The ABCs of ACE

For large importers and exporters, improving customs efficiency and compliance is a constant goal. In today’s global economy, 28 percent of U.S. GDP is now related to trade, which means businesses need a solid strategy for moving goods across the border. The customs process is known for being time-consuming and expensive, and any breakdowns or errors along the way can impact businesses with shipping delays and regulatory penalties. In 2016 alone, CBP collected $57 million in fines for non-compliance.

ACE aims to help businesses eliminate redundancies, reduce paperwork and work faster through a consolidated, electronic filing system. The platform has automated 269 forms required by CBP and 47 partner agencies, slashing the amount of time once required to file manually.

Establishment of ACE represents a larger trend toward streamlining cumbersome customs requirements by digitizing and consolidating processes, and interest is growing. A number of other countries are looking to implement similar “single-window” systems, including Canada, Mexico and Brazil, opening up new opportunities for shippers to enter markets where customs processes have been onerous and difficult to navigate traditionally. CBP also recently announced a new electronic process for exporting vehicles from Port Everglades, the first program of its kind in the country.

Steps for success

While businesses have been migrating to ACE gradually as portions of the system become available, many are still working to bring operations online. As ACE becomes the new filing standard, implementing the system can not only help speed up the filing process, but yield powerful information to shape more efficient business practices. ACE allows you to:

  • Make decisions based on historical data. What documentation was required the last time you imported a dresser decorated with seashells? Which ports have asked you to take entry exams? ACE offers information on all your filings in one place, which you can use to spot trends that help you plan more efficient routes.
  • Take your information with you. Right now, many shippers have filing information housed with brokers or by port. By implementing ACE, they can start building a portfolio of information that stays with them through any brokerage or route changes, minimizing the time it takes to search for data

While ACE promises to reduce importing and exporting hassles in the U.S., businesses still have to contend with foreign requirements, security issues, classifications and other customs requirements. can offer customs expertise, technology and end-to-end logistics solutions to ensure your goods make it across the border.