CBP Section 321 Shipment Type

To quicken and modernize the import process of low-value shipments (valued less than $800) into the United States, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has put in place some recommended programs to facilitate the release for e-commerce shipments. All of the Section 321 shipment submission methods are part of the CBP ACE (Automated Commercial Environment) Single Window platform.

There are four ways through which stakeholders may participate in the CBP Section 321 program. These are:

  • Sending Section 321 Shipments using ACE Truck eManifest
  • Sending Section 321 Shipments using ACE Air eManifest
  • Sending Supplementary Data in the Section 321 Data Pilot
  • Sending Section 321 “Type 86” Informal Entries using the ABI System

Transmission Options for ACE Truck eManifest Data

Authorized filers and highway carriers may submit their truck eManifest information to Customs & Border Protection agency in three ways. The three ways are:

  1. A Direct link to CBP using Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
  2. A CBP approved service provider
  3. The ACE Secure Data Portal

ACE Secure Data Portal

The ACE Secure Data Portal provides an efficient electronic system that highway carriers may use to transmit their conveyance and cargo data to CBP. All carriers can freely use the portal from anywhere as long as they have access to an internet connection. While the portal was designed to be a reporting and data management tool, carriers can use it to view historical data, respond to filing notices and file their eManifests to CBP electronically.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Electronic Data Interchange is another means of submitting Section 321 shipment data. Carriers and filers may use EDI to transmit shipment data to CBP and other government agencies. The highway carrier or other authorized filer will typically send the data to CBP directly through the electronic system. Once the agency receives, validates and processes the data, it notifies the carrier of the acceptance or rejection of their eManifest data.

CBP-Approved ACE Truck eManifest Service

ACE Truck eManifests can also be transmitted through CBP approved ACE eManifest providers such as Customs City Global Solutions. The agency has a database of all the approved third-party service providers that have undergone systems and software testing and been qualified as reliable filers of CBP Section 321 Program data. Customs City Global Solutions provides ACE truck eManifest services on behalf of highway carriers. Some of the services provided include access to standalone web-based applications and the integration of software with existing dispatch systems.

ACE Air eManifest

The ACE Air eManifest is another way to submit Section 321 shipment data. The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Air is a submission method that allows submissions from customs brokers, warehouses, freight forwarders, and importers. The ACE Air system is what was formerly referred to as the Automated Manifest System (AMS).

Entities that can use the ACE Air eManifest system are:

  • Importers/Customs brokers
  • Air Carriers
  • Warehouses/ Express Consignment Carrier Facility (ECCF)/ Container Freight Stations (CFS)

Using the ACE Air eManifest system, all carriers are required to submit Air Waybill data (AWB). If the warehouse or freight forwarder opts not to submit the House Airway Bill data (HAWB), such data will have to be submitted to the airline. As a carrier, the airline will then have the responsibility of transmitting it to the CBP.

Nonetheless, each participant is required to have the appropriate bonds and identifiers that for the ACE Air eManifest include:

Air Carrier

  1. IATA AWB prefix
  2. International carrier bond (type 3)
  3. IATA/ICAO code

Customs Broker

  1. Importer bond (type 1)
  2. Filer code

Container Freight Station/Warehouse

  1. International carrier bond (type 3)
  2. Custodian bond (type 2)
  3. FIRMS code

Direct Injection Shipments

Filers can participate in CBP Section 321 Program through ACE Air that allows the direct injection of shipments on flights to the US. Direct injection is the grouping of small shipments whose total value is less than $800 that the shipper can then send by direct flight to the customer in the US through the Delivered Duty Paid (DPP).

The Section 321 Data Pilot

Customs broker, carriers, online marketplaces, freight forwarders can participate in the Section 321 Program with CBP through the voluntary Section 321 Data Pilot. The Section 321 Data Pilot is a voluntary program by CBP that was launched in 2019 and is expected to run until August 2020. During the test period, carriers and filers may submit conveyance and cargo data to the agency before the arrival of the consignments in the United States.

