Friday, October 1, 2010

CBSA Turns Down the AMPS for Disclosed Manifest Mistakes

(Today’s Trucking)

Carriers involved in the Advanced Commercial Information (ACI) eManifest program who disclose and correct incidents of non-compliance prior to a CBSA audit will get a break from Administrative Monetary Penalty System (AMPS) penalties.

The “precedent-setting decision,” announced by the Canada Border Services Agency this week, was quickly endorsed by the Canadian Trucking Alliance, which was lobbying hard for the rule change.

Previously, explains CTA, carriers risked being penalized even when providing corrections voluntarily under the CBSA’s “Voluntary Disclosure Program. The failure of the program to guarantee immunity from AMPS penalties discouraged carriers from coming forward with corrections. The rule placed “an unfair burden” on the carrier to make sure all the data associated with a load is accurate, when in fact shippers, importers really own and control the freight and the loading, says CTA.

The CBSA decision means that carriers will only “be accountable for the information they are given at the time it is given to them,” says CTA’s vice president of customs, Jennifer Fox.

So now if a carrier, for example, discovers 21 pallets on a shipment whose manifest reads 20 pallets – a common occurrence for C-TPAT freight, notes CTA – the carrier will not be penalized if it informs CBSA.

Carriers moving higher volumes of freight across the border have been exposed to greater risk of variances in shipment quantities, and therefore information discrepancies, and ultimately compounding AMPS penalties.

As well, carriers voluntarily reporting high volumes of discrepancies will not face immediate AMPS but instead will be given an opportunity to work with CBSA to address reasons for the discrepancies, which could range from improved communications with US shippers, scrutiny when selecting freight or customized solutions to deal with specific operational challenges, says CTA. Source.