Arctic Shipping Electronic Commercial Clearances Pilot Program
Customs Notice 21-10

Ottawa, April 30, 2021

1. This notice has been updated to provide clarification on eligible participants, and cargo transported on vessels, approved for the Arctic Shipping Electronic Commercial Clearances (ASECC) pilot program. This notice also serves as a notification that the eligibility and online application for participation in the ASECC pilot program has changed. Carriers should ensure they are using the most recent version of the Business Profile Application form BSF786.

2. Under the Reporting of Imported Goods Regulations, carriers, regardless of where they arrive in Canada, whether near a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) Commercial Vessel port (C/VESS) or not, are required to report all cargo and conveyances to the nearest CBSA office destined for that purpose that is open for business.

3. Marine carriers transporting cargo to Canada, with few exceptions, are required to transmit Advance Commercial Information (ACI) for cargo and conveyances to the CBSA prior to arrival in Canada. Additionally, marine carriers are also required to electronically transmit the Conveyance Arrival Certification Message (CACM) upon arrival in Canada.

4. The ASECC pilot program allows pre-approved low risk carriers and vessels to report and clear conveyances, crew and cargo electronically in order to meet the reporting requirements. The CBSA maintains the authority to refer any vessel to a C/VESS port or may make arrangements with carriers to clear marine vessels and cargo while they are anchored at sea, on a special service or cost recovery basis.

5. It is important to note that any information submitted to the host region and the CBSA National Targeting Centre after the part 2 application (required seven (7) days prior to departure from the foreign port) will result in a diversion to a C/VESS even if previously approved for the ASECC pilot program. For example: crew changes after the time of departure and release requests for the importation of goods.

6. Carriers using the ASECC pilot program are permitted to transport goods that may be subject to Other Government Department (OGD) requirements. For OGD-regulated goods, the importer must submit a release request and any other required documents seven (7) days in advance of the vessel’s departure from the foreign port. Should the OGD-regulated goods need to be examined, the vessel will be obligated and instructed to report to a C/VESS port.

7. The CBSA encourages ASECC participants to submit release request documents for all goods, including those not regulated by OGD requirements, within the same timeframes (seven (7) days in advance of the vessel’s departure from the foreign port). This would enable the CBSA to review the release information and reach a final approval decision on the goods well in advance of the vessel sailing into the Arctic, in order to avoid a diversion to a C/VESS port for a vessel that has received ASECC clearance in part 2 of the approval process.

8. The updated two (2) part approval process for the ASECC process is:

9. Other Eligibility requirements:

10. For carriers submitting conveyance and cargo information, and Customs Brokers submitting release request information, the following port and warehouse codes should be used for transmitting ACI (“FPOA/Port of Report” on the ACI conveyance report and “FPOA/Port of Report” and “Port of Destination” on the ACI cargo report) and release requests (“Port of Release”):

11. All carriers are reminded of their obligation to report any illnesses/health issues related to communicable disease on board to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) quarantine officer for assessment as soon as possible prior to arrival at a Canadian port. In addition to providing this information to the CBSA National Targeting Centre, carriers will notify PHAC by emailing Should a carrier need to reach a quarantine officer urgently, they may call 1-833-615-2384. PHAC should be notified only if there are concerns with respect to a communicable disease illness.

12. All carriers requesting processing under the ASECC pilot program will be required, wherever possible, to use ACI to submit their pre-arrival data and arrival message.

13. Carriers coming to Canada in-ballast do have the option, at this time, of transmitting their ACI to the CBSA. If a carrier chooses this option, they must also report their arrival electronically by sending the CACM.

14. The CBSA strongly recommends that marine carriers hold a bonded carrier code for alternate processing, as a bond is required any time unreleased goods move beyond the first port of arrival.

15. Through the CBSA’s compliance program initiatives, administrative monetary penalties and through the leveraging of OGDs such as the Canadian Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Department of National Defense and Transport Canada, the CBSA will ensure vessels destined for arctic ports are compliant with CBSA alternate processing directives.

16. Inquiries related to this notice may be directed to:

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