What Does the ACE Deadline Delay Mean for Your Business?
In late August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that the mandatory deadline for filing ACE Entry Summaries and ACE Cargo Release Entries has been delayed from November 1, 2015 to February 28, 2016.
In addition, the only mandatory partner government agency (PGA) data to be filed electronically on February 28 will be for the Food and Drug Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the United States Department of Agriculture‘s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Data for all other PGAs will be required to be filed electronically only in July of 2016.
The move gives CBP a little more breathing room and an opportunity to make improvements. CBP is still making changes to the functional specifications. CBP uncovered some issues during the PGA pilot process. While this was to be expected, there are adjustments to be made as CBP sees ACE interacting with each PGA.
There are areas where CBP can improve its knowledge to better support the trade. CBP and the PGAs working together to better understand each other’s processes. The delay presents CBP with a tremendous opportunity to better train their own personnel.
For those of us that took ACE seriously and have invested the time, effort, and money into being ready for the November 1, 2015 deadline, the delay is a little disheartening. However, we understand that this was necessary for the greater good.
As of July 2015, only 60 percent of entry summaries were being filed in ACE, and only 10 percent of cargo release was being filed in ACE Cargo Release. About 25 percent of all filers in the U.S. have yet to file an ACE entry summary.
The new deadline gives some relief to those that might have started late but have put effort into implementing ACE-compliant software. It also gives filers a brief window to re-evaluate where their current software provider stands on ACE.
The pressure on the software vendors is not decreasing; it only continues to build. There is still plenty of new work to be done and ACE changes will continue at a rapid pace. More PGAs are being added to the new July 2016 deadline, including FWS and CPSC. New functionality is being introduced into ACE Cargo Release.
The delay gives the trade an extended opportunity to prepare for ACE in another way. Brokers need to take PGA reporting seriously, to understand the additional requirements while there is still time. Some brokers are operating under misconceptions about ACE and the PGA requirements.
A group from the trade is putting together business process documents for the brokers in regards to each PGA. Brokers need to do their homework now and find out the requirements for each PGA. Brokers will likely need to go back to their importers and inform them of the additional data that will be required for every entry from now on. Brokers may also want to look at setting up EDI interfaces with their clients to receive this data electronically or perhaps build up product libraries that can hold this data.
Don’t be fooled into a false sense of relief now that ACE has been pushed back a few months. The delay only gives a minor break to those who are a bit behind. With all of the work still to be done it is not time to take the foot off of the gas.
Craig Seelig, is global product manager for customs and compliance Americas at WiseTech, a developer of cloud-based software solutions for the international and domestic logistics.