CBP outlines ACE enhancements on deck: Appropriation of $30 million will help streamline processes, increase visibility and improve risk assessment.

Date: Wednesday, September 26th, 2018
Source: American Shipper

U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday announced a set of enhancements that it plans to make to its umbrella computer system, known as the Automated Commercial Environment or ACE.

The agency completed the last of the seven major core ACE deployments in February, and all phases of cargo processing in the U.S. are now conducted through the system. However, CBP said ACE will continue requiring updates and improvements in the years ahead.

In addition to its regular funding for operating ACE, CBP received $30 million in a fiscal year 2018 appropriation to make enhancements to the system.

“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,” the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

CBP generally sets its ACE programming goals based on recommendations from the Customs Commercial Operations Advisory Committee (COAC), its staff, other government agencies and Congress.

The agency said the planned fiscal year 2018 ACE enhancement funding will be used for:

• Improving its ability to conduct risk-based inspections of low-value shipments (under the $800 de minimis) by receiving Section 321 shipment data, including manufacturer, importer and consignee information via the Automated Broker Interface (entry type 86).

• Automating and updating the importer identification input record (Customs Form 5106), which collects data to establish bond coverage, release and entry of merchandise, liquidation and the issuance of bills and refunds.

• Redesigning the electronic document (Customs Form 214), which requests a transfer of cargo to a foreign trade zone, to include messaging capabilities for partner government agencies (PGAs) with FTZ regulatory oversight.

• Creating unique identifiers for CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise, which will allow the centers to streamline processing of their work at the account level and provide companies visibility into their center assignment, as well offer document submission capability.

• Transitioning to a broker national permit, which will eliminate multiple district permits and waivers.

• Developing the capability to allow vessel agents to log into the ACE portal to launch the new VECS (Vessel Entrance and Clearance System). Applicants will be required to electronically enter and clear a vessel and allow the processing of electronic receipts for vessel entry fees. This will replace Customs Form 368 by providing an online payment option for vessel agents and owner operators.

• Deploying drive-through multi-energy portal (MEP) imaging systems at Laredo’s World Trade Bridge and Brownsville’s Veterans Bridge, both along the Texas border with Mexico, to reduce secondary inspections and improve processing times of inbound trucks.

• Enhancing CBP’s risk management of imports covered by the Generalized System of Preferences and allowing GSP recipients to receive faster payment of retroactive refunds when the trade program expires and is later reinstated.

• Updating manifest data elements to allow CBP the ability to collect shipper, consignee and notify party phone numbers and email addresses, which is expected to strengthen its targeting of e-commerce shipments.

CBP said it will begin to work with the Trade Support Network to set up working groups to “refine trade-facing technical requirements” and create the schedule to implement the changes in the system.

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