ACE: CustomsNow sponsors OCWIT’s Important ACE Update program




ACE is happening now.  Many still have questions.  CustomsNow™ is proud to sponsor the upcoming Important ACE Update luncheon program presented by Orange County Women in Trade.

In addition to an ACE overview, the program will focus on:


  • Where does the current ACE implementation stand?
  • What to expect with the staged roll-out?
  • How to make sure that you are ready to adapt

The key speaker is Sandra Langford-Coty, Vice President of Customs Brokerage at OHL International, and the moderator is Heather Litman, Esq., of Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP.

Register here.

ACE: Live entries not quite paperless in LA/LB



Filers submitting live entries through ACE Cargo Release at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex should know that it’s not entirely a paperless process yet.  In a February 23 public bulletin, the seaport notes that such live entries must be filed directly with the the Finance Team in Long Beach.

In a somewhat ironic message, the edict from the port complex reads in part:

Since ACE Cargo Release is considered a paperless program, brokers/filers will only be required to submit in a green folder CBP Form 7501 or 7501A with a check attached to the Financial Team.  The invoice, packing list, and remaining supporting documents shall be uploaded onto the Document Image System (DIS).  No check or cash collections of any type should be submitted to Selectivity, Entry or Import Specialist teams.

The complete Public Bulletin: LA16-003 Submission of Live Entries filed through ACE Cargo Release at the LALB Seaport

Update on new VGM requirements

In response to the trade’s concerns about the new verified gross mass (VGM) requirement enacted by the International Maritime Organization, the US Coast Guard met with the Federal Maritime Commission on February 18.  According to the law firm of Holland & Knight, USCG’s position is as follows:

  1. Delayed implementation is not an option. SOLAS is an international convention ratified by the U.S. and most major flag states that applies to vessels, not ports or shippers. Most vessels loading in the U.S. are foreign-flag ships from IMO signatory countries. Those countries will implement the VGM requirement as to their vessels, and the U.S. has no say in that.
  2. USCG will not impose fines under SOLAS with respect to inaccurate weight certificates because USCG does not believe it has any enforcement authority to do so.
  3. USCG does not plan to adopt or publish any allowable error variance.
  4. Regarding enforcement, USCG observes that a container without a compliant VGM certificate will be subject to a hold order and can’t be loaded, but there will be no fines. Once the container is weighed or the shipper provides a certificate, the container can be loaded.
  5. The ultimate message from USCG is that the shipping industry must find business solutions. USCG is not convinced it needs to or has any jurisdiction to take any steps, but will continue to listen and facilitate such solutions if possible.

As for the last point, the head of the Port of Charleston has proposed a possible solution.  According to the Journal of Commerce,*

“Chris Koch, a lawyer and former CEO of the World Shipping Council, which represents container lines and helped develop the Verified Gross Mass rule, said there should be no reason why a terminal couldn’t use the container weights it currently derives through the longstanding practice of weighing containers upon arrival at the terminal. Koch is also a former general counsel of Sea-Land Service Inc. and former chairman of the Federal Maritime Commission.”

container shippNot all are in agreement.  As JOC points out, the ports of Savannah and Virginia, and the Maher terminal at New York-New Jersey, say they will not offer weighing services to generate the VGM.  Since the SOLAS rule assigns the responsibility for generating the VGM to the shipper on the bill of lading, some terminals are understood to be concerned about their legal liability for generating an inaccurate VGM.

According to a major container line, at least 13 U.S. terminals, including Maher, have told it that they will not accept export containers without a VGM at the time of arrival.

(*JOC site registration may be required)


ACE: Recordkeeping guidance from CBP

filecabinetsLinked below is the most recent US Customs’ guidance on recordkeeping in ACE.

In sum, CBP will not request an entry filer to produce the data (formerly contained in CBP Forms 7501, 3461, 214 or 7512) that the filer previously transmitted to and was retained by CBP unless the agency has the need for these records.  In that instance, the filer may re-transmit or otherwise provide the data electronically or reproduce the entry/entry summary data using an ACE report.

This policy does not affect other recordkeeping requirements, such as the need for the filer to maintain supporting documentation used to create the data transmitted to CBP, or the need to maintain original documents.

Click the link to see the complete CBP recordkeeping policy dated January 2016. RECORDKEEPING IN ACE FINAL 1-28-2016


Take the American Shipper Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Survey


American Shipper Trans-Pacific Partnership Survey

How will the Trans-Pacific Partnership affect you and your business? The TPP was signed in early February by all 12 member nations, setting in motion ratification of the biggest ever free trade agreement.

