On March 31, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will implement the next phase of its Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) transition, requiring all import entries through CBP (only) to utilize the ACE “Single Window” process. Through ACE, to be fully implemented by the end of 2016, manual import processes will be streamlined and automated, and paper will be eliminated. The purpose of the transition is to enable the international trade community to more easily, efficiently and uniformly comply with U.S. laws and regulations. For entries involving other governmental agencies, the new deadline is 5/28.

As background, ACE is a long term initiative by CBP (created by Executive Order in July 2014) to provide a single window at the border for trade partners to electronically submit all information needed to facilitate legitimate import and export cargo. As ACE is deployed in the next few months, the program will collect, process and share information with other participating government agencies dealing with international trade, such as the Food and Drug Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce. On March 31, ACE will be decommissioned in all of CBP’s legacy systems.

While there are certainly long-term benefits to CBP’s implementation of ACE, it’s likely there will be some hiccups during the transition, which could lead to delays at land borders and Ports of Entry. If you’re importing into the U.S., you’ll want to adjust your logistics processes and delivery deadlines accordingly to be safe. To best avoid delays, it is important for companies to get a handle on what’s required going forward.

WNY Foreign Trade Zone can help. For further information on ACE, or on optimizing your logistics processes, contact Zachary Finnegan at zfinnegan@wnyftz.com or (716) 823-2142.