Checks and balances

Checks and balances

Copyright 2003, Traffic World, Inc.

Shippers and carriers must send shipment information electronically to Customs'' Automated Commercial Environment system. But ACE isn''t the system checking the shipments - that''s the job of the Automated Targeting System, which hasn''t been as widely publicized by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

Information from ACE is fed into ATS and ATS determines if a shipment is suspect, said Samuel H. Banks, senior vice president at Sandler & Travis Trade Advisory Services.

ATS uses a rules-based risk management system to assign a score to cargo. That score determines whether or not Customs decides to inspect a container, said Banks. ATS decides to inspect cargo for a variety of reasons including possible terrorist threats, health threats, commercial interests and other factors, he said. Once ATS makes its decision, that is fed back into ACE. ATS is linked to various law enforcement and commercial databases.