What is The ACI eManifest Program? |

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What is The ACI eManifest Program?

Whether or not you’re directly involved in the shipping of your commercial goods, having an understanding of the processes and documentation required is critical. In the context of our blog post today, we’re talking about the eManifest — which is a document that changes depending on the mode of shipment (i.e. ground, air, ship). You may also hear the eManifest being referred to as part of the Advance Commercial Information (ACI) program. 

The ACI program is a set of documentation that differs based on the carrier — whether they are air, marine, highway, or rail carrier. As you may have guessed, each of these modes of shipment have their own set of guidelines that must be complied to as per the ACI program.

Alright, so, what is an eManifest exactly? 

You may or may not have already heard this term used interchangeably with freight information that’s sent prior to the shipment arriving at the destination port/border. The eManifest is used to smooth the clearing of customs by transmitting important information. This helps Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) evaluate the shipment in advance. 

sending an emanifest

The number of shipments of commercial goods is only growing. That being said, there’s also a growing stringency on these shipments based on health and safety concerns, as CBSA advances in the ways in which they find possible threats coming into Canada. As such, showing border officers that your goods are compliant as quickly as possible is mutually beneficial for both parties — officers and shippers alike.

Importers that use the electronic data interchange (EDI) can easily send over any import/export information and accounting documentation to CBSA. When CBSA receives these, they’ll be much quicker to clear lower risk goods, allowing them to refine their focus on higher priorities.

About the eManifest Portal

The good news is that significant efforts have been made in order to make it easy for shippers to send shipment information to CBSA online.

From the CBSA Website/eManifest Portal: 

“The eManifest Portal is an option developed by CBSA to allow the trade community to electronically transmit their pre-arrival information through the Internet. The eManifest Portal was developed primarily for small- to medium-sized businesses to facilitate their compliance and ease the transition from paper reporting to pre-arrival electronic data transmission. The eManifest Portal is available for highway carriers and freight forwarders to transmit pre-arrival data. Warehouse operators and brokers have access to the Portal to view data they have received from the CBSA.” 

What kind of things can you do on the eManifest Portal? 

  • Send over trade data to CBSA in a secure manner
  • Get notifications from CBSA & confirm the receipt of info
  • Check the status of the trade data
  • Quick access to FAQ & reference documents


As mentioned above, highway, air, and freight carriers can use the Portal. In addition to other involved individuals like brokers and warehouse operators. All of these stakeholders are able to send information and view the documentation that’s been sent with CBSA as well. 

Previous pieces about the ACI/eManifest Program: 

Managing the Customs ACI eManifest Changes

Highway Carriers and the ACI eManifest Requirements 

shipping emanifest

As with most kinds of documentation required by CBSA, you may request the assistance of a customs broker to facilitate the process of importing commercial goods. You can even allow for a customs broker to sign for documents on your behalf, depending on your agreement.

Navigating the regulatory framework of CBSA can be tricky. There’s certainly quite a bit that you must be aware of in order to run a successful importing business. It is not ideal for you to take a chance dealing with it on your own, as partnering with a broker will save you time and money. Ready to start a conversation? Start a conversation here