The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is a modernization and automation of the United States’ trade processing systems. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is currently completing the deployment of core trade processing functionalities in ACE. When fully implemented, ACE will become the Single Window for information exchange between the U.S. government and the trading community.
Ocean ACE eManifest
Ocean carriers and non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs) are required to submit electronic cargo information to CBP via ACE at least 24 hours before the cargo is loaded onto the vessel at the foreign port. Not only does this help CBP officials plan for the movement and clearance of goods before shipments arrive in the US, the electronic filing allows customs officials to assess the risk of non-compliant and compliant shipments quickly and effectively.
ACE has been the only method of eManifest transmission for carriers in all modes of transport for some time now. Ocean AMS filings via the legacy Automated Commercial System (ACS) are no longer accepted. Ocean carriers submitting eManifests to CBP must do so in ACE via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
CBP deployed the eManifest data transmission function (M1) in ACE in 2011. In the ocean eManifest, carriers must include their Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC), detailed cargo descriptions, unique voyage indicator, place of receipt, foreign port of lading, date of arrival at the U.S. and more.
CBP must receive and validate the eManifest at least 24 hours before the cargo is loaded onto the vessel at the foreign port. Failure to submit complete, accurate and timely eManifests may lead to fines, criminal penalties, or delays at the port.
In addition to eManifest preparation and submission, ACE supports the following functionalities for ocean carriers:
· Create a list of trade partners who are authorized to use their bond to move in-bond cargo. ACE automatically determines whether an in-bond carrier is authorized to move goods using the importer’s bond.
· Vessel-operating common carriers can maintain conveyance records on all owned, leased or chartered vessels within their ACE Portal Account. This eliminates the need to file a manual update with CBP each time the vessel status changes.
· View continuous bond data.
· Receive information on which participating government agency has put their shipment on hold.
· Generate and share custom reports (12 reports are available to ocean and rail carriers).
Currently, the master or commander of a vessel transporting cargo from the U.S. to a foreign port must file CBP Form 1302A (Cargo Declaration Outward with Commercial Forms) or an electronic export manifest with copies of bills of lading or similar documents associated with all cargo on board the vessel.
The export eManifest is separate from the Electronic Export Information (EEI) that is filed by the importer or customs broker. Eventually, CBP plans to deploy electronic export manifest functionalities in ACE port by port to transition from paper-based to electronic processing.
Additional Requirements for Software for Ocean ACE
The Importer Security Filing (ISF) requirement went into effect in 2009, covering shipments bound for the U.S. by ocean vessel. Information on the ISF helps CBP identify high-risk shipments and improves security. Failure to comply with ISF requirements may lead to cargo delays, criminal penalties or fines.
Under the rule, importers/agents must submit 10 additional data elements and ocean carriers must submit two additional data elements to CBP before the shipment arrives in the U.S. For foreign cargo remaining on board (FROB), the ISF Importer is the carrier. The two required data elements for carriers are the Container Status Message and Vessel Stow Plan.
Container Status Message
For all containers onboard a vessel destined for any port in the U.S., the carrier must submit Container Status Messages (CSM) to CBP if CSMs are created or stored in the vessel’s equipment tracking system to report an event. The CSM must be on file with CBP no later than 24 hours after the CSM is entered into the equipment tracking system.
Events required to be reported include:
· Container booking confirmation, terminal gate inspection, and arrival or departure from a port, container yard or other facility
· Container loading or unloading from a vessel, feeder vessel, barge, rail or truck
· Container intra-terminal movements, stuffing or stripping orders, and stuffing or stripping confirmation
· Container stoppage for heavy repair
· Vessel leaving from or arriving at a port
Vessel Stow Plan
Incoming carriers must submit a vessel stow plan containing vessel and container information to CBP no later than 48 hours after the vessel departs from the last foreign port. For trips less than 48 hours in duration, CBP must receive the vessel stow plan before arrival at the first U.S. port. The stow plan or bay plan is a method for arranging, loading and storing different types of containers in a vessel to maximize shipping economy and safety.
Filing of additional data is done electronically in ACE via EDI or the ACE Secure Data Portal (low-volume filing only). Importers who file 12 or fewer transactions per year can submit the ISF via the ACE portal. Importers, carriers and sureties are able to access ISF progress reports in ACE. Filers can also query the status of submissions by transaction number and by bill of lading number.
GeTS Software for Ocean ACE
GeTS software for Ocean ACE is approved by CBP, meaning that GeTS has successfully completed systems testing with customs to ensure secure and smooth data exchange. GeTS software for Ocean ACE is flexible and available in multiple pricing and connectivity options. Whether you are an importer/exporter, carrier, NVOCC, freight forwarder or authorized agent, GeTS has the right solution for your business.
Web-Based ACE Ocean
The web-based ACE Ocean service is an online tool that allows filers to prepare and submit ocean eManifests and other required information to CBP within minutes. Subscribers only need an Internet connection to create and submit eManifests directly to CBP. Create multiple eManifests simultaneously from anywhere, save time with templates, receive notifications, track shipment statuses in real time, and generate reports for analysis.
Integrated XML ACE Ocean
GeTS Ocean ACE can be integrated with existing in-house systems such as ERP and other third party ACE applications. If you transmit multimodal eManifests, our comprehensive ACE Ocean software can be integrated with other GeTS software to streamline filing, customs processing and cargo clearance.
GeTS Full-Service Filing
Some companies choose to outsource ocean eManifest filing to a third party provider like GeTS so they can focus on their core business. Send the information to GeTS by fax or email, and we will prepare and submit the ocean eManifests on your behalf. You will receive real-time notifications and other CBP messages via SMS, email or phone. Access to the ACE Portal account is provided for tracking shipments and viewing notifications.
Visit our ACE Ocean page today to learn more about Software for Ocean ACE and get your 30-day free trial.