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Descartes releases new services to help in compliance U.S. ACE customs system

WATERLOO, Ont. -- Logistics software and services specialist The Descartes Systems Group Inc. has released a new se...

WATERLOO, Ont. — Logistics software and services specialist The Descartes Systems Group Inc. has released a new set of services on its Global Logistics Network (GLN) aimed at helping truckers and freight forwarders file electronic truck manifests to comply with United States Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP’s) new e-Manifest initiative through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).

The e-Manifest initiative will require truck carriers and freight forwarders to provide CBP with electronic shipment, carrier and other information through ACE prior to the truck entering the United States. The long anticipated ACE requirements will become mandatory on a port-by-port basis as quickly as 90 days after the rules are printed in a federal registry notice. On October 5th CBP indicated that e-Manifest would become mandatory at the first of the 98 land-based ports in 2007, but encouraged truck carriers to begin to file earlier with those of the 49 ports that are already ACE-enabled.

Descartes said its ACE services are designed to help truck carriers and freight forwarders of all sizes comply with the ACE e-Manifest initiative. Descartes’ ACE services range from converting paper-based information into electronic manifests for those carriers with minimal technology infrastructure, through to an interactive ACE-compliant application automatically populated with information from back-office systems for those carriers with a more sophisticated infrastructure.

Descartes enhanced the cross-border services available over its Global Logistics Network with its acquisitions of ViaSafe, Inc. in April and Flagship Customs Services, Inc. (FCS) in June. Descartes said that ViaSafe’s ViaTrade service and FCS’ Import 2000 technology are now integrated with its Global Logistics Network, enabling Descartes customers to access a customs compliance solution in advance of the e-Manifest initiative becoming mandatory.

“We have a menu of ACE services to help truck carriers and freight forwarders of varied sizes, technological capabilities and volumes comply with the e-Manifest initiative,” said Edward Ryan, general manager of the Global Logistics Network. “Our GLN cross-border services are also designed with an upgrade path that allows carriers to start with basic e-Manifest filings and eventually progress to more advanced electronic documentation and interaction with customs brokers and authorities.”

Descartes’ new Global Logistics Network ACE basic services include the following:

– ACE-4-Trucks: Enables customers to manage e-Manifest filings through a universal, easy-to-navigate Web interface that can interface with back-office systems and other EDI methods to pre-populate the ACE-4-Trucks application. Waybill and trip information can be submitted independently or combined into a single manifest. Additional features include searching, reporting and electronic alerts for any border crossing problems or errors;

– ACE Preparer: Customer can fax or e-mail information to Descartes for data entry and submission to ACE. Customers can receive e-alert ACE status messages via e-mail and view waybill and trip ACE status messages through the ACE-4-Trucks interface; and

– ACE Connect: Larger organizations with existing infrastructure and ACE technology can access a secure connection to CBP via the Global Logistics Network.

Descartes’ Global Logistics Network enhanced cross-border services include Descartes’ ViaTrade service. ViaTrade’s features include all of the capabilities of the ACE-4-Trucks service described above plus:

– the ability to connect carriers and customs brokers to CBP to reconcile manifest filings for expedited border clearance;

– electronic routing of carrier bills of lading and commercial invoices to customs brokers with applicable access and associations to related shipment documentation; and

– the ability for carriers to review the status of documents submitted to customs brokers with corresponding alerts for documents not yet accepted.

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