The document imaging pilot program for shippers and customs brokers that file entry summaries through the Automated Commercial Environment has entered a second phase with expanded eligibility for participants and an increased number of forms that can be transmitted to other U.S. government agencies.
In a July 23 Federal Register
notice and other information posted online, Customs and Border Protection said the Environmental Protection Agency and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service are among three new federal agencies now able to electronically receive certain scanned forms and supporting documentation.
ACE is the computer system being developed by CBP to process commercial trade transactions and support cargo security functions with greater capacity and speed than the legacy Automated Commercial System. ACE development has taken more than a decade and is not expected to be complete for at least another three years.
Under the demonstration program, companies able to file in ACE can transmit images of specific forms and related information required by CBP, such as the commercial invoice, and participating government agencies. The other PGAs in the document imaging pilot are the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Centers for Disease Control, Defense Contract Management Agency, and Food Safety and Inspection Service.
Widening the ACE document imaging capability
to other federal agencies is part of the International Trade Data System initiative that will use ACE as the central collection point and distributor of required data to relevant agencies to reduce redundant filing. Document imaging eliminates the need to transmit paper forms, often by courier, reducing expense and speeding up cargo release. Other agencies have been slow so far to change their systems to receive data directly from CBP.
The expanded pilot reduces the number of data elements required to accompany electronic forms to only four, allows software vendors that file to ACE on behalf of importers to transmit scanned documents and provides the ability for specific APHIS forms to be filed at time of manifest filing.
“A single point of input for the trade community is a major component of CBP’s efforts in trade transformation,” CBP Acting Commissioner Thomas S. Winkowski said in a statement. “With DIS, filers can electronically submit documentation into one location during the importation and exportation process, reducing paperwork costs and allowing for faster, more efficient cargo processing, strengthening U.S. economic competitiveness.”
An infographic describing the ACE document imaging system
and the forms that can be filed is available on the CBP Website.
CBP is encouraging international shippers to begin testing the expanded document imaging system capabilities. Implementation guidelines describing how to prepare for the expanded pilot are available here
An update on ACE's progress can be found in American Shipper
's August cover story, "Policy partners
." - Eric Kulisch