ACES High: e-manifest program ready to roll in Michigan

DETROIT — The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is slated for deployment at seven ports in Michigan over the next few months.

The Michigan launch — home of the ‘Big Three’ automakers will be the largest implementation of ACE to date, says US Customs and Border Protection in its most recent newsletter.

ACE is a streamlined release systems protocol, mandated by the Trade Act in 2002, involves pre-selected truck carriers which transmit electronic manifest data and obtain release of their cargo, crew, conveyances, and equipment via the ACE Portal or electronic data interchange (EDI) messaging.

CBP to play the ACE card in Michigan these coming weeks

The Port of Detroit currently handles over 22 million tons of cargo annually. CBP Supervisory Port Officer Chardric Matthies said Customs is aware of the challenges of implementing the program to such a large port. “Fortunately, the ACE training was very thorough.” A test of ACE usage on a single lane in Detroit was also successful.

Michigan ports scheduled for launch this fall include: the Windsor Tunnel, Barge Transport, the Ambassador Bridge, as well as Port Huron, Marine City, Algonac, and Sault Ste. Marie. The Michigan deployments will bring the number of ACE ports to 31. Beyond Michigan, launch plans include approximately 14 ports in Vermont and New Hampshire, scheduled for late fall.

Currently, ten truck carriers and seven service bureaus/vendors are certified to submit truck manifests via Electronic Data Interchange messages. An additional 75 letters of intent have been received, with four companies in the actual testing process. Several companies are also using the ACE Secure Data Portal to submit e-Manifests.

The recent changes CBP has made in eligibility requirements are designed to make it easier for the trade community to participate in ACE. The need for a statement certifying membership in the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) was eliminated.

Participation in ACE is voluntary until sometime after 2006. However, CBP is enticing carriers to sign up by offering them crossing priority.

Recently, the Ontario Trucking Association announced the selection of border crossings for truck traffic would remain in effect when CBP rolls out ACE.

A programming oversight in the ACE program would have removed this flexibility from the supply chain causing the potential for trucks to continue on to Detroit or Port Huron regardless of road conditions, OTA stated.

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