Customs Slates e-Manifest Testing

The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are taking the first steps to test an e-manifest program.

CBP has issued a general notice in the Federal Register of its intent to conduct a National Customs Automation Program test on the transmission of automated truck manifest data. The test will commence no earlier than November 29, 2004.

Truck carriers who participate in this test will have the ability to electronically transmit truck manifest data and obtain release of their crew, cargo, conveyances and equipment via the automated commercial environment (ACE) portal or electronic messaging.

“This is the beginning for the change from a paper-intensive manifest system to an electronic-intensive system, which is big for truckers,” Margaret Irwin, American Trucking Assns. (ATA) director of customs, immigration and cross-border operations told Fleet Owner.

“The thing about motor carriers is that they’ve been hearing for years the ACE manifest is coming; it’s here this year and the beginning of next year,” Irwin said. “At some point, using ACE either for EDI (electronic data interchange) or through a web portal will be mandatory— it’s important to get that message to motor carriers.”

The pilot testing will begin initially at Blaine, WA, and Buffalo, NY. Subsequent deployment will occur at Champlain, NY; Detroit, MI; Laredo, TX; Otay Mesa, CA; and Port Huron, MI.

“They have a tentative schedule for seven test ports and hopefully things will go well and continue to roll on out. Their intention is to take this national,” Irwin said.

“ACE is a multi-modal manifest— the truck manifest is the first module they’re putting up in what will eventually go across all modes of transportation,” she added.

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