Glossary of Terms for Cross Border Shipping

  • ACE – Automated Commercial Environment. It is the U.S. electronic reporting system.
  • ACE MANIFEST – Cargo manifest for electronically reporting to CBP.
  • ACI – Advanced Commercial Information – It is the Canadian electronic reporting system.
  • Bill of Lading (BOL or B/L) – A binding contract for the receipt of goods delivered to the transportation provider for the shipment. It also includes a definition or description of the goods and turns into a POD (Proof of Delivery) once the goods are signed for and received by the receiver.
  • BOND – Means goods can travel without clearance to a bonded facility with a bonded carrier.
  • Canadian Bonded Carrier – A transportation provider that Canada Customs allows to carry customs-controlled merchandise between Customs points.
  • CBP – Customs Border Protection. This is U.S. Customs.
  • CBSA – Canada Border Services Agency. This is Canada Customs.
  • Certificate Of Origin – A document required by foreign governments to declare that goods in a particular international shipment are of a certain origin. Even though the commercial invoice usually includes a statement of origin, some countries require that a separate certificate be completed.
  • Customs Broker - a person or firm licensed by an importer's government and engaged in entering and clearing goods through Customs.
  • D.O.T. FORM – Department of Transportation Form, which is used for shipping vehicles or vehicle parts that fall under the DOT area of governance.
  • ENTRY NUMBER – A unique number that signifies that a shipment has been processed by a U.S. Customs broker for goods delivering into the U.S.
  • F.C.C. FORMS – Federal Communications Commission Form, which is used for shipping goods that give off a radio frequency.
  • FDA FORM – Food and Drug Administration Form, which is used for shipping goods that fall under the FDA area of governance (g. food, drugs, CD/ DVD drives that contain a laser, etc).
  • FDA PRIOR NOTICE – A notice sent to FDA in order for FDA to check whether goods will be allowed into the USA. Once FDA gives approval, the form must then be sent to the customs broker.
  • FILER – The Customs broker that files the entry for crossing the border.
  • FIRMS CODE – Facilities Information and Resources Management System (FIRMS). The FIRMS code is assigned to a location when a bond for that location has been filed with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The FIRMS location must be bonded and on file in the Automated Manifest System (AMS).
  • GST NUMBER – Government Sales Tax Number, which identifies the shipper/receiver in Canada to the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • I.T. BOND – In-transit bond. Goods that will travel without a border clearance and will clear at destination.
  • NAFTA - North American Free Trade Agreement, a comprehensive trade agreement that sets the rules of trade and investment between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. For more information please visit naftanoworg/facts/default_en.asp
  • P.O.A. – Power of Attorney. This must be given by the shipper/receiver to their customs broker so the customs broker can act on their behalf.
  • PAPS - Pre Arrival Processing System.
  • PARS – Pre Arrival Review System.
  • PORT CODE – A unique code given to every border crossing point.
  • REMOTE FILER – A customs broker with no presence at the border.
  • SURETY BOND – A contract between and among at least three parties. The surety serves as an assurance to the obligee that the principal will perform its obligations.
  • SCAC – Standard Carrier Alpha Code. A U.S. code uniquely used to identify road transport companies.
  • T.E. BOND – Temporary Export Bond. Utilized for goods that will travel through a country but will not stay in that country. Example: For goods that come out of Canada and travel through the U.S. to the final destination of Mexico, goods will clear in Mexico and not the U.S. Goods must travel through the U.S. on the Temporary Export Bond.
  • T.S.C.A. FORM – Toxic Substance Control Act Form used for shipping chemical substances.
  • TARIFF# – Number used to classify what type of commodity is being shipped.
  • TAX ID OR IRS # – Internal Revenue Service number that identifies the shipper/receiver in the U.S. to the IRS.
  • TRANSACTION NUMBER – A unique number assigned to a shipment that is processed by a Canadian Customs broker for goods delivering into Canada.
  • U.S. Bonded Carrier – A transportation provider that U.S. Customs allows to carry customs-controlled merchandise between Customs points.
  • UN Number – An internationally accepted four-digit number used to identify hazardous materials.

For more information on exports/imports go to www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/canada