American Shipper
 wants your perspective on how this groundbreaking trade deal impacts your business. Please take this 10 question (less than 5 minutes!) survey to help us understand how the TPP is affecting your industry.


All information provided by survey participants will be kept strictly confidential. Results will only be displayed in aggregate.

Thank you for participating!


Eric Johnson
Research Director
American Shipper

Podcast: How to transport your ocean cargo on a “clean” vessel

cargoshipsIs your cargo traveling on a “clean” ship?

There’s an easy way to find out.  Shipping is an initiative that was launched in 2010 to create a rating database for vessel carbon dioxide emissions.  Ocean shipping generates more than a billion tons of CO2 emissions each year.  Environmentally conscious shippers can consult the site for reports on more 76,000 commercial vessels in service today, and book their cargo accordingly.

Bob Bowman of SupplyChainBrain hosts an informative podcast with Victoria Stulgis, senior associate with Shipping, during which they discuss this issue, as well as steps vessel owners and operators can take to reduce their carbon emissions – all the while making their ships more efficient.

The 26 minute long podcast is available here.


Port of LA/LB partners with truckers to reduce turn time

Traffic jamTerminals at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port complex have learned a valuable lesson:  By working together with truckers and cargo interests, they can significantly reduce gate turn times.

As reported in the Journal of Commerce*, the ports’ terminals have implemented creative solutions such as dray-offs (draying imported containers to near-dock yards immediately upon removal from vessesls) and free flow or peel off (similar to dray-offs but cargo is segregated in a peel-off pile and instantly provided to truckers without regard to destination).

The results are impressive.  For example, the average turn time at the SSA terminal is 33 minutes, much less that the LA/LB average of 90 minutes.

(*JOC site registration may be required)


Coast Guard to address trade’s worry about new VGM requirement

cargo shipAccording to American Shipper*, The US Coast Guard will meet with the Federal Maritime Commission on February 18 to hear the trade’s concerns about the new verified gross mass (VGM) requirement enacted by the International Maritime Organization.  Reportedly, a United States Coast Guard officer says the agency is not planning any special effort to enforce new regulations having to do with shipping container weights.

Terminal operators and shippers remain unsettled about a lack of clarity on how individual countries are going to implement the new IMO rules requiring shippers to provide the VGM of containers prior to their being loaded.

The IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee adopted the container weight requirement in November 2014 as an amendment to the international Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty. It goes into effect on July 1, 2016.

(*Site registration required)

Chinese imports to US indicate “deepest drop” since Q3 2011

usimportsfromchinaFrom the Journal of Commerce*:

For the first time since the second quarter of 2013, US imports from China fell on a year-over-over basis, IHS Maritime & Trade Senior Economist Mario O. Moreno said. In the fourth quarter of 2015, China subtracted 0.5 percent from overall US containerized import growth. This also marked the deepest drop by China since the third quarter of 2011 (down 2.4 percent). High inventory levels and softer consumer spending prompted retailers to destock markedly. The retail sales-to-inventory ratio stood at 1.48 in November, up from 1.42 a year earlier.

Despite the sharp subtraction to overall import growth by China, the total inbound trade managed to post a 1.1 percent year-over-year gain in the quarter, mostly because of increased shipments from South America and the Mediterranean.

(*JOC site registration may be required)

With no more CF 3461s, learn how to document cargo release


As ACE replaces ACS as US Customs’ official system of record, the trade is at last moving to a paperless environment.  However, many are uncertain about how to document cargo release information with the discontinuance of the CF3461.

The easiest and most accurate way to determine when a shipment has cleared CBP and PGA is to run an ACE Cargo Query (CQ) to verify that the “1C” is on file.  A customs release is signified by a ‘1C’ being posted to the bill, and this is the same information that carriers use to determine if cargo has cleared and can leave their bonded facility.

In addition to providing the release date and time, an ACE Cargo Query shows the entire ‘life’ of the bill in AMS including when the carrier filed their manifest, when an ISF was filed against the bill, if any holds were placed (e.g. VACIS X-Ray, CBP-Ag, FDA, etc.) and when the hold was subsequently released.

CBP is encouraging “non-automated” facilities to get automated for this reason, since ACE allows for this type of “paperless” environment.  CustomsNow™ offers our Cargo Query System (CQS), our NEW subscription-based tool that delivers real-time, immediate proof of CBP and PGA cargo release for entries filed in ACE.  Perfect for importers, as well as container freight stations (CFS), bonded warehouses, carriers, and freight forwarders, who require instant visibility of the status and/or release of imported items.  CQS also shows visibility into the status of in-bonds, PTTs, plus confirms quantity, arrival information, and more.  Learn more.