The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) eManifest program is part of the U.S. government’s initiative to increase border security while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade. ACE eManifest requires trade participants to submit advance information about the cargo, conveyance, trip, crew, passenger and other details electronically.
Electronic import manifests for all modes of transport (truck, air, rail and sea) must be filed in the ACE system. ACE serves as a single window for electronic data exchange between the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and trade participants, including partner government agencies.
Carriers or their authorized agents must use ACE to provide required pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data to CBP. With advance eManifest data, CBP can better determine the risk level of each shipment and target high-risk goods. Along with formal entry filings, ACE eManifest submissions also help customs officials ease border congestion and facilitate the release of low-risk, legitimate cargo.
After submitting an eManifest via ACE, CBP will notify the sender whether the manifest is accepted or rejected. A rejected message usually requires correction or completion of submitted information. Once the shipment status shows “accepted,” the driver can head to the border. At the border, the driver must present the lead or cover sheet with the trip number, driver name, tractor and trailer plate, release type (usually The Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS)), Shipment Control Number (SCN), and brief description of the goods. If everything is in order, the driver can cross. Otherwise, the cargo may undergo further inspection before release.
ACE eManifest Truck/Highway
Highway carriers are responsible for submitting advance electronic cargo and conveyance information to CBP at least one hour (non-FAST carriers) or 30 minutes (FAST carriers) before arriving at the border. Truck eManifests can be submitted to CBP via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) connection, the ACE Secure Data Portal, or third-party software. EDI is a method of direct data exchange between two computer systems, while the ACE Portal is a web-based application that connects to CBP and other government agencies.
eManifests for all other modes of transport must be sent to CBP via ACE EDI connection. For high-volume users, direct EDI connection with CBP or the use of dedicated third-party software is highly recommended.
ACE eManifest truck has many benefits for carriers and customs brokers.
- Carriers can send cargo details to the entry filer’s ABI (Automated Broker Interface) to reconcile eManifest and entry information. A secondary party can also receive shipment notifications from CBP. ACE speeds up processing (29 percent faster than the old system) and allows carriers to submit eManifests to CBP efficiently.
- Carriers can record and monitor data related to trucks, drivers, equipment, shippers and consignees in ACE to eliminate repetitive data entry and associated errors.
- Carriers can request in-bond moves from the manifest and report the arrival of in-bond freight.
- ACE allows carriers to search the status of eManifests and amend truck eManifests filed via ACE EDI or the ACE Portal.
The Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program allows low-risk commercial shipments to enter the U.S. from Canada and Mexico. FAST aims to accelerate the processing and release of commercial carriers that have met certain customs requirements and completed background checks. Truck drivers from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are all eligible to apply for the FAST program. All supply chain participants, including the manufacturer, importer and driver, must be certified under the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) program to join FAST.
FAST carriers have dedicated lanes at land border ports to facilitate the clearance of shipments. The majority of these ports are located along the northern (Washington, Michigan, New York) and southern (from California to Texas) borders. Other benefits of FAST are fewer examinations for continued compliance with FAST requirements and secondary priority processing. FAST carriers also have strong partnerships with the Canadian Partners in Protection (PIP) and customs (C-TPAT) administrators to facilitate the movement of goods.
To become FAST carriers, drivers must complete a FAST Commercial Driver Application for the United States and Canada. Applicants identified as low risk by CBP and Canada customs will be interviewed and documented before being issued a FAST Commercial Driver Card. A trip qualifies for the 30-minute FAST privilege if the carrier and importer is C-TPAT approved and the driver has a FAST card. FAST drivers must submit eManifest data to CBP at least 30 minutes before arrival.
ACE eManifest Rail and Sea
ACE eManifest Rail and Sea allows rail and ocean carriers or their authorized agents to send pre-arrival cargo and conveyance data to CBP. Rail carriers must submit eManifest data to CBP no later than 24 hours before cargo is loaded at the foreign port, while ocean carriers must transmit import eManifests 24 hours before loading the cargo on the vessel at the foreign port.
ACE provides a comprehensive view of all rail and ocean shipments, manifest data and entry data at the bill of lading or container level. Customs officials assess the risk level of each shipment based on rail and sea eManifest data, facilitating the release of legitimate cargo and tagging high-risk shipments.
For brokers, ACE increases the number of Secondary Notify Parties to 25 and extends the broker download feature to ocean shipments. ACE notifies rail and ocean carriers which government agency has held the cargo and the reason for the hold. Rail carriers can create and maintain trade partner authorization to use custodial bonds. ACE allows CBP officers to place and remove holds at multiple levels.
Sea carriers can also submit all bills associated with a Vessel Stow Plan when the Vessel Operating Carrier (VOC) or CBP reports the arrival of the vessel. Through the ACE Portal, sea carriers can create and maintain vessel information by trade partners.
ACE eManifest Air
Air carriers or their authorized agents are responsible for transmitting pre-arrival cargo data to CBP via ACE. This includes air waybill (AWB) information for non-consolidated shipments, master air waybill data for consolidated shipments, and all associated house air waybills. The air waybill details the carrier’s responsibility to transport cargo to the ultimate consignee. Air import eManifest data must be submitted to CBP via ACE EDI before the cargo is loaded onto the aircraft at a foreign port.
For customs officials, advance air eManifest data improves risk assessment of inbound cargo even before cargo is loaded onto the aircraft at the origin port. Customs can better target high risk and dangerous air shipments while accelerating the release of legitimate cargo. For carriers and brokers, ACE eManifest for air eliminates time-consuming paper processes and reduces the cost of maintaining paper records.
Air eManifest standardizes reporting formats and provides templates to improve the quality, consistency and accuracy of submitted information while reducing rework. Pre-arrival air eManifest data also cuts total cycle and clearance processing time. Real-time notifications inform carriers and ground handling agents about the status of shipments as well as special handling procedures.
GeTS ACE eManifest Solutions
Now that eManifest requirements are mandatory for all modes of transport, technology plays an important role to ensure compliance and smooth cross border trade. Many businesses choose to partner with a CBP-approved software provider like Global eTrade Services (GeTS) to access cost-effective and industry leading ACE eManifest solutions. GeTS provides comprehensive solutions for ACE Highway, Rail, Ocean, and Air. Multiple connectivity options are available: web-based, fax or email, or integration with existing systems.
GeTS eManifest solutions feature a secure corporate account for enterprise users, 24/7 customer support (including expert assistance on customs compliance issues), streamlined and easy-to-use application that reduces data entry, multiple plans, and connectivity options. There are no extra charges for the set-up and no hidden fees. Visit our website to learn more about ACE Highway, ACE Air, ACE Ocean or to register for 30-day free trial.