The ACE truck eManifest (electronic manifest) phase of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) initiative requires highway carriers to submit electronic cargo and conveyance information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before the truck arrives at any U.S. land border crossing.
The truck eManifest capability is bringing the manifest filing process into the digital age. Electronic manifests for the truck mode of transport increases the efficiency of the filing process by saving time, reducing the risk of errors due to manual entry or paper processing, reducing costs associated with paper filing, and informing drivers in real time about the status of trips and shipments.
For CBP, highway eManifest provides important data that is used for risk assessment and determination of admissibility. Electronic cargo and conveyance data submitted in advance of arrival helps CBP officials better identify and address high-risk shipments while expediting the release of low-risk, legitimate goods.
Truck eManifests are required for most commercial and personal shipments transported into the U.S. by highway carriers. Truck eManifests must be submitted and validated by CBP at least an hour before the truck arrives at the border for non-FAST card carriers, and at least half an hour before arrival for FAST card carriers.
The following entries are exempt from the truck eManifest requirement:
· Shipments that can be informally entered on CBP Forms 368 or 368A, Cash Collection or Receipt
· Shipments unconditionally or conditionally free, not exceeding $2,500 in value
· U.S. products being returned
· Cargo in transit from point to point in the U.S. after transiting Canada or Mexico
ACE Truck eManifest Data Transmission Options
Highway carriers are required to submit truck eManifests to CBP via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), the ACE Secure Data Portal, or by a CBP-approved service provider. Each transmission option has its advantages and limitations.
ACE Secure Data Portal
The ACE Secure Data Portal or ACE Portal is a free, online data transmission option. However, the ACE Portal is mainly a report generation and account management tool. It was not designed for high-volume users or large businesses. Users can only create one eManifest at a time, and data must be keyed in manually. In addition, only highway eManifests can be submitted to CBP via the ACE Portal; all eManifests in the rail, air and marine modes of transport must be sent via Electronic Data Interchange connection.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
Electronic Data Interchange is a method of direct information exchange between one computer system and another. Data sent by a highway carrier or authorized third party to CBP is validated and processed, and CBP transmits notifications and responses to the sender. eManifests can be sent to CBP via EDI either by the carrier or by a third-party service provider.
CBP-Approved ACE Truck eManifest Service
Another transmission option is via ACE truck eManifest service provided by a CBP-approved IT vendor like Global eTrade Services (GeTS). Being “CBP-approved” means that the vendor has successfully completed testing of its systems and software to ensure reliable performance. ACE truck eManifest services provided by GeTS can be standalone web-based applications, applications integrated into existing systems, or a filing service on behalf of the highway carrier.
Integration option enables carriers to pull the required data from their in-house system and used to populate the eManifest form. A filing service, on the other hand, allows carriers to fax or email required data to the service provider, who then prepares and submits the truck eManifest to CBP via ACE EDI.
The carrier can also choose to build costly ACE eManifest software and EDI connection in-house. In this case, the carrier must undergo systems testing with CBP before sending eManifests. CBP recommends that highway carriers have at least two ways to submit truck eManifests in case one method is down or unavailable.
Impact on PAPS
Most commercial shipments bound for the U.S. must clear under the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) release option unless the shipment qualifies for another shipment type. Under the Trade Act of 2002, PAPS was made mandatory for truck carriers at land border entry points to facilitate the release of shipments while still undergoing processing and risk assessment.
Before the truck eManifest requirement, businesses moving goods from Canada into the U.S. used one PAPS number for each trip. Now, each PAPS shipment must be assigned a unique Shipment Control Number (SCN) in the form of a barcoded label. The carrier attaches the PAPS number to the truck eManifest and shipping invoice. A PAPS number contains the carrier’s SCAC, the Pro-Bill number (Northern border) or filer code, and entry number (Southern border). The PAPS number is the common element in the broker’s entry and carrier’s eManifest.
All PAPS shipments must be manifested. When preparing the eManifest, the carrier must designate the shipment as PAPS and include the SCN, origin/place of loading, and trip number, if applicable. The carrier must ensure that the PAPS number entered in the ACE form exactly matches the PAPS number provided to the customs broker. CBP matches the PAPS numbers to determine what’s on the truck, and a mismatch can mean delays at the border.
Options for Exporters
Businesses and individuals exporting goods to the U.S. by truck can create and submit eManifests through the ACE Portal, in-house eManifest software and EDI connection with CBP, or eManifest software/service provided by a third party.
Creating truck eManifests in the ACE Portal is straightforward, but you can create only one eManifest at a time. You have to enter information manually for each truck, trailer, driver, shipment and trip. This is recommended if you cross the border infrequently.
For larger businesses and high-volume exporters, choosing self-developed system or CBP-approved service provider is a better alternative. Self-developed software can be expensive, however. Many businesses work with a CBP-approved IT vendor for preparation of truck eManifests, secure connectivity to CBP, higher efficiency and lower costs.
Will Exporters Still Need Documents at Border Crossings?
At border crossing, drivers are required to present a cover sheet to the customs officer. The cover sheet shows the important details of the trip. The manifest is not usually required unless the system is down. In any case, drivers must have supporting documents at hand and ready to be presented to the officer when requested.
Visit our ACE Highway page to learn more about ACE Truck eManifest.