Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) moving goods into the United States know that proper documentation is critical to successful transport and customer satisfaction. Providing complete, accurate and timely documentation to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other regulatory agencies ensures that merchandise arrives safely and as scheduled at the intended destination.
The cost of paperwork involved in transporting international goods by air can be higher than the cost of domestic paperwork, but it should not discourage SMBs that often have limited resources. The United States’ Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is designed to simplify import and export trade and eliminate paper processes entirely. Advance documentation for inbound air cargo, including USA e-AWB data, must be submitted electronically through ACE.
USA e-AWB Data (e-Air Waybill) Submission
An air waybill (AWB) is a contract of carriage for air cargo issued by the carrier to the shipper. A house-level or house air waybill (HAWB) is the counterpart for cargo consolidated by a freight forwarder. AWB data and air eManifest data must be submitted to CBP prior to loading the cargo to the aircraft bound for the U.S. The number of air waybills to be submitted depends on the number of shipments and whether they are consolidated.
The ability to transmit advance electronic air waybill (e-AWB) data to CBP can help small and midsize businesses control costs and improve regulatory compliance. Because everything is electronic, SMBs can significantly reduce manual data entry, validation costs and associated labor costs, as well as the cost of processing, storing, transporting and submitting paper documents.
For SMBs that lack the capabilities or IT infrastructure to establish a direct connection to the U.S. ACE system, third parties provide software and connectivity services. An example is GeTS (a subsidiary of CrimsonLogic) ACE Air solution, which allows carriers and other trading partners to file air cargo eManifest and air waybill data to Customs through a direct, secure connection. The program also allows filers to submit air waybill data in any sequence.