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Simplified entry pilot nears rollout

Friday, April 6th, 2012

As discussed previously in this blog, US Customs is set to begin a pilot program for simplified entry this spring.  The pilot, which will be undertaken in three ports (Indianapolis, Chicago and Atlanta), will include nine broker participants:  A.N. Deringer, Inc., Expeditors, FedEx Trade Networks, FH Kaysing, Janel Group of New York, Kuehne + Nagel Inc., Livingston International, Page & Jones Inc., and UPS.

The purpose of the pilot is succinctly defined by CBP as follows:

Simplified Entry provides importers with the chance to file earlier in the process with a streamlined filing, which can be amended – a first-time feature for the Trade. Because the Simplified Entry can be filed earlier, this allows for an expanded window of opportunity to identify potential risks to CBP. The capability for filers to update information will result in more accurate data for CBP, thereby enhancing cargo security.

Simplified entries must be filed in ACE, signaling the importance that the agency is placing on the successor system to AMS.

Division Director Steve Hilsen of the Office of International Trade addressed Simplified Entry pilot participants and CBP at the Chicago Field Office.

In advance of pilot kickoff, CBP held meetings for the trade in the three pilot ports, and discussed the initial rollout for air cargo, the first mode of transportation to be tested.

Customs’ coverage of the meetings can be found here, and the slide deck provided to attendees is available here.

ACE mandatory for sea and rail manifests on September 29

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

The 6-month countdown has begun.

After a successful pilot program (known as M1),  US Customs has announced that ACE will be the only CBP-approved EDI for transmitting required advance information for ocean and rail cargo to CBP, effective September 29, 2012.

As of that date, AMS will no longer be available for this purpose.

Here’s some additional information on scope of the M1 pilot:

To date, 24 trade participants have completed the certification testing described in the M1 test notice and are transmitting their advance ocean and rail cargo information in ACE. Another 11 trade participants are currently involved in certification testing. The port of Baltimore, Maryland began utilizing ACE for processing ocean cargo on November 30, 2011. The ports of Buffalo, New York and Brownsville, Texas began using ACE for processing ocean and rail cargo on December 5, 2011. To date, 91 ports are using ACE for ocean and/or rail processing.

Clearly, the march to full utilization of ACE is well underway.

The official Federal Register notice of the transition to ACE for e-Manifests (sea and rail) is available here.

CBP outlines benefits to the trade from ACE

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

As mentioned previously in this blog, one of US Customs’ top priorities is enhancement of ACE so that it may supplant ACS in two years as the main electronic filing system for import of cargo.

To that end, CBP has been touting ACE at every opportunity, as part of its mission to generate awareness and interest among the trade.  Customs has recently published a document, “Trade Benefits from the Automated Commercial Environment,” that does a fantastic job of setting out a summary of functionality currently deployed in ACE, as well as the benefits that accrue to various segments of the trade.

The functionality currently deployed includes:

  • e-Manifest:  Truck
  • e-Manifest: Rail and Sea
  • Entry Summary Filings
  • Post-Summary Correction filings
  • ACE Secure Data Portal Accounts
  • Periodic Monthly Statements
  • ACE Reporting

The document then outlines the specific benefits, by functionality, that apply to the following trade segments:

  • Trade Account Owners
  • Brokers
  • Carriers
  • Importers
  • Sureties

Interestingly, CBP also highlights benefits for Self-Filers; that is, those who self-file their customs entries. The benefits are numerous and significant, and are just another reason to direct file entries…in ACE.

The complete ACE benefits document is available here.

Changes proposed to CBP’s in-bond rules

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Last week, US Customs proposed significant changes to the agency’s current regulations relating to the in-bond process for imports.

The in-bond process allows imported merchandise to enter a US port without the importer being required to immediately pay duties; the goods are transported by bonded carrier to another US port, at which point duties are paid.  Alternatively, the cargo is exported without the need to pay duties.  CBP estimates that in-bond shipments represent 30-60% of all imports that move through US ports.

The most notable proposed changes include:

  • The elimination of the paper in-bond application (CBP Form 7512) and the new requirement to file the in-bond application electronically.
  • The establishment of a 30-day maximum time to transport in-bond merchandise between US ports for all modes of transport (90-day maximum for product moved by pipeline).
  • The requirement that carriers electronically request permission before diverting in-bond cargo from its originally intended destination port.

(CustomsNow already offers the ability to file in-bond movements electronically with Customs.  A Filer or SCAC code is required and we assist our clients in understanding the process to obtain these codes.)

The agency is accepting public comments to the proposed changes through April 23.  The full text of the proposed rule, as well as CBP’s commentary, can be found here.

e-Manifest: Trucks — updated user guide

Friday, February 24th, 2012

US Customs has just issued a newly updated user guide for e-Manifest:  Trucks, a capability that enables carriers to submit electronic truck manifests to CBP prior to a truck’s arrival at a US land border crossing.  The program offers the trade increased efficiency by saving valuable time at the border, reducing processing time, and offering online status tracking of trips.

The updated user guide now provides step-by-step instructions on how to create and submit an electronic manifest.  Other topics in the guide include:

  • Adding drivers, shippers, equipment to an account
  • In-bond shipment information
  • Creating unassociated shipments
  • And much more

The user guide is available here.

