New Data Requirements for Cross-Border Transportation of Goods
ACE - Automated Commercial Environment
WHAT IS ACE
- the implementation for trucks to submit an electronic manifest (e-Manifest: Trucks, or simply, e-Manifest) for the truck, trailer, and driver(s) in electronic form
WHAT ARE THE NEW REQUIREMENTS?
- the U.S. Trade Act of 2002 requires all trucks to submit an e-Manifest covering the truck, trailer, crew, and goods, and that the e-Manifest arrive one hour before the truck arrives at the border crossing
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
- carriers are responsible for transmitting e-Manifests for all trips (including the boarded goods) to the U.S. If you use a contracted carrier they will be responsible for generating and transmitting eManifests for their trips. If they are not equipped to meet these new eManifest requirements, it will be your goods that will be held at the border. It would be in your best interests to determine now whether those carriers are equipped to meet these eManifest requirements. We will, of course, be happy to assist any of those carriers in their compliance efforts.
IS IT ALREADY BEING IMPLEMENTED?
- it has been fully implemented along the U.S./Mexico border, and is now being phased in on the U.S./Canada border from west to east. The final group of major ports on the US/Canada border will have mandatory compliance on May 24, 2007. After that date, any carrier arriving at a port crossing without having filed an eManifest will simply be denied entry to the U.S.
IS THIS SYSTEM ONLY FOR TRUCKS?
- this system is already in place for rail, ocean, and air carriers
CAN I WAIT UNTIL IT IS MANDATORY?
- the message from CBP is: If you’re an early-adopter (going live with ACE compliance before the deadline), Customs Officers are likely to view your firm as having an excellent handle on the whole customs clearance process and far more likely to wave you through a crossing.
HOW DO COMPLY?
- Every carrier (including shippers who operate their own trucks) is required to register with CBP for the ACE system. You can download the application at http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/about/modernization/ace_app_info/. On registration, you will be assigned an ACE number and given access to the ACE ‘portal’ on the CBP website. At that point you should enter each of your drivers, trucks, and trailers on the website and each will be assigned an ACE number. Note that FAST carriers who register for ACE will automatically have their FAST-approved conveyance and crew information transferred to the ACE site.
AS AN EXPORTER, WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
- there are a few options:
1) Create e-Manifests on CBP’s ACE portal on their website. You will need to enter all the information for each truck, trailer, driver, and shipment details for each trip. Experience shows that you can expect to spend about ½ hour to complete this exercise for each truck, for each trip.
2) Transmit the data directly from your own computer system to CBP using EDI (Electronic Data Interchange.) This requires custom programming to create the EDI electronic messages as well as a secure data transmission connection to communicate with CBP. This is an expensive arrangement for each exporter to implement individually.
3) A variation on the above is to have a shared connection and an adaptable software package to take advantage of the integration with your existing data but without the extensive communications and development costs. This is what Mitterra ACE represents.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON PAPS
Exporters currently using PAPS will be accustomed to using one unique PAPS number per trip. Under ACE, you will need to assign a unique number to each shipment (i.e. each consignee) on that trip instead. CBP is suggesting that when you adopt ACE live, you continue to use your PAPS numbers but that you apply a separate one to each shipment on the trip. It’s a simple way of ensuring that each shipment gets a unique Shipment Control Number (SCN.) Your broker must use those same SCN's for creating the Entries.
The e-Manifest will use the SCN (along with a fairly generic description of the goods) to identify the shipments on a Trip. CBP will match up the two to know in detail what’s on the truck. The e-Manifest system also includes a feature where CBP will send some shipment data from your e-Manifest to the individual broker(s) to allow them to compare quantities, etc. and flag differences for resolution before the truck arrives at the border.
WILL I STILL NEED DOCUMENTS AT THE BORDER CROSSINGS?
CBP is recommending:
- that drivers be supplied with the complete set of printed documentation (including the printed manifest they have traditionally used) but that all of this documentation be kept in a sealed envelope
- these documents are only given to the customs officer when they are specifically requested (for example, in the event the eManifest system is "down" and customs officers are doing manual clearances.)
- supply the driver with a one-page summary of the submitted e-Manifest with the unique Trip Number in bold lettering and, if possible also rendered as a barcode. This is particularly important if the specific truck crosses more than once on a given day. The agent can simply scan the barcode and be assured that the right trip information is presented on their screen. This summary page should also contain information about the truck, the driver, and the SCN's and generic product description(s) of the boarded goods
The reason this is so important is that during phase-in, CBP is creating “shell” e-Manifests if a real e-Manifest is not already in the system. If they mistype the trip number or scan a PAPS sticker and treat it as a Trip Number, no match will be found against your submitted e-Manifest and the individual shipments will be moved from your real e-Manifest to the “shell” e-Manifest. Then, from their perspective, the truck for your submitted e-Manifest never shows up and problems start. The net result: you’ll wind up in secondary inspection for sure and possibly be refused entry. In short, don’t show them any number except the real Trip Number, preferably in barcode format, so they can’t mistype it.