CBSA pre-screening pilot project a sucess

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by Emily Atkins

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and UPS Canada have concluded a pilot project to test a digital pre-screening process.

The Virtual Cargo Pre-Screening proof of concept, held from May to November 2022, provided an opportunity to enhance the way goods are risk assessed prior to their arrival in Canada.

“This proof of concept is an example of the CBSA’s commitment to modernize its business processes by using data and electronic information to facilitate legitimate trade, while protecting the safety and security of Canadians,” said Fred Gaspar, vice-president, Commercial and Trade Branch, CBSA.

“This initiative represents the value and importance of strong collaboration with industry.”

For the proof of concept, UPS captured X-ray images of goods destined for Canada before they departed from Europe. The X-ray images were then transmitted to the CBSA Border Services Officers (BSOs) prior to arrival of the goods to Canada, along with other required pre-arrival shipment data, for use in their assessment of goods.

This gave Border Services Officers earlier access to supplemental information to aid decision making about shipments before their arrival in Canada.

The virtual cargo pre-screening process was tested on a proof of concept basis. It successfully demonstrated the viability of more efficient processes for goods entering Canada. It also allowed BSOs to receive additional information about shipments before their arrival.

The pilot also tested opportunities to reduce physical touchpoints for e-commerce goods to aid in managing growing volumes. It also evaluated the use of X-ray images to enhance the detection of goods that are non-compliant or illicit.

“UPS Canada is proud to have partnered with the CBSA on this innovative proof of concept. As global supply chains become increasingly complex, opportunities to explore new ways to leverage technology to facilitate legitimate trade are crucial,” said Tammy Bilodeau, vice-president of customs brokerage and compliance at UPS Canada.

“This project is a testament to the value of public and private sector collaboration to identify potential efficiencies in cross-border trade for Canadians.”

Border Service Officers are trained in examination and investigative techniques to detect and intercept prohibited goods entering Canada. Using intelligence, their experience, detection tools, and risk-based indicators, officers may decide to refer goods for further examination.

The procedural and operational lessons learned from this proof of concept project will inform the development of future commercial and trade modernization initiatives and improved border processes.

It is part of CBSA’s program of exploring new opportunities to modernize the way it conducts business. It is actively looking forĀ  partnerships and technological solutions that could facilitate trade while keeping the border safe.