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ACE Enhancements Announcement

In February 2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deployed the last of the seven major scheduled core Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) deployments, and all phases of cargo processing are now in ACE.  Looking ahead, CBP is focused on sustaining all deployed ACE capabilities and ensuring ACE operates as a highly available and reliable system.

In addition to funds for sustaining core ACE, CBP has received $30M in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriation for enabling ACE enhancements.  CBP’s strategic goals and priorities are informed by the Customs Commercial Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) and through active dialog with CBP, industry, government agency and congressional stakeholders.  The resulting CBP trade mission agenda includes program initiatives for advancing trade facilitation, security and enforcement objectives.  There is an ongoing demand for ACE capability enhancements, and CBP follows a governance process to prioritize funding for initiative automation based on evaluation criteria that account for the interests of the trade community, the potential to reduce burden on the trade community, impact to CBP users, the nexus to existing and emerging priorities and workload efficiency and operational improvement opportunities.   

FY 2018 ACE enhancement funding will be used for the following (please see table below for additional details):

  • Section 321/Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act enabling automation
  • Electronic CBP Form 5106
  • Modernizing Foreign Trade Zone (e214) process in ACE
  • Creation of Unique Identifiers for Centers of Excellence and Expertise
  • Transitioning to Broker National Permit
  • Modernizing vessel management, via Vessel Agent Account Type
  • Streamlining and modernizing truck processing, via a non-intrusive inspection program
  • Updating Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
  • Manifest update to include shipper phone number
  • Electronic Vessel manifest confidentiality request

More information is forthcoming on these ACE enhancements, including a development and deployment schedule.  CBP will engage the trade community through the Trade Support Network to establish workgroups to refine trade-facing technical requirements and implementation plans.

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Prioritized and Funded ACE Enhancements

Enhancements Description Benefits

Section 321/Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act enabling automation 

The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement ACE (TFTEA) raised the value of shipments eligible to be entered under Section 321, de minimis from $200 to $800.  CBP currently clears these goods off of the manifest.  This enhancement will help CBP make risk based inspectional decisions on low value shipments.

This enhancement, which has been a priority for the broker community, will improve import safety and security by providing greater visibility into low value shipments.

Electronic CBP Form 5106

This enhancement will support requirements to automate and update data elements captured in ACE for CBP Form 5106 (CBPF 5106). CBPF 5106 is the Importer ID Input Record, which collects data used to establish bond coverage, release and entry of merchandise, liquidation and the issuance of bills and refunds.  This effort supports new regulations established by Executive Order (EO) 13785 and TFTEA, section 114.

CBPF 5106 is the foundation for importer risk assessment. Updating the data elements will enhance trade security by enabling the collection of more detailed importer information to support more advanced risk analysis.  It will also provide for more informative risk assessments prior to importation and will further improve revenue functions.  Importers, brokers, sureties and other trade stakeholders will experience more streamlined processing through the ability to create edit, and update importer information using an automated and modernized CBPF 5106 input process via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and the ACE Secure Data Portal.

Modernizing Foreign Trade Zone (e214) process in ACE

This enhancement supports the redesign of the Electronic CBP Form 214 (e214) in ACE. The ACS-based FTZ Online system was fully migrated to ACE in December 2017.  The redesign will enable full modernization of the e214 process in ACE. The current process provides an electronic document to request the entry of cargo and electronic messaging when a cargo exam is required and goods have been authorized for a permit to transfer into a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ).  The e214 redesign will provide messaging to PGAs with regulatory authority over an FTZ, allowing for greater PGA visibility.

This enhancement will streamline processing for government and the foreign trade zone community by incorporating PGA requirements into e214.  Specifically, this will enable trade to submit PGA data simultaneously via the PGA Message Set transaction set or the Document Image System (DIS) when reporting the admission of goods into an FTZ.

Creation of Unique Identifiers for Centers of Excellence and Expertise

This enhancement will create a unique identifier to be added to all post release work flow in ACE.  The identifier will allow streamlined routing to the appropriate CEE for processing.

This enhancement will allow for more efficient and streamlined workflow for CBP, as well as the ability to move toward account based processing.  It will also make it easier for trade to determine where transactions are being processed and will provide the ability to designate their CBP-assigned Center Identification (ID) code in their Entry Summary, Reconciliation, and Protest transaction submissions for account based processing.

Transitioning to Broker National Permit

This enhancement will transition all brokers to a single, national permit – eliminating multiple district permits and waivers.  This enhancement will meet the requirements of a forthcoming notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) which will update Broker Regulation 19 CFR 111 to provide cost savings to the brokerage community, while codifying current broker processes in the electronic and Center universe.  This effort also complies with deregulatory priorities set forth in Executive Order 13771. 

The transition to a single permit, which has been an industry priority, will provide faster, more streamlined processing for CBP and trade.  It will allow all brokerages to conduct entry via remote location filing at any port nationwide.  Brokers will no longer have to pay the initial, one-time $100 permit fee and the annual $141.70 permit user fee per local permit for each office location.

Modernizing vessel management, via Vessel Agent Account Type

This enhancement will allow for electronic receipts for Vessel Entry Fees as well as for the addition of an online payment option for Vessel Agents and Owner Operators, replacing form 368.  Credential validation and access to Mobile Collections and Receipt (MCR) Application through the ACE Portal will be required. This enhancement is pursuant to Federal Register Notice (FRN) 82 FR 58008. 

This enhancement will reduce the time necessary to accept and process a payment, ensure that fees are calculated correctly, and improve vessel processing and clearance times.  This will provide time savings and efficiencies for both CBP and trade.   Trade will benefit from this enhancement by having the ability to pay maritime processing fees online and receive electronic eReceipts in a quick and efficient manner. Trade will also have the ability to view online payment history of maritime processing fees for a vessel.

Streamlining and modernizing truck processing, via a non-intrusive inspection program

This enhancement will deploy drive-through Multi-Energy Portal (MEP) imaging systems to Laredo World Trade Bridge and Brownsville Veterans Bridge and will allow NII inspections – which currently occur at secondary – to occur in pre-primary. These capabilities are essential components to the cargo “Model Port” project with initial pilots scheduled in summer of 2018.

This enhancement will modernize the entrance and clearance process in the truck environment, providing processing efficiencies and faster truck processing times for CBP and trade. Truck carriers will benefit from this enhancement by seeing noticeable reductions in driver waiting time at border crossing ports of entry.

Updating Generalized System of Preference (GSP)

This enhancement will address mandatory updates related to the renewal of the GSP program.

This enhancement will provide ports and CBP entities greater visibility and streamlined access to risk management data, improving safety and security. GSP recipients will benefit from quicker payment of retroactive refunds after the GSP program expires and later becomes reinstated.

Manifest update to include shipper phone number

This enhancement will allow CBP to collect shipper phone numbers as an optional data element on the manifest.

This enhancement, which has been sought out by the airline industry, will help improve and strengthen targeting of ecommerce shipments.

Electronic vessel manifest confidentiality request

Importer consignees or exporters may request that certain data contained on an inward/outward manifest remain confidential.  Currently, processing of these requests is completely manual.  This enhancement will allow trade to submit and manage the confidentiality requests electronically via their ACE accounts, and for CBP to process requests online instead of through paper mailings.

This enhancement will provide significantly reduce the submission and processing time for manifest confidentiality requests, providing time savings to importers, consignees, and exporters.  

Last modified: 
June 1, 2018