customs brokerage, freight forwarding and truck transportation

Wait Times Up For Processing Paper At CBSA in Montreal

: Transport

Wait Times Up Again For Processing Paper Trade Docs At CBSA in Montreal 2018-01-05

The New Year brings with it the hope for the continuity of good things and overall process improvement.
 
This past Fall Milgram reported the on-again, off-again delays that are being imposed by CBSA relative to the processing of paper trade documents at the local longroom in Montreal.
 
The local longroom has incurred processing backlogs around holidays; that happened after the Labour Day long weekend, as well as Canadian Thanksgiving, then Remembrance Day (statutory day-off for the Civil Service) and then multiple days over Christmas and then New Year’s.
 
The Canadian industry association for freight forwarders called CIFFA (the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association) has lobbied the Canada Border Services Agency intensively to uphold and maintain reasonable service standards for the stamping of paper at Montreal (one of the last remaining vestiges of paper in an otherwise increasingly electronic process for forwarders and brokers in Canada).
 
In October CBSA (partly in response to CIFFA’s lobbying effort) announced a plan designed to help tackle the stamping problem that included the hiring of a handful of additional workers as well as allowing overtime for existing agents and clerical staff to get ahead of the flow of paperwork and clear occasional backlogs.
 
Unfortunately over the past two months experience has not shown any real improvement in sustained overall productivity; current delays are as much as five business days or more to have documents stamped and then retuned to the issuers of those documents; during week 52 (Dec. 25-29) there was one clerk on duty to verify and stamp all of the paper that is produced for clearance and delivery in and around or via Montreal. The situation was apparently the same when companies began returning to work from holidays on January 2nd; with two short work weeks in a row, the resulting pile of paper is probably not manageable by the longroom because they clearly did not plan adequately for the contingency. Only today, the longroom has commenced work on documents dropped-off for stamping on December 29th.
 
CBSA and others take time to mention the availability of the freight forwarding part of eManifest (that actually replaces paper in many cases) but that is disingenuous. eManifest is not fully implemented for freight forwarders and  there do not exist electronic alternatives to certain types of forwarding or customs broking transactions (such as A8A highway manifests, Type-21 bond entries, etc.).
 
Without stamped paper, Customs brokers are unable to process releases, forwarders are unable to produce advice notes and highway carriers and load brokers are not able to move cargo in-bond within Canada from one sufferance location to another or have those goods released without the inclusion of paper that needs to be stamped. Cargo cannot be delivered on time and storage charges apply in many cases that are altogether unavoidable.
 
CIFFA and other trade chain partners are again lobbying CBSA to alleviate the backlog of documents only this time permanently, so please bear with us throughout this challenging period; we are fully engaged and doing our utmost to work around this hindrance that is imposed by the third party.

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