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Customs recon: Is ACE currently the best source for data?

Monday, March 16th, 2015


Some in the trade are unclear about how to handle reconciliation entries (type 9) that are filed in ACE via one customs broker, but where the actual reconciliation is handled by another broker.   Specifically, the issue is whether the importer, the original filing broker and the recon broker all have access to information via ACE.

The short answer is that in ACE, the importer has access to entry data filed by all brokers, and is able to share those detailed entry reports with the broker filing the reconciliation.  However, based on recent experience, currently the best and most accurate reporting for reconciliation purposes is STILL use of the ITRAC report.  This includes complete entry data as well as a “recons due” report (and many other views) to ensure that all underlying flagged entries are properly closed out.  ITRAC, used in conjunction with CBP’s Master Extract, paints the best picture for recon.

At this time, ACE reports can be used as a third source to validate questions, but there remain issues and inconsistencies with the data when it comes to recon.  Once ACE supplants ACS as US Customs’ official system of record on October 1, 2016, it is expected that ACE reports will be the definitive source for recon data.

In the meantime, importers may request ITRAC and Master Extract reports from CBP.  We encourage importers to make requests close to the time they begin working their recons, so that any post-entry activity (e.g., refund amount, tariff changes etc.) is captured in the data, making the recon filing process less painful.  The foregoing, of course, also applies to US importers that self-file their own recon entries without the use of a broker.




ACE: Sign up for March 16 webinar on PGA Single Window

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

seal_aceRegister now for next week’s webinar, hosted by the Border Interagency Executive Council, which will discuss the Participating Government Agency (PGA) Single Window.  As many in the trade are aware, US Customs’ new ACE system will become the Single Window – the primary system through which the trade community will report imports and exports to CBP and other agencies having jurisdiction.

Currently, CBP and 47 PGAs are working to enable shippers to file cargo entries in ACE.   The webinar will focus on progress made by three of those agencies – Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The webinar, which is free of charge, will run from 2 – 3 PM ET on Monday, March 16.  Future webinars will follow.

How many shippers are filing in ACE and how are they using it?

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

In US Customs’ latest ACE Monthly Trade Update (January 2015), CBP provides the most recently available statistics in its ACE Adoption Rate Monthly Report for December 2014.  Among the data is a general overview of ACE user statistics, showing primarily an uptick in activity in most categories:

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.16.58 AM

In addition, the report demonstrates an increase in both cargo entry and entry summary submission rates (see tables below).  Note the difference in the total entries submitted in ACS vs. ACE for both categories.  For entry summary, nearly half of entry summaries were filed in ACE, compared to less than 4% of cargo entries.

This disparity makes sense in that CBP has been focusing its technical efforts on entry summary first, which is further along in implementation than cargo entry functionality.  Currently, ACE cargo entry is still lacking a tie-in to all 47 Participating Government Agencies (PGAs), so importers with non-CBP agencies having jurisdiction over their import shipments cannot yet file cargo entries in ACE, and are relegated to ACS.  Even so, it is clear that a notable portion of these importers file their entry summaries in ACE to take advantage of ACE’s many benefits, including enhanced, robust reporting, e-bonds, as well as the ability to file electronic Post-Summary Corrections (PSCs) in ACE up to 270 days after the date of entry.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 12.18.15 PM

In any event, soon this distinction will be moot.  On November 1, 2015, CBP will mandate use of ACE for all electronic cargo release and related entry summary filing.  Since this deadline is just 9 months away, make sure that your ABI system (or your broker’s, if you’re not direct filing yet) is ACE-Certified.  (The first ACE deadline is May 1, 2015, when CBP will mandate the use of ACE for all e-manifest filing.)

For more statistics — and other ACE updates — see the ACE Monthly Trade Update (January 2015).

