Canadian Carrier Code Update

July 2013

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The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will be phasing out Canadian Carrier Code Numbers issued to the local vessel agencies on 15 July 2013. They have announced that carriers calling at Canadian ports will require a new carrier code to participate in its electronic system for advising cargo information prior to arrival. By 30 September 2013, every vessel owner, operator or manager must have their own carrier code for their fleet of vessels that are calling Canada.

Carrier codes are similar to the USA’s SCAC codes and used to identify the responsible carrier or agent on customs documentation such as port clearances and cargo manifests. Any operator sending a vessel to a Canadian port or transiting through the Saint Lawrence Seaway lock system will need their own carrier code number. The CBSA defines “carrier” as the company that controls the ship coming to Canada. This can include owners, operators, charterers, or managers. Only one carrier code is needed for all vessels under your company’s control. Carriers are required to apply directly for the surety bond from an insurance company and for the carrier code from the CBSA.

The application form for obtaining the carrier code can be downloaded from the CBSA website at:

Additional information can also be found on the CBSA’s website.  

Source: Witt O'Brien's Vessel Services Circular 011-13 of 3 July 2013