ACE – New report to see late ISF filings

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

US Customs has announced that a new ISF Report is available in ACE for importers and filers to monitor whether any of their own filings are late.  Note:  Although the report is available in ACE, it tracks ISFs filed in both ACE and ACS.

Users will need to subscribe to the “Late ISF Importer Report (PDF).”   Use the steps below to subscribe to the new report:

  1. After logging onto the ACE Secure Data Portal, select the References Tab.
  2. Select Launch ISF.
  3. Select Reports.
  4. Select Subscribe to Reports.
  5. Select the Late ISF Importer Report (PDF).

Filers are reminded that the “By Filer By Importer Report” is available in both a PDF and an Excel format.

CBP’s official notice is available here.

ACE: Microsoft IE 8 security patch removal

Friday, January 27th, 2012

US Customs has reported that the recently released Microsoft Internet Explorer version 8 security patch KB2585542 is not compatible with the current ACE application and has resulted in slow Portal performance.

While CBP works to find a resolution, the agency has proposed a potential interim solution — the removal of the security patch. Customs has provided steps “to back out the Microsoft Internet Explorer version 8 security patch KB2585542.”  The official notice containing the removal steps can be found here.   (Per CBP, these steps are not to be considered official guidance by Microsoft and are to be used at the ACE account owner’s discretion.)

ACE — emphasis and participation growing

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

As reported in American Shipper, the number of entries filed in ACE (as opposed to ACS, which is being phased out), has increased from 1% to 3% as of November 2011, a small yet signficant jump.  This is no doubt due to recent ACE enhancements, as well as the growing encouragement by CBP, and National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America, for the trade to transition to filing entries in the ever-improving ACE.

US Customs’s emphasis on ACE is quite apparent from the agency’s 2011 ACE Wrap-up:

January

  • CBP hosted a Webinar for brokers and importers on Working with ACE Forms and Declarations

February

  • CBP deployed fixes to AD/CVD Messages and the Entry Summary Universe report dates

April

  • CBP made a security update to the ACE Portal discontinuing the use of SSL 
protocol while maintaining the use of the TLS protocol
  • CBP hosted the 2011 Trade Symposium

May

  • A revised version of the Entry Summary Business Rules and Process Document 
was posted to CBP.gov

June

  • The first PSC entry summary was filed successfully in ACE production
  • A draft version of the PGA Message Set was posted to CBP.gov CBP successfully 
deployed Post Summary Corrections
  • An updated version of the Post Summary Corrections Web Based Training was 
made available to the trade

July

  • A link was provided from the ACE Portal to the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Portal for accounts to receive their monthly ISF Progress Reports
  • CBP began sharing data from the ACE Truck e-Manifest system with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

August

  • e-Manifest: Rail and Sea Web Based Training was made available to the trade
  • CBP successfully deployed ACE e-Manifest: Rail and Sea

September

  • CBP hosted a Webinar for brokers and importers on Post Summary Corrections
  • Mandatory use of post summary corrections for entry summaries file in ACE
  • CBP delivered the new Courtesy Notice of Liquidation Report
  • CBP hosted the Trade Support Network Plenary session

October

  • CBP hosted a Webinar for importers on the Courtesy Notice of Liquidation report

November

  • CBP began successfully accepting ocean manifests from trade participants in ACE

December

  • CBP began successfully accepting rail manifests from trade participants in ACE
  • Officers at Baltimore, Brownsville, and Buffalo began using
  • ACE M1 for all ocean 
and rail processing
  • CBP hosted a Webinar for rail and sea carriers on ACE portal navigation
  • CBP hosted a Webinar for rail and sea carriers, brokers and importers on running 
the new Multi-Modal Manifest Reports

The America Shipper article, “ACE participation picks up,” can be found here. (site registration required).  The ACE wrap-up, and other ACE related news, are available in CBP’s December 2011 ACE Trade Account Owner Update.

e-Manifest: Rail and Sea – CBP continues the migration to ACE

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

As part of its concentrated effort to make ACE the single system for Customs’ EDI transactions, US Customs recently launched a pilot program to accept electronic rail and sea manifests via ACE.  Building on the success of e-Manifest: trucks, CBP intends to run the pilot through approximately the end of the 3rd quarter of 2012.

Until that time, CBP will accept rail and sea manifests in both ACE and ACS  “to allow trade partners ample time to implement the required programming changes prior to the decommissioning of ACS for rail and sea manifests.”  At the conclusion of the pilot, ACS will be phased out for this purpose, and ACE will be the only CBP-approved EDI through which rail and sea manifests may be transmitted.  Watch for Federal Register notices in the coming months for updates.

Customs’ official notice of the pilot is available here.

On a related note, now that the pilot has launched, users may now run Multi-Modal Manifest Reports in ACE.  To that end, on Thursday, December 15, US Customs will offer a free webinar for the trade on running the MMM reports.  Learn more and register here.

Simplified entry pilot – update

Monday, December 5th, 2011

As mentioned in our blog post of November 14, US Customs was seeking applicants to participate in a simplified entry pilot for the air mode of transportation, a key priority of the agency.  Of the 40 applications submitted, CBP has selected 9 participants, and is in the process of notifying them.

Customs’ next step is to hold a meeting of all participants to discuss implementation, and will announce via CSMS message when the pilot will begin.

CBP’s update notice is available here.