ACE: DIS capabilities and rollout explained

seal_aceUS Customs has just released its ACE Document Image System (DIS) Implementation Guide (draft dated April 2016).  While the guide is essentially a technical, programming document, it also outlines for the trade the capabilities DIS will provide for imports subject to certain PGA approval.

The initial phase provides basic document image submission and management capabilities. Specifically:

  • Allow Trade Partners to submit document images and associated descriptive meta data to CBP and PGAs in an automated manner using EDI communication
  • Store all submitted documents in a secure centralized CBP data store and maintain associations with related data such as Entry and Bill numbers
  • Allow authorized users to retrieve, view, and annotate documents via a web based user interface
  • Provide basic security, authorization and auditing
  • Offer back-end services that facilitate search and reporting capabilities to trade partnersto verify the receipt of documents
  • Provide capabilities for CBP Client Representatives to view raw received messages

Subsequent phases will provide new interfaces that allow integration of DIS image management capabilities with other systems in CBP and PGAs. These incremental phases will introduce service integration with other CBP systems and usage of DIS application capabilities by additional CBP and PGA user groups to meet business process requirements during the cargo review and release process.  For additional information, please see our recent post, “Submission of PGA forms through DIS until ACE mandatory deadlines.”


Attend the Harbor Transportation Club panel on SOLAS on May 12



HTC presents SOLAS: The new container weight rules

For those in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area, the Harbor Transportation Club is hosting a panel discussion on SOLAS, the new container weight rules, which are the cause of much frustration and confusion for the trade.Effective July 1, 2016, any shipping container leaving from any port in the world must be accompanied by a shipping document signed either electronically or in hard copy by the shipper on the bill of lading listing the verified gross mass of a container in order to be loaded onto a ship. The container weight mandate from the International Maritime Organization under the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention comes after misdeclared weights contributed to maritime casualties such as the breakup and subsequent beaching of the MSC Napoli on the southern U.K. coast in 2007 and the partial capsizing a feeder ship in the Spanish port of Algeciras in June, 2015.

Panelist will include:

  • Moderator – Bill Mongelluzzo, Journal of Commerce
  • MTO – Philip Wright, Total Terminals International
  • US Coast Guard -TBA
  • Legal – Cameron Roberts, Roberts & Kehagiaras LLP
  • Trucking – Fred Johring, Chairman Harbor Trucking Assn
Date/Time:  May 12, 2016  6PM check-in begins
Location:     The Reef Restaurant, 880 Harbor Scenic Drive, Long Beach CA

ACE now has Notes and Messaging Windows

seal_aceUS Customs has recently deployed ACE functionality that improves communication with the trade on specific shipments.  Per CSMS#16-000331:


    • ACE now supports the ability for CBP users to transmit notes to filers about an entry.  Message to the filer are transmitted through…ABI on the S020 record.  When a note is issued, ACE will resend the latest status message along with the note from CBP.  Notes may include requests for additional data, reasons for rejection of a corrections/cancellation request, or other requests for information necessary to process the entry.  This feature is not supported for paper submissions….
    • ACE processing has been revised to adjust when status messages are issued to filers.  Manifest Hold or Intensive Exam status messages will not be sent any earlier than the variable release window, regardless of the mode of transportation.  Previously, some status messages were being issued outside the variable release window.  Additional information available here.


Submission of PGA forms through DIS until ACE mandatory deadlines


Per CSMS #16-000321, ACE Cargo Release filers are now permitted to submit entry data, required by certain agencies listed below and covering specific forms found here, to CBP and the agencies through Document Imaging System.   This is an interim policy until these agencies are are up-and-running on the PGA data set. (Filers participating in PGA pilots may still submit the required data via the PGA message set.)

The following agencies have agreed to allow their forms to be submitted via DIS during the course of their pilots until the ACE mandatory dates:

• Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF)

• Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

• Environmental Protections Agency (EPA)

• Fish and Wild Life Service (FWS)

• National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

Certain PGA forms will require approval and/or signature by the PGA prior to submitting the form in DIS.  Please see the CSMS and list of designated forms for more information.

(During this interim period, filers do not have to submit the forms in paper to CBP. Filers need only to upload the PGA forms via DIS in order for CBP to verify the PGA requirements have been met.)

Alibaba bests Wal-Mart

alibabaAccording to ChinaDaily, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said that it has officially become the world’s largest retail platform, with its total trading volume online in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016 surpassing Wal-Mart’s annual sales.

