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On May 29, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) presented information on current projects and engagement activities during its Border Commercial Consultative Committees Collective Session. Brief updates provided a look at initiatives related to e-commerce, blockchain, the CBSA Assessment and Revenue Management (CARM) project, the Single Window Initiative, and activity to combat African Swine Fever, as well as CBSA communications and emerging issues.
Generally, the CBSA described the “transformation” it is undertaking “to adapt to a dynamic operating environment” and the challenges it faces due to aging infrastructure and increasing trade volumes and complexities.
As of April 1, 2019, the CBSA has implemented a new functional management model with several goals: to become more streamlined and higher performing, to achieve better results and to establish clearer accountability.
Proof-of-Concept and Technology Pilot Projects
CBSA is currently testing new technologies and processes through three major projects.
- The Secure Corridor Concept: Test of a suite of technologies at the Detroit Windsor Ambassador Bridge intended to achieve low-touch, remote processing of participating trusted traders. The pilot is on track to inform the final design of a system to allow rapid and secure processing of commercial passages; it will continue until March 2020.
- Cargo Preclearance: The CBSA is exploring opportunities to position officers at hubs inland in the U.S., specifically for proofs of concept at courier and rail hubs to be conducted after ratification of the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance (LRMA). Work is ongoing to determine feasibility and finalize sites for these operations.
- Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS): The CBSA is currently testing the CERS portal, which will replace the Canadian Automated Export Declaration (CAED) system, being decommissioned in June 2020, at which time the CBSA will mandate electronic exporter declarations and no longer accept paper B13A declarations. The pilot phase will begin in January 2020.
Single Window Initiative
The Single Window Initiative (SWI) provides trade with a single point of entry for the advance electronic reporting of import data provided by importers and brokers to 10 Participating Government Agencies (PGAs) and 38 associated programs.
Of 574 clients, 478, or 83 percent, have completed their onboarding testing of the Integrated Import Declaration (IID). One percent of clients are actively testing and another one percent have applied but not yet started testing. Nine percent of clients have not applied to test, even as decommissioning of legacy service options—OGD release service options 463 and 471—has begun. (The remaining six percent of clients have indicated that they have service providers and do not need to test the system.)
The CBSA is looking at ways to use blockchain to facilitate trade, improve data quality, increase visibility in the trade chain, and reduce transactional burden.
The agency is currently participating in two blockchain pilots, designed to evaluate the capacity of the blockchain base solutions and determine what role, if any, the platforms could play in the CBSA’s business processes.
- IBM/Maersk TradeLens, at Port of Montreal: This pilot will determine if TradeLens improves risk assessment and provides more transparency of data upstream in the supply chain.
- Deloitte Container Examination Facility (CEF) Prototype, at Port of Vancouver: Monitoring through this pilot will determine if the prototype increases efficiency, reduces cost of operations, improves collaboration among key stakeholders and creates business value.
CBSA is making changes to its website to make information more easily retrievable and understandable to users, and to standardize the look and functionality with all Government of Canada sites. This is an agency-wide ongoing operation and will, at some point, involve user testing.