Unlike Truck eManifest and Air ACE, the pilot is open to air, truck and rail shipments coming into the United States that qualify for Section 321 exemptions. Volunteers may participate in the pilot by transmitting their consignment data through point to point connections with the CBP or a service provider like Customs City Global Solutions Inc. For customs brokers, freight forwarders online marketplaces or carriers without prior connectivity with the agency, they can participate through third-party service providers, brokers or carriers with connectivity to CBP.

Eligibility Requirements

The Section 321 Data Pilot is open to participants in the e-commerce environment such as customs brokers, carriers, freight forwarders and online marketplaces. While there are no restrictions on the size of the eCommerce participant, size, location or commodity sold, volunteers are required to have the requisite infrastructure in place to transmit the data.

Other prerequisites for participation include:

  • Interconnect Security Agreement (ISA) – Participants that install a point to point connection have to agree to comply with security protocols of CBP and sign the ISA.
  • Technical Capacity – Volunteers are required to have the technical capacity to transmit and receive electronic messages from the CBP via a point to point connection. If they do not have the technical capacity, they will have to authorize a third-party service provider, carrier or broker with point-to-point connections that have registered for the data pilot. This third party will then transmit and receive data on their behalf.

Data Elements Required

Carriers and filers that volunteer for the Section 321 data plot are expected to submit specific data and information to CBP. While different organizations will be expected to submit different sets of data, all participants have to electronically submit the following data to the CBP:

  1. CBP assigned Originator Code of carrier or filer participating in the pilot
  2. Mode of transport such as air, truck, and rail
  3. Stakeholder Filer Type (such as freight forwarder, carrier or online marketplace)
  4. One or more of:
  • Shipment Tracking Number
  • House Bill Number
  • Master Bill Number

“Type 86” Informal Entry using the ABI System

Since September 2019 one can participate in a new type of informal entry referred to as Type 86. Using the ABI system, filers and carriers can participate in the Section 321 program as long as their shipments have a value of less than $800. While the new informal entry is still in the test phase and is not mandatory, it is expected to be fully rolled out in due time.

The informal entry is intended to supplement the section 321 program available in ACE Truck eManifest and Air eManifest.  Unlike clearing Section 321 using the manifest, The type 86 informal entry can be used to clear shipments coming in via any mode of transport and can be used even in instances in which the goods have to adhere to the requirements of Participating Government Agencies (PGA’s). Compared to a formal entry or informal entry like Type 11, it tends to be less complicated and more efficient. Moreover, since it supports remote filling, clearance of low-value shipments is expedited.

Who can Participate?

The entry type 86 is open to self-filing importers and customs brokers importing Section 321 shipments of a value less than $800. Under the Type 86, the owner, purchaser or customs broker designated by the owner, purchaser or consignee is required to submit a range of data to the Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP) either before the arrival of the consignment, upon its arrival but no more than fifteen days after the arrival of the cargo. Data required include:

  • The bill of lading or the air waybill number
  • 10-digit HTS number
  • Consignee name and address
  • Country of origin
  • Entry number
  • Retail value of the goods in the country of origin
  • Shipper name, country, and address
  • Quantity
  • Planned port of entry
  • Importer of record (IOR) number of the importer or customs broker

Requirements for Filers under ACE Entry Type 86

  • Customs brokers have to comply with the set out statutory and regulatory requirements including designation by the relevant party before they can submit data and documentation to the CBP.
  • Customs brokers need to set up an electronic Automated Broker Interface connection to the Customs & Border Protection Agency. Through ABI, they will then be able to transmit the required informal type 86 Section 321 data to the CBP.
  • Participation in the ABI interface system will need filers to be compliant with the technical requirements and procedures as set out in the Customs and Trade Automated Interface Requirements CATAIR).

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