The Hangzhou-headquartered e-commerce giant didn’t reveal the total gross merchandize volume (GMV) in the fiscal year.  But it announced on March 21 that its China retail marketplace platforms have already surpassed the milestone of 3 trillion yuan ($475.89 billion) in GMV in the latest fiscal year.  Wal-Mart Stores Inc posted revenue of $482.1 billion for its fiscal year ending Jan 31.

ACE: Open letter to NCBFAA from DHS

seal_aceThe Department of Homeland Security is optimistic about full ACE deployment by December 2016, and is appreciative of the assistance from NCBFAA and others in the trade in reaching that goal.


Open Letter to the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America

From Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security and Acting Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield, Department of Health and Human Services


Just over two years ago, President Obama issued Executive Order 13659, Streamlining the Export/Import Process for America’s Businesses.  This Executive Order set an ambitious deadline of December 2016 for deployment of the International Trade Data System (ITDS), otherwise known as the “Single Window.”

As many of you are well aware, efforts to develop the ITDS were underway for decades but were mired in the challenges unfortunately all too common in projects of such size and complexity.  It is in this context that the progress made in just the last two years is all the more impressive.  Business users are currently filing approximately 92% of entry summary requirements in the Single Window and Cargo Release volumes have soared from low 40% figures to a record high of 70% in just the last several weeks.  The numbers reflect a significant uptick in adoption by many of the largest filers and active testing and engagement from thousands of smaller businesses.

We want to share our appreciation for the incredible amount of work that has gone into this effort to-date and the commitment demonstrated by government agencies and private sector partners alike.  The record of collaboration and engaged dialogue among the diverse group of public and private sector stakeholders is impressive.  Associations like the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) have played a vital role in educating their members about the new system and encouraging participation in pilots and other key activities. As important, NCBFAA and other industry users have not only identified problems, but worked collaboratively with government agencies to develop and rapidly implement effective solutions.  Modifications to mandatory deadlines and added flexibilities for certain data elements are two recent examples of this partnership.  It is clear that the engagement and expertise from the filers who will ultimately rely on the system remain one of the most critical elements of success.

Deploying an effective ITDS remains a top priority for the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, and for many other U.S. agencies and the Administration on a whole.  Looking forward, successful implementation of the President’s Executive Order will be judged by not only the December 2016 delivery of a fully operational Single Window, but by the extent to which that system serves as a platform of continued collaboration between government agencies and business in the future.  Thank you again to the NCBFAA and its membership and to the range of other business advisory groups that continue to support this important modernization effort.

More information about ITDS, including technical documentation, a list of upcoming outreach events, and guidance on how to participate in an ITDS pilot are available at

CBP: Counterfeit import seizures up 25%

According to American Shipper*, US Customs has reported that seizures of imports containing intellectual property infringements

US Customs image
US Customs image
  • The top two products most seized for IPR infractions last fiscal year included apparel and accessories, such as handbags and wallets, and watches and jewelry, respectively.
  • In fiscal year 2015, China maintained its position as the top source for counterfeit and pirated goods seized by federal authorities, with a value $697 million or 52 percent of the total value of imports seized.
(*Site registration required)

WITOC seminar on tariff classification for both the new & the experienced

Women in International Trade – Orange County is hosting a compelling seminar on April 28, 2016, in the Los Angeles area:owit_oc_logo_sm  Back to Basics Workshop on Tariff Classification with speakers Michael Roll, Esq. of Pisani & Roll, LLP, and Heather Litman, Esq., of Grunfeld, Desiderio, Lebowitz, Silverman & Klestadt LLP.

  • Whether you’re a novice or advanced classifier, this workshop will offer you insight into how to properly classify your products.
    • At the heart of international trade, tariff classification affects a wide range of issues in importing and exporting, including duty rates, rules of origin, country of origin marking, non-tariff barriers, etc.
    • It is not an overstatement that if your product is incorrectly classified, competing globally is difficult.
  • This workshop will include various examples and attendees may email WITOC with sample scenarios prior to the workshop to ensure use of relevant classification examples.

Click here for more information and to register.

CustomsNow™ sponsoring World Trade Week Forum on May 17

OC trade week



CustomsNow™ is proud to sponsor the Orange County World Trade Week Breakfast & Forum, hosted by the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.

World Trade Week focuses on the value of trade and the benefits of exporting. This event, to be held on May 17 at the Irvine Marriott, gives every attendee the opportunity to meet face-to-face with the trade organizations and international chambers that can help you decide to export or grow your exports.

Register here for the event.