Bonded Carrier Vs. Non-Bonded Carrier

Bonded Carrier Vs. Non-Bonded Carrier

What is a bonded carrier, and what benefits do bonded carriers have? To bond or not to bond: That is the question we will answer in this article.

What Is A Bonded Carrier?

Bonded carriers can bring a load of goods past the port of entry into Canada to an authorized location without customs release. They can do this because they were required to post financial security for $ 5,000 to $25,000 with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

What Is Bonded Freight?

In-bond shipments are freight that is not released at the border. A bonded carrier transports the cargo inland. CBSA can release it or pass it through Canada to another importing country.

Carriers who have a bond can only carry in-bond shipments. With this in mind, let us take a look at the process of transporting bonded freight. The in-bond process begins when the bonded carrier elects to put the shipment in-bond rather than have it released at the border. We do this for a number of reasons or at the importer’s request.

The In-Bond Process:

  1. The bonded carrier declares the shipment as an in-bond shipment to CBSA.

                 a. The carrier reports the shipment as in-bond on the ACI eManifest.

                  b. The driver tells the border officer that the load is in bond by showing a paper form (A8A) for the cargo.

  1. The CBSA officer will authorize the movement of the shipment.
  2. The carrier can then deliver the shipment to a specified sufferance warehouse or another CBSA office to await Customs release.
  3. The carrier must wait for a Customs Broker or the importer to file a formal entry. The carrier can deliver the goods from the warehouse only after doing this.

Benefits Of Bonded Carriers

Bonded carriers can:

  • Move goods to an inland CBSA office (not located at the border) to have the shipment released;
  • Move goods "in transit" through Canada. The bonded carrier through Canada to travel between two points outside of Canada. You do not need a release by CBSA;
  • Apply to the Customs Self Assessment Program and the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Program.

Limitations Of Non-Bonded Carriers

A non-bonded carrier must have the shipment they are carrying released at the first point of arrival (i.e., the border).

Can A Non-Bonded Carrier Carry A Bonded Load?

Yes, but they must purchase a single-trip bond. As mentioned previously, only a bonded carrier has the entitlement to use the in-bond process. Carriers with codes starting with 1 or 7 and not bonded. They will require a single trip bond to move bonded goods.

What Is A Single Trip Bond?

A carrier can obtain a single trip authorization bond by either posting security with CBSA using cash or a certified cheque. Customs Brokers also provide this service.

Carriers must file single trip authorization bond applications with security at the first point of arrival in Canada.

Need A Single Trip Bond? Purchase One From Us Here

Can A Non-Bonded Carrier Use A Bonded Carrier's Code?

Yes, if the non-bonded carrier/driver can provide evidence to CBSA at the time of arrival that they are under exclusive contract with the bonded carrier whose carrier code they are using. Therefore, a letter of authority will no longer suffice.

How To Become A Bonded Or Non-Bonded Carrier

Now that we understand what a bonded carrier can do, let's look at how to become one. The first step to becoming a bonded carrier is to obtain a carrier code from CBSA. This has been a requirement for commercial carriers since April 1, 2011.

A carrier code is a four-character unique identifier provided by CBSA to identify the carrier. There is a limit of one carrier code per legal company and per mode of transport.

Before CBSA issues a carrier code, they will first assess eligibility. For CBSA, a carrier is a person involved in international commercial transportation who operates a conveyance used to transport specified goods to or from Canada. Additionally, to operate a conveyance means to have legal custody and control of the conveyance.

"Legal custody" means you are the owner, lessee, charterer, or mortgagor. "Specified goods" means commercial goods or any other goods transported into Canada for a fee.

How To Become A Non-Bonded Carrier

To obtain a non-bonded carrier code, apply with proof of ownership. The BSF329-7: The application form is to Transact Highway Operations with the CBSA.

It's important to note that an officer of the company with legal signing authority must sign the application. Submit the scanned copy to CBSA at The application takes about a month to process, and there is no fee if you deal with CBSA directly.

Need Help Applying For A Carrier Code? Contact Us For Help Here

How To Become A Bonded Carrier

The process to become a bonded carrier is more in-depth than the non-bonded application. This is because carriers must work with an approved surety company to initiate the bond application process. Again, the carrier must post financial security of $5,000 - $25,000. These applications must include company financials due to a review process.

We recommend that carriers review the CBSA Guidelines: Highway Carrier Code Application Process on the CBSA website, as it is a clear guide. As a result of a carrier submitting a properly completed application with all applicable documentation, the carrier should receive its bonded carrier code within three business days. CBSA reviews applications on a first come, first serve basis, and "rush" requests are prohibited.

Need Help With Your Bonded Carrier Code Application? Contact Us For Help Here

Barcode Labels

Once the bonded or non-bonded carrier code application is approved, the carrier must obtain barcode labels. These labels display their bonded carrier code. Upon receiving a carrier code, carriers will have 30 days to obtain barcoded labels. Failing to have these upon arrival at the border can result in an administrative penalty of $1000

Need Barcode Labels? Purchase Them From Us Here: Download Your Barcode Label Order Form

Signatory Requirements

CBSA requires a signature of the Owner, President, CEO, Executive Director, or a similar high-ranking official with signing authority.

A different company official can sign on behalf of the organization; however, a certified copy of the bylaws authorizing the signature is required. The signature of a witness is also necessary.

Share this post
About Author
PCB Group

PCB Customs Brokers, PCB Freight Management

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.