risks at the earliest opportunity by moving activities related to risk mitigation away from the Canada–U.S. border. Together, these activities are to significantly streamline the flow of trade crossing our common border while enhancing security.

Qs & As

Pilots

Prince Rupert Pilot

On October 1, 2012 the Prince Rupert, British Columbia pilot started, where Canada is examining offshore cargo (on behalf of the U.S.) which is destined to the U.S. via rail.

The pilot targets high-risk cargo that is destined for the U.S. before arrival at the marine port of Prince Rupert and allows for examinations at the perimeter before the cargo moves by train to the land border. The U.S. National Targeting Centre (NTC) risk assesses all cargo arriving at the Canadian port that transits to the U.S. by rail and identifies the shipments of highest risk. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) is conducting examinations on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for security and contraband.

Any contraband or security concerns are dealt with in Canada and information is shared with the U.S. Examination results are also shared via U.S. developed systems allowing for real-time sharing of information (both images and examination results). Containers are secured with high-security bolt seals for transit through Canada to the land border.

At the land border CBP officers see the high-security bolt seal and know that risk has been negated, thereby eliminating the need for duplicate inspections. The Canadian NTC continues to risk assess all cargo arriving as imports.

Qs & As

Montréal Pilot

On January 7, 2013, the Montreal, Quebec pilot started, where Canada is examining offshore cargo (on behalf of the U.S.) which is destined to the U.S. via highway.

The pilot targets high-risk cargo that is destined for the U.S. before arrival at the marine port of Montreal and allows for examinations at the perimeter before the cargo moves by truck to the land border. The U.S. National Targeting Centre (NTC) risk assesses all cargo arriving at the Canadian port and transiting to the U.S. by highway and identifies the shipments of highest risk. The Canada Border Services Agency is conducting examinations on behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) for security and contraband.

Any contraband or security concerns will be dealt with in Canada and information will be shared with the U.S.  Examination results are also shared via U.S. developed systems allowing for real-time sharing of information (both images and examination results). Containers are secured with high security bolt seals for transit through Canada to the land border.

At the land border U.S. CBP officers see the high-security bolt seal and know that the risk has been negated, thereby eliminating the need for duplicate inspections. The Canadian NTC continues to risk assess all cargo arriving as imports.

Qs & As

Pre-Load Air Cargo Targeting (PACT) Pilot

The PACT pilot will analyze inbound pre-load air cargo data for indications of risk to aviation and national security.  This pilot focuses on the CBSA's mandate and responsibility to support Canada's national security priorities and facilitate the cross-border movement of legitimate people and goods, including food, plants and animals, as well as, the TC mandate focusing on keeping air, marine, railed and road transportation systems among the safest in the world and worthy of public confidence.

Our joint efforts will ultimately reduce barriers to trade, strengthening our economic competitiveness, job creation and prosperity, while increasing the security of our two countries.

Volunteer air carriers and freight forwarders will provide air cargo data prior to the cargo being loaded on aircraft destined to Canada.  Once data is received, CBSA and TC targeters will conduct a risk assessment of cargo data by performing systems checks and other vetting procedures on the data received from participants. 

This pilot would draw on the experience and best practices of the current U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) pilot project by using similar risk assessment methods on air cargo arriving directly to Canada from offshore.

Qs & As

Testing and Evaluation of Tamper Evident Technology

On October 1, 2012, the Tamper Evident Technology pilot started, where Canada assesses the integrity of Tamper Evident Technology (i.e., cargo seals) used to ensure that cargo transported from the perimeter to the land border is secured and not subjected to unauthorized access.

The Tamper Evident Technology pilot will build upon ongoing domestic and international research to assess the different types of Tamper Evident Technology currently available and gain a better understanding of their capabilities.

Containers that have been examined in Canada will be sealed to prevent tampering en route to the container's final destination. Through an exchange of information between the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), border services officers will be able to validate whether an inspected and sealed container was subjected to tampering upon arrival at the U.S. border. The CBP will alert the CBSA if a container was re-examined and the reasoning behind the re-examination.

Qs & As