Monitoring developments through the Shipping Federation of Canada
BIMCO has been monitoring developments through the Shipping Federation of Canada in respect of changes being made to the eligibility criteria for carrier codes required for vessels trading to Canada.
Under new procedures being put in place by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the party having legal custody and control of the vessel (where “control” means responsibility for determining how and where the vessel is employed) will be the eligible entity for a carrier code. This is understood to be the vessel owner (other than a financial institution or bank) or, if on charter, the time charterer. Canadian-based subsidiaries of an overseas company will no longer be eligible entities and their carrier code must be re-registered in the parent company’s name. Companies involved in vessel-sharing agreements will still be able to report their own on-board cargo provided their carrier code has been registered to their parent company. The changes mean that ship agents will no longer be eligible to hold a carrier code.
A Customs Notice setting out the position in detail will be issued in due course. In the meantime, existing carrier code holders will be contacted by CBSA to establish their position under the new arrangements.
On a related issue, unreleased goods cannot be transported beyond the first port of arrival (FPOA) in Canada without a Customs Bond. This includes situations where the FPOA changes unexpectedly, such as seeking refuge or for repairs or where the Canadian Food Inspection Agency orders a gypsy moth inspection. Since the requirement for original signatures on supporting documentation is likely to lead to delay in processing requests and because a vessel will be unable to proceed pending issue, applications for bonds should be made when applying for a carrier code to avoid later delays.
Once the revised arrangements have been finalised by CBSA, the BIMCO North American Advance Cargo Notification Clauses, respectively for time and voyage charter parties, will be updated to reflect the new requirements.