The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) program of US Customs and Border Protection now stretches more than 1,900 miles along the United States/Mexican border," according to Customs information.
ACE is the commercial trade processing system being developed by Customs to enhance border security and expedite trade. The electronic manifest (e-manifest) capability is currently available at all ACE ports. Carriers are encouraged to establish ACE accounts now to ensure efficient border operations when e-manifests are eventually mandated at all land ports.
Carriers can submit an e-manifest through the web-based ACE secure data portal or via the Customs-approved electronic data interchange (EDI) procedures. The portal is essentially a computer screen similar to a Web site home page that connects Customs and the trade community by providing a single, integrated, online access point for communications and information. With a one-screen system, data can be stored and reused requiring less data entry time for carriers.
When a truck approaches the primary booth, transponder technology similar to that of a toll-paying device may be used to signal the truck's arrival. The e-manifest is automatically retrieved along with the matching pre-filed entries, in-bond requests, and other release declarations for the Customs officer to view and process.
According to Customs, by establishing and using an ACE portal account, carriers can track the status of their trips and generate a wide variety of reports. This enables carriers to identify trends to plan future courses of action and achieve better results for their company. The time saving aspect also provides opportunities to increase profits. By allowing the truck carrier to begin import procedures early, drivers spend minimal time at the border itself, so delivery time is lessened, giving truckers more time to haul more shipments to earn more money.
Customs, a Department of Homeland Security agency, recently completed installations of the ACE program in California and Arizona, including the ports at Otay Mesa, Calexico, Andrade, and Tecate in California, and San Luis in Arizona.
Customs is planning for ACE to be the lead system at all ports when, in the coming years, capabilities are rolled out for air, rail, and sea cargo processing. More than 3,000 e-manifests have been filed to date.