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  • 15 Jun 2020
  • Canada
  • USA
  • ACE
  • ACE Ocean
  • eCommerce
  • eTrade

ACE Ocean for eCommerce Shipments


Table of Contents:

ACE Ocean eManifest for eCommerce Shipments

Importer Security Filing (ISF 10+2 and ISF-5)

Parties Responsible for Filing

GeTS ACE Ocean for eCommerce Shipments

Global ecommerce has led to a spike in shipment volumes entering the United States. With the United States Mexico Canada Agreement or USMCA (also called NAFTA 2.0) raising the de minimis values in Canada and Mexico and entry Type 86 expanding Section 321 coverage in the U.S. to include regulated goods, more inbound low-value shipments are expected from all modes of transport, including ACE Ocean for eCommerce Shipments.


Businesses typically use ocean vessels to move large volumes of shipments around the world at a much cheaper rate than air transport. Importers, carriers and freight forwarders moving goods to the U.S. via boat are required to meet several documentation requirements. Electronic documents are processed through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and related systems.


The ACE initiative is a multimodal (ocean, air, rail and highway) cargo control and release notification system. Through ACE, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the trading community can communicate directly, exchange information, and track and manage submitted information about marine cargo moving in and out of the U.S.


Ocean carriers, non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs), importers and freight forwarders are required to use ACE to submit advance electronic manifest, Importer Security Filing (ISF) and other required information to CBP.


Failure to comply with ISF rules and eManifest requirements can lead to significant delays, more audits, and monetary and non-monetary penalties. Carriers and filers can always review the accuracy and timeliness of their filings in the ACE Portal.


ACE Ocean eManifest

ACE Ocean eManifest

The eManifest is an electronic document containing cargo, crew, passengers, conveyance, and equipment information. In general, ocean eManifests must be received and validated by CBP at least 24 hours before arrival at the port or before loading depending on the origin and type of goods.


For containerized, bulk, and break bulk cargo, the eManifest must be validated by CBP four hours before the vessel arrives, while eManifests for empty containers must be submitted 24 hours before arrival. If the voyage is less than 24 hours in duration, cargo and conveyance data must be reported at the time of departure from the foreign port.


Data elements to be included in the eManifest are the carrier’s SCAC, shipper and consignee information, vessel name and number, voyage number, estimated date and time of arrival at the U.S. port, port of loading, detailed cargo description, container numbers, and seal numbers. Ocean eManifests must be submitted to CBP via ACE.


ACE Ocean Importer Security Filing (ISF 10+2 and ISF-5)

ACE Ocean Importer Security Filing (ISF 10+2 and ISF-5)

CBP requires carriers and importers or their customs brokers to submit Importer Security Filing (ISF) data in addition to the ocean eManifest. ISF 10+2 applies to all marine shipments except for bulk and break bulk cargo.


The ISF 10+2 rule ensures that high risk shipments transported by marine carriers cannot enter the country and cause damage. CBP can better target these shipments when they can review cargo data before the shipment is loaded onto the vessel at the foreign port. Advance reporting also expedites the release of legitimate marine cargo.


Parties Responsible for Filing


The importer of record is responsible for submitting the ISF to CBP. The importer is typically the owner, buyer, or the party causing the goods to enter the limits of a port in the United States. An authorized agent like customs broker may also submit the ISF on behalf of the importer.


The carrier (also considered the ISF Importer in this case) is responsible for filing the ISF for foreign cargo remaining on board (FROB). For immediate exportation (IE), transportation and exportation (T&E) in-bond shipments, and goods destined for a foreign trade zone (FTZ), the ISF Importer is the party responsible for filing the IE, T&E, or FTZ documentation.


NVOCCs delivering cargo to the carrier vessel at the foreign port may transmit the electronic cargo declaration to CBP via ACE if the NVOCC is registered with the Federal Maritime Commission and has an International Carrier Bond. If the vessel carrier will file the cargo declaration, the NVOCC must provide the required cargo details to the carrier.


The following data elements are required in the ISF:




Ship to Name and Address

Importer of Record Number/FTZ Applicant Identification Number

Consignee Number

6-digit Commodity Number

Manufacturer Name and Address

Seller Name and Address

Buyer Name and Address

Consolidator Name and Address

Container Stuffing Location

Country of Origin of Goods


For FROB, IE, and TE shipments, the importer must include the following data:


Booking party

Foreign port of unlading

Place of delivery

Ship to party

Commodity HTSUS number




Vessel Stow Plan


The vessel stow plan identifies the location of all numbered containers aboard the vessel. It must include the vessel name with IMO number, vessel operator, voyage number, container operator, equipment number, equipment size and type, stow position, hazmat code (if applicable), port of lading, and port of discharge. CBP must receive the stow plan no later than 48 hours after the ship leaves the last foreign port or before arrival in the U.S. if the voyage is less than 48 hours.


Container Status Message


If the carrier creates or collects a container status message (CSM) in its equipment tracking system, the carrier must report the message to CBP no later than 24 hours after the CSM is entered into the system. The CSM report must include the event code, container number, date and time of the event, container status (empty or full), location, and vessel identification.


Data Transmission


To participate in ACE Ocean, carriers, NVOCCs, and port authorities must have a system that is able to exchange data with CBP. Most marine carriers use the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) method of transmission for the preparation and filing of required e-documents. Others opt to work with a service provider like Global eTrade Services (GeTS) that offers ACE Ocean and other customs processing solutions.


GeTS ACE Ocean for eCommerce Shipments

GeTS ACE Ocean for eCommerce Shipments

GeTS ACE Ocean is an industry leading service that allows marine carriers, freight forwarders and related participants to submit cargo and conveyance data electronically to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) via Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).


ACE Ocean is M1 enabled and CBP approved, greatly simplifying marine customs processing and improving compliance with CBP regulations.


Features and benefits:


Quick preparation and filing of ACE Ocean cargo and conveyance data for bulk shipments

Streamlined and easy-to-use interface

Full audit trail and reporting to improve compliance with CBP regulations

Multiple submission protocols (FTP, sFTP, SMTP AS2 and Web Services)

24/7 customer support via email and chat

Multiple plans and pricing options: web-based app, advanced integration, and GeTS filing


Web-based. Ideal for on-the-go filing. Allows 24/7 connectivity anywhere with a computer and Internet connection.

Advance integration. Connects existing in-house systems via VAN flow to CBP ACE to make bulk data transmission quick and seamless.

Direct filing. GeTS can file all ocean e-declarations on your behalf. Simply email or fax the documents to us and we will take care of filing and processing. You can view shipment status notifications and other CBP messages in your ACE Portal account.


Before using GeTS ACE Ocean to submit eManifests, carriers must have an international carrier (C3) bond in the amount of $50,000 (MVOCC/NVOCC) and a Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) bond or Ocean Transportation Intermediary (OTI) bond (NVOCC). The FMC bond (around $150,000) is used to cover any infractions that the forwarder might incur while moving cargo into the U.S.


Learn more by visiting our ACE Ocean for eCommerce Shipments page or contact us today!





Related Pages:

CBP Entry Type 86 Clearance for eCommerce Shipments

What Importers Need to Know About Section 321 Entry Type 86

ACE Marine

ACE eManifest Requirements for U.S. (CBP)

Border Crossing ACE eManifest

Section 321 eManifest

ACE (Automated Commercial Environment)

Border Crossing eManifest

Benefits that Enterprises Gain from Automated Commercial Environment US

Benefits of Using ACE US

What is SW - Single Window US?

Benefits of Using USA Single Window