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Rail and Sea Carriers Will Benefit from Opening an Automated Commercial Environment Account

January 22, 2009
Right Side News Reporting from the US Department of Homeland Security

(01/21/2009)U.S. Customs and Border Protection is encouraging rail and sea carriers to sign up now for a free Automated Commercial Environment Secure Data Portal account in anticipation of the 2009 replacement of current rail and sea automated manifest systems with ACE. Available 24/7, the portal will allow ACE account holders to resolve cargo processing issues through the Internet, potentially saving trade partners time and money.

Cargo is removed from an incoming ship newly arrived at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach. This is the largest and busiest port in the U.S., handling about 45 percent of all containers incoming into Customs and Border Protection.
Photo Credit: Charles Csavossy

The portal connects the trade community to CBP via a centralized online access point for communications and information. ACE account owners will be able to save time by completing several functions electronically, which currently require a telephone call or e-mail to CBP. These functions include checking bill of lading status, confirming CBP receipt of manifest data, adding or changing vessel codes and identifying authorized custodial bond users. The ACE portal will also provide sea carriers with the ability to maintain a list of vessels chartered or owned in the system, rather than
e-mailing CBP for requested changes.

Opening an ACE account is also beneficial for companies that process in-bond cargo, as they will have the ability to input and maintain a list of entities that are authorized to use their custodial bond, restrict usage between specific ports and impose an optional expiration date on bond usage terms. These ACE capabilities will protect bond owners from liquidated damages resulting from bond breaches by parties not authorized to use their custodial bonds.

All ACE account holders will benefit from the system's reporting tool, which provides the trade community the ability to create and save customized reports. In addition, the 2009 ACE enhancements will enable account holders to extract bill of lading status, cargo release notifications, hold and hold removal notifications, movement authorizations and transaction histories at the bill of lading level.

For more information on ACE, please visit the CBP Web Site.
( ACE: Modernization Information Systems ) For portal application and portal information, please visit the CBP Web Site. ( ACE Portal Application and Program Participation )
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