ACE’s “Single Window” to modernize PGA interactions for importers

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

seal_aceImporters whose cargo release is conditioned on the approval of PGAs are currently awash in paperwork and delays.  But relief is coming soon though ACE.  As noted in US Customs’ January 2015 ACEopedia:

“Forty-seven agencies are involved in the trade process and among these agencies, nearly 200 forms are required for imports and exports. The current processes are largely paper-based and require information to be keyed into multiple electronic systems. As a result, importers and exporters are often required to submit the same data to multiple agencies at multiple times. The Single Window initiative, originally established under the International Trade Data System (ITDS), is the effort to create a single system, so that multiple paper processes can be eliminated and importers and exporters will only have to file information once, to one system.”

Nearly one year ago, President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the 47 PGAs to utilize ITDS by December 2016.

Per the ACEopedia, here are the key technical capabilities in ACE for PGAs:

Interoperability Web Service

The pipeline through which data is transmitted between CBP and PGAs. This capability enables improved information sharing and faster decision making by the Government.

PGA Message Set

Document Image System

The consolidated set of data to be collected electronically from trade partners by CBP on behalf of government agencies. Data submitted in this manner will replace the myriad paper forms required by multiple agencies.

Allows trade partners to supply supporting documentation electronically as image files to CBP and PGAs. DIS integrates with the ACE Secure Data Portal, allowing authorized personnel access to images to perform coordinated reviews.


A change on ISF bonds… and eBonds coming soon

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

seal_acePer CSMS #14-000637, US Customs is eliminating the late ISF submission exemption from bond requirements:

“Effective January 10, 2015, late ISF submissions will no longer be exempt from the bond requirement and most ISF transactions will require a bond when they are filed.  To avoid delay or examination upon arrival, importers should ensure that bonds are in place to cover the ISF transaction prior to the cargo being loaded on the vessel destined for the United States.”

While this particular ISF bond exemption is going by the wayside (remaining are those for household goods, government and military, informal shipments and a handful of others), the impact on the trade will be insignificant.

First, as a practical matter, most importers already secure a single ISF transaction bond (or use an existing continuous bond) in these instances.  Moreover, CBP’s eBond functionality, schedule to debut on January 3, 2015, will begin to render the current single transaction bond procurement process moot, as e-Bond will allow for instantaneous filing and approval of bonds for importers who do not have one in place already.  Specifically, on that date:

For ACE Entries followed by ACE Entry Summaries, or ACE Entry Summaries certified for ACE Cargo Release, where a Single Transaction Bond is used, an eBond will be required.  ACE will implement validations on these inbound transactions where, if a bond is referenced on a transaction, and no bond is found on file in ACE, that transaction will be rejected.

For all other single transaction bond scenarios listed above utilizing the legacy ACS system, eBond will not be required. CBP will continue the paper processing of these bonds until ACS is retired and supplanted by ACE for all transactions in October 2016.  For more information, see US Customs’ November 2014 presentation, “e-Bond:  The Future of Bonds in ACE.”

But really, how will ACE work?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014



As mentioned in this blog previously, the first of the ACE deadlines are fast approaching.ACE Chart

Many in the trade still have fundamental questions about how ACE they will transact with ACE.  To address these concerns, US Customs’ ACEopedia (updated October 2014) provides a handy checklist (inset) to determine which part of ACE will handle a particular task.  According to CBP, there are two primary methods of interacting with ACE:

  1. Filing transactions via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Interfaces:   With the exception of filing an electronic truck manifest and Importer Security Filing for low volume filers, EDI is the only mechanism through which transactions (entries, entry summaries, and ocean and rail manifests) can be filed in ACE.  [Note:  And by "EDI", CBP means the Automated Broker Interface, which self-filing importers and customs brokers currently use to file entries, ISFs, etc.  See our blog post on this topic.]
  2. Using the ACE Secure Data Portal:  
    The ACE portal is an online tool that allows users to file electronic truck manifests and run reports. ACE reports can be used to monitor compliance and daily operations.

Reminder:  Mandated use of certain ACE functionality will commence in May 2015 and mandated use of ACE for all trade processing will be required by October 2016.  Make sure now that your (or your broker’s) ABI software is ACE-certified to avoid any problems next year!

