Filers Seeking the Best Export Manifest Software Solutions in Parallel to CBP Pilots

CBP recently hosted a webinar that touched on the new export manifest functionality coming to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE). They highlighted the fact that manifest capabilities for exports are well underway and will be rolled out in a series of mode-specific pilots.

The trade has been looking forward to this functionality for some time as it will help close the loop on the import-export process and bring electronic standards to paper-heavy export manifest procedures. CBP stated during the webinar that the agency will also benefit from an added capacity to better identify potential security issues and speed the flow of legitimate shipments.

You may know that if you are exporting goods, you are already using parts of ACE. Commodities functionality in ACE was launched in March. In fact, the entire Automated Export System (AES) legacy mainframe was turned off in April and replaced with a more modernized IT platform. The re-engineering was largely a preparatory ‘behind-the-scenes’ move that had little visible impact to the trade, but was a significant step toward the Single-Window to government initiative and added automation.

One of the major effects of the update was to further open the door for Partner Government Agency (PGA) connectivity. With exports covering a number of U.S. government branches, automated and electronic inter-agency communication is both costly and time-consuming for the government and the trade. The move also helped to pave the way for automated export manifest functionality.

With the AES update now in place, export manifest functionality is moving forward as well with the air pilot first on the list. CBP has noted the following tentative timeline for the pilot phases to begin with the specifics of truck export manifest processing still under review:


Anticipated Pilot Rollout Date 


air icon


Late 2014

Cargo IMP (32nd ed.), Air CAMIR, IATA CargoXML (2nd ed), Unified XML

rail icon


Early 2015

ANSIx12, Unified XML

ocean icon


Early 2015

ANSIx12, Ocean CAMIR, Unified XML

truck icon



Unified XML & Possibly others TBD

We anticipate that four separate Federal Register Notices (FRNs) will be issued by Mode of Transport (MOT) to formally announce the pilot programs. CBP noted during the webinar that the Federal Register Notices will say that in place of the paper-based export manifest process, filers may also choose to file export manifest information electronically by participating in the pilots. The FRNs will also include instructions on how to join each of the pilot programs.

In the meantime, we encourage you to visit and bookmark Descartes' U.S. ACE Export Manifest Resource Center that will keep all of the latest information on export manifest processing in one place for quick reference:

Written by Jos Nuijten

President, Network Integration Strategy