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Customs folds with ACE, for now

OTTAWA, Ont. -- US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has formally announced a postponement, until further notice,...


OTTAWA, Ont. — US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has formally announced a postponement, until further notice, of its Phase 4 enforcement for trucks under the Trade Act, after hearing from the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the American Trucking Associations.

In its push to get more carriers to use the electronic truck manifest component of the Automated Customs Environment (ACE), CBP had planned to step up enforcement of the US Trade Act’s advance cargo requirements by Feb. 28. That would have meant that carriers not participating in the truck manifest component of ACE would have been denied entry to the United States if required cargo data was not successfully sent to CBP in advance of arrival at the border.

The policy was to have been applied at ports where ACE is currently available, including busy crossings such as Detroit, Port Huron and Blaine.

“While we fully support the objectives of ACE, I think it is fair to say that neither the trucking industry nor ACE is completely ready at this time,” according to the CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, David Bradley.

Since the plan to move to Phase 4 enforcement was announced in late January, carriers have been raising concerns about the amount of time required to become ACE ready, uncertainty over the need to obtain ACE accounts, and various technical issues surrounding system functionality. It is expected that the truck manifest component of ACE will become mandatory at some point in 2006, though CBP has not yet announced a firm date.

“As long as carriers have sufficient time to put in place the changes necessary to comply with mandatory truck manifest requirements, and CBP continues to work with carriers to address and resolve outstanding issues, the transition need not be difficult,” noted Bradley.

Many carriers have been getting ready for ACE for some time now and are finding it to be a lengthy and challenging process. CTA and the provincial trucking associations have been actively promoting the need to prepare for ACE for over a year and have been holding information sessions for carriers.

“Make no mistake, ACE is coming and carriers should be seriously considering
their options,” said Bradley.


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