New ACE functionality deployed

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

seal_aceace deadlines








As published in US Customs’ October 2014 ACE Monthly Trade update, CBP deployed new ACE functionality on October 18:

Cargo/Manifest/Entry Release Query

  • This query allows filers to request cargo, manifest and entry record status information that is on file in ACE

Export Manifest (Air Mode of Transportation)

  • This enhancement will provide for the filing and processing of Air Export Manifest transaction data in ACE. While technical capabilities have been deployed to production in ACE, this pilot has not yet been implemented. A Federal Register Notice on the initial pilot will be published in the near future.

Partner Government Agency (PGA) Message Set

  • CBP deployed capabilities to production to allow agencies to initiate additional PGA Message Set pilots with trade filers. Many of the PGAs have established working groups with trade representatives to identify requirements for these pilots.

Reminder:  Mandated use of certain ACE functionality will commence in May 2015 and mandated use of ACE for all trade processing will be required by October 2016.  Make sure now that your (or your broker’s) ABI software is ACE-certified to avoid any problems next year!

Register for AAEI’s ACE webinar series

Friday, October 10th, 2014




Starting October 22, AAEI will host a series of four webinars to bring the trade up to speed on different aspects of ACE.  Register at the links below.  AAEI notes that non-member registration will be limited, so act quickly.

ACE Webinar Part One: ” ACE, a Transaction Review”

On October 22 at 1:00 p.m EST, Melissa Irmen of Integration Point will be moderating “ACE, A Transaction Review,” where she will be leading a panel that will include the review of an ACE transaction from both a service provider and an Importer/Exporter perspective.  This webinar will walk through an ACE transaction, including information on pitfalls and best practices.

ACE Webinar Part Two: “Ace 101″

On October 24 at 2:00 p.m EST, Cindy Allen of DHL and Amy Magnus of A.N Deringer will present “ACE 101″, a primer on ACE.  As we get closer to the drop dead date of full ACE implementation in November 2015, we want to make sure that everyone has a solid foundation of where ACE is, where ACE is going, and how ACE affects your business.

ACE Webinar Part Three: “ACE, A Guided Discussion”

On October 29 at 1:00 p.m. EST, Beth Peterson of BPE Global will be moderating “ACE, A Guided Discussion”, a panel featuring a guided discussion with CBP, FDA, a local Port representative, and an Importer/Exporter.

ACE Webinar Part Four: “ACE and the PGA’s”

On November 5 at 1:00 p.m. EST, Jim Phillips of GM will moderate our final ACE panel, “ACE and the PGA’s” featuring a discussion of ACE from a PGA perspective.

Be sure to register today!
*Non-Member registration is limited.
*All registrations are pending AAEI approval

Basics of ACE on one page

Monday, October 6th, 2014

If you’ve somehow missed out on US Customs’ ACE updates in the last few years, here’s a handy graphic from CBP that provides a high-level overview to bring you up to speed.  Note the upcoming ACE deadlines, the first of which is less than 7 months away.  Make sure your current ABI software (or your broker’s) is ACE-compliant.

ACE Basics Graphic


ACE eBonds coming in January!

Monday, September 8th, 2014

seal_aceIn the August 2014 ACE Monthly Trade Update, US Customs announced that it will deploy electronic bond functionality in ACE on January 3, 2015.   This will enable the trade to submit, via EDI, bond transactions in ACE, which will “will streamline the process for filing continuous and single transaction bonds with CBP Revenue Division’s Bond Team.”

Benefits will include:

  • Creation of a single mechanism for the centralization of bonds, including a single place to locate any bond starting after ACE eBond deployment.
  • Reduction in paper processing
  • Faster release of cargo
  • Increased traceability of bonds for audit purposes
  • Expansion of bond issuance beyond regular business hours

At this time, ACE eBond will be required for ACE cargo release and entry summary transactions only, not for those filed in ACS.  However, as of November 1, 2015, when use of ACE will be mandatory for all electronic cargo release and related entry summary filings, ACE eBond must be used for all such transactions.