U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Monday will begin pilot-testing automated ocean and rail manifest systems designed for the Automated Commercial Environment.
A handful of ocean carriers and railroads will begin filing cargo manifests into ACE instead of the Automated Commercial System that ACE will replace, Cindy Allen, executive director of Customs' ACE business office, said. Pilot testing will continue through the end of August, and then the manifest systems will become more widely available on a port-by-port basis.
"The pilot won't end per se. Those early adopters will be allowed to continue to transmit in ACE," Allen said. The new ACE manifest systems should be available everywhere by next January.
Converting manifest filing to ACE is a significant milestone. Ocean and rail automated manifest systems are among the last major components in ACS that need to be transferred before the vintage 1980s system can be shut down for good.
Allen said that the ACE ocean and rail manifest systems provide more benefits to the trade. ACE allows Customs to single out one container from a group for inspection.
"Because of the limitations in ACS, when we see there are 10 containers coming in a shipment, we have to hold all 10," Allen said. "With ACE, we can look at that one container and the rest can go on to their destination."
Allen said the next module to be built for ACE is the cargo release system.
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