Updating Automated Broker Interface (ABI) Technology as ACE Continues to Evolve

Staying current with the changes that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is implementing in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) can be challenging. Importer self-filers and Logistics Service Providers (LSPs), who have been using the legacy Automated Commercial System (ACS) for years, continue to face significant hurdles.

Many businesses are effectively leveraging Automated Broker Interface (ABI) software to ease the transition from ACS to ACE including more streamlined processes for:

Importer Security Filing (ISF) – With fines of up to $5,000 for an inaccurate, incomplete or untimely filing, ensuring compliance with ISF for in-bound ocean shipments is a cornerstone of regulatory compliance. Leading ABI software vendors are working to unify ISF and Cargo Release (CR) data which is now permitted in ACE.

ACE Entry Summary/Cargo Release (CR) – CBP is taking steps to simplify the Entry Summary and Cargo Release processes. After collaborating with trade associations and focus groups, the agency has reduced the number of required data elements and eliminated redundant information already provided by supply chain partners. Innovative ABI software providers are ensuring that filers seamlessly move into compliance well ahead of the November 1, 2015 deadline when electronic entries and entry summaries must be filed in ACE.

eBond – The electronic bond eliminates the mandatory paper requirement when a Single Transaction Bond (STB) is used to secure a cargo release. Beyond this, eBond also provides a centralized repository for CBP customs bonds and reduces paper processes. Leading ABI software vendors are working with surety (insurance) companies to help filers maximize the potential benefits of the electronic bond where applicable.

In-Bond – ACE enables the submission of electronic in-bond requests which are filed via ABI. Additional in-bond functionality is being rolled out in phases and ABI solution innovators are adding further capabilities in parallel with ACE deployments.

Duty Drawback – Obtaining a refund of certain duties, taxes and fees is a good practice to maximize revenue, and filing drawback claims through ABI helps to speed potential refunds. Beyond this, CBP is also working to incorporate protest processing within ACE.

PGAs – Interacting with Other Government Agencies (OGAs) is vital for multiple supply chain participants, especially in highly-regulated industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, aerospace and others. OGAs are known as Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) in the context of the ACE initiative, and leading ABI software providers are helping clients effectively collect, transmit and store multi-agency information

Queries – Communicating information to CBP and other agencies also goes hand in hand with locating applicable information. Leading ABI software enables users to find the information they need at a quicker pace. When the transition from ACS to ACE is complete, queries for historical and archived ACS data will also be accessible.

Beyond this, the additional options that an ABI software provider offers can also drive further value for a business. Some key questions to ask include:

  • Does the ABI software offer accounting-related options?
  • Is the technology expandable and able to grow with a business?
  • Does the technology connect to Denied Party Screening (DPS) and Restricted Party Screening (RPS)?
  • Are there additional options for more accurate Harmonized System (HS) classification and valuation including U.S. Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) and Schedule-Bs?
  • Is the software collaborative and does it offer role-based security?

Additional Resources:

Descartes ABI Filing Software

Descartes ABI Software Solution