The Canada Customs Coding Form or the B3 Form is an online accounting report that has to be electronically submitted to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) so that shipments can be processed through customs to allow their entry into Canada. Most large business enterprises outsource their custom processes to a broker who can manage them more efficiently thereby allowing the enterprise to concentrate on its core activities.
But there are a few challenges with respect to goods visibility, product allocation and control of processes, and the cost-effectiveness of the overall supply chain when enterprises consider this option. Business enterprises must put in that extra effort to manage global customs filings and accurately communicate with trading partners and authorities regarding all cross-border transactions.
Traditionally, custom brokers and freight forwarders have managed the import process. Since the inception of trade relations between the countries, the relationship between the importer, customs broker, customs, and freight forwarder has been in place. Complex logistics documentation and requirements along with specialization that is necessary to deal with international carriers, suppliers, and customs is what the relationship grew out of.
The customs broker has played an important role as an intermediary between the importer and customs. The custom broker facilitates the filing and remittance in an impartial manner protecting the importer from prosecution or penalties.
For transporting goods between Canada and USA, B3 forms are a necessity. Processing B3 forms in an inaccurate or ineffective manner can seriously hamper the business enterprise’s supply chain thereby greatly impeding delivery time.
To achieve high accuracy levels and reduced turnaround time custom brokerage firms also outsource B3 form building to an expert customs brokerage support service provider thereby allowing the brokerage firm to process larger volumes of transactions, focus on the core aspects of customs brokerage and better serve their customers and bringing about improvements in the supply chain.
Recent studies from Info Trends and AIIM have shown that scanning paper documents into business processes will always be present and many business enterprises have actually witnessed an increase in paperwork due to new regulations and increased business growth. If deployed properly with the use of the latest capture technology, document scanning can reap rich dividends for custom brokerage firms. But mistakes during system implementation can delay the movement of goods across the borders as the details in the B3 forms may not match the shipment.
Custom brokerage companies first scan all the documents related to the shipment into images. The documents set for each shipment are assigned unique docket numbers and are made available on the secure servers (Document Management System) for data entry. The scanned documents can also be directly sent to the customs brokerage support service provider by the customs brokerage firm by e-mail or fax to initiate the other steps involved in B3 form building.
Authorized employees of the customs brokerage support service provider access the Document Management System (DMS) of the brokerage firm through a VPN network for the purpose of indexing and sorting them. Indexing is used for faster retrieval of data from the database. Using one or more columns in a table, an index can be created and stored in a separate file.
Having unique indices will remove duplicate values of the index making the data retrieval more efficient. Sorting helps in arranging items in a specific order. Multiple fields can be used in sorting such as sorting addresses using states and sorting cities inside states.
A document management system provides all the scalability, security, and easy-to-use user interfaces that are required by the business enterprise. An index file is created through indexing that contains the rows in a logical order along with their physical position in the table and sorting, on the other hand, stores a copy of the sorted table.
The benefits of indexing and sorting are the reduction of physical space requirements and quicker document search and retrieval. The shipment documents provided by the customs brokerage firm are indexed, sorted, and put through a fundamental front-end data entry.
Based on shipment value and priority, the invoices are selected from the document management system which will be used for B3 form generation. The scanned documents from the DMS pertaining to a particular shipment have to be verified before the data entry process is started. Electronic worksheets, valuation notes, and CADEX (Customs Automated Data Exchange) notes are also reviewed. CADEX is extremely important as above 97% of commercial entry documents that are processed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are transmitted via CADEX.
After the shipment documents have been scanned, the team members of the customs brokerage support service provider begin data entry into the B3 form by carefully selecting the information that is available from multiple documents. The appropriate values are calculated wherever applicable for completing the B3 form. Fundamental data elements which include the country of origin, country of export, date of direct shipment, and purchase order (PO) are freely available in different supporting documents.
Other variables such as discounts, insurance, and customs duty to the declared invoice are calculated accordingly so that they can be input into the B3 form. The applicable value for duty code (VFD), tariff treatment, NAFTA status, and Incoterms2000 have to be taken into account as these can drastically impact the details that are entered into the B3 form.
At every step of B3 form generation, quality control must be carried out to ensure that no errors creep into the data that is entered into the B3 form. Each and every entry in the B3 form is reviewed to identify any omissions or unaccounted variables. The completed B3 form is submitted only after the accuracy of critical details is verified by quality assurance experts.
The team members are adequately trained to understand how each element in the entered data affects quality and also the importance of retention of records for objective evidence. Any mistake in the entered data can result in the shipment being held at the border for a long time thereby causing inconvenience to the client.
The completed B3 form must be error-free for the smooth transport of goods between the borders. The CBSA Compliance Verification Program primarily focuses on tariff classification, value, and tariff treatment which are also the three elements that are identified in the Customs Act 32.2. Any errors in these three data elements can trigger AMPS penalties and ‘Reason to Believe.
These data elements can be affected by certain fields in the B3 form such as Country of Origin, Place of Export, Currency Code, Classification number, etc. An expert customs brokerage support service provider can ensure that these errors do not occur and the shipment of goods clears customs without any hassles or delays.