935 - 01/14 - Canadian Carrier Code Clarifications - Canada

Following Bulletin 889, the following clarifications and responses have been received from the one of the Club’s Canadian Correspondents who have been in contact with the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) regarding Carrier Codes.

Marine carriers are required to transmit pre-arrival conveyance and cargo data electronically to CBSA under the ACI program. 

Correct. There are some exceptions outlined in the CBSA’s D memoranda (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d3/d3-5-1-eng.html)

Under the CBSA new carrier code policy, marine “agent” carrier codes to be phased out (extended up to January 30th 2014).

Correct. Clients who do not meet the eligibility requirements, including marine agents who are not directly engaged in the international commercial transportation of goods, are not eligible to receive or hold a carrier code. Marine agent codes will be deleted from CBSA systems. Agent codes were to be eliminated on January 30, 2014; however, the CBSA will work individually with clients to ensure they are ready prior to turning off their carrier code.


Customs Memorandum D3-1-1 defines carrier to assess carrier code eligibility.


For the most up-to-date definition of carrier code eligibility requirements, please refer to Customs Notice 13-014. An additional Customs Notice should be released in the coming weeks further clarifying the eligibility requirements.


If fit the definition of a carrier, each company under the marine mode to have its own valid unique carrier code to transact business with CBSA.


Each true carrier must have its own valid carrier code to transact business. However, an agent may continue to transmit ACI on behalf of a carrier using the carrier’s own code.


Carriers without their own unique code after 30th January 2014 in contravention of CBSA carrier code policy, however, soft enforcement/transition period.


All carriers are expected to have obtained their own carrier code by January 30, 2014. The CBSA will work with carriers who are unable to meet this deadline so we can work together to develop a compliance plan.


BSF 329-4 Form allows application by the carrier to obtain their own carrier code


Correct. BSF 329-4 is the marine carrier application form.


There are two types of carrier codes that can be obtained, “Non-Bonded” and “Bonded”


Correct. More information to assist a carrier in determining if they require a bonded or non-bonded code can be found on our website. Included on the website is a link to the Marine Application Guidelines which includes step-by-step instructions on how to complete the application form and D120 Customs Bond.


Applying Bonded carrier code – Form BSF 329-4 & Customs Bond Form D120 (Customs Memorandum D-1-7-1) & company ownership documents


Correct. Step-by-step instructions can be found on our recently re-vamped website. In the marine mode, the CBSA will accept the carriers International Maritime Organization (IMO) Unique Company and Registered Owner Identification number in lieu of company ownership documents.


Applying Non Bonded carrier code – Form BSF 329 & company ownership documents


Please refer to the website link.


Marine carrier code submissions to CBSA Commercial Registration Unit (carrier-cargo@cbsa.gc.ca)


Only non-bonded applications may be submitted via email. Bonded carrier code applications and the D120 customs bond must be submitted by mail as the original of the bond is required at time of application.


Carrier code is not mandatory for vessels coming to Canada and meets one of the ACI exemption eligibility (outlined in D Memorandum 3-5-2)




If unsure if qualify for the ACI exemption, contact the CBSA Border Information Service. If they do not qualify, a carrier code is required.


For questions about ACI exemptions, you may contact aci-ipec@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca



Basis developments, CBSA as well as Shipping Federation of Canada encourage carriers to continue to applying for their own carrier codes.


We understand that it takes approximately between 3 to 10 business days to obtain a carrier code once the application has been received by CBSA. The Shipping Federation of Canada, as well as most Canadian agents, has been recommending to their clients that all carriers apply for a bonded carrier code (unless they are operating a ship that arrives in Canada in ballast in order to load Canadian cargo). This is because CBSA requires carriers to have a bond for any unreleased cargo that is carried beyond the first port of arrival (FPOA) in Canada. This includes scenarios such as emergency stops or ship diversions (such as a ship being required to undergo an Asian Gypsy Moth inspection) that result in a change to the FPOA.


Further advice may be obtained from:


Sean Rozum

Shipowners Assurance Management Ltd

620 Rue St. Jacques, Suite 305

Montreal, Quebec H3C 1C7

Tel: 514-393-9864

Fax: 514-393-3848


Further sources of information regarding Carrier Codes can be found at the following locations:


Bulletin 899

UK P&I Club Article

UK P&I Club Article - Update

CBSA Website


Source of information


Sean Rozum - Shipowners Assurance Management Ltd



UK P&I Club Loss Prevention Dept


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