Since the CBP requires importers to submit electronic documentation through the Automated Broker Interface, (ABI) importers need to have access to software that connects to CBP. ABI software makes it possible to file Partner Government Agency (PGA) documentation, entries, and entry summaries and can also be useful for querying ACE for other documentation such as manufacturer information (MID#), quotas, manifest queries, and entry summary status.

ABI Software: What is it?

ABI is the main way that entries and entry summaries are processed in ACE. Using ABI, importers, authorized agents, and customs brokers can connect to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other PGAs. The Automated Broker Interface streamlines processes thus making cargo clearance easier and faster. It also works as a repository of documentation for shipments and helps track the movement of cargo.

The Different Functionalities of ABI

  1. Transmit, validate, confirm, edit and confirm entry and entry summaries
  2. Process payment of fees, taxes, and customs duties through the Automated Clearing House (ACH)
  3. Query trade data that may include manifest status, entry summary status, and cargo release
  4. Process payments for multiple entries at the end of your accounting cycle
  5. Validate fees, taxes, and duties
  6. Communicate with CBP
  7. Receive administrative notices such as notices of suspension, extension and liquidation and real-time reports
  8. Generate error statistic reports and lookup tariff updates

How to Choose the Right CBP Software Vendor

  1. Many companies will make use of either third-party software purchased from an ABI software vendor or in-house ABI software. Given the importance of timely submissions of shipment data, businesses must have updated processes and software to ensure compliance with CBP regulations. Third-party cloud-based ABI software from the CBP-approved list of vendors is usually the best option for many companies given that it is usually more cost-effective. Moreover, given that vendors will usually be up to date with changing ACE requirements and have more streamlined processes, it makes more sense to outsource ABI software vs. developing in-house.The following are some of the most important considerations to take into account when choosing a CBP software vendor for your business:
    1. Frequency of Filing
    2. ABI software features offered
    3. Number of users that will be using the software
    4. Number of shipments or transactions you handle
    5. Ability to clear eCommerce shipments (Type 86)

    Before you decide on a software vendor you will need to conduct due diligence on the company and packages on offer to make it easier to choose the best provider to serve your business needs.

    Brokerage business or any similar sized business can be served well with web-based applications or in-house software that may be installed on company computers. These can then be accessed easily enough with an internet connection. However, cloud-based solutions may be more convenient and reliable for larger businesses as they allow the business to access data and documentation at any time and from any device. Moreover, businesses will not need to have expensive maintenance or installation costs while providing users with more control over data.

    If a business handles the export and import of plants, cosmetics, produce, animal products, and other goods that may be regulated by PGA agencies, you need to find an ABI vendor that is certified for the goods you handle. These products will be identified in the CBP HTS tariff database with PGA flags such as FD1, FD2, FD3, etc.  The software vendor also needs to have the requisite certification so that they can submit documentation electronically with CBP. If your company usually deals with documentation such as in-bond shipments, reconciliation, eManifests, exports, and drawbacks, it is critical to get a vendor with software that supports such functions.

    For companies that handle FTZ transactions, it would be best to have warehouse management in the package offered. This will come in very handy even if customs brokers will handle warehouse entry summaries and entries. It would also be great to have a provider that can tack on payment support, statement processing, tracking, and billing. Depending on the number of users or transactions you will have using the software, you will have to determine the package that can fulfill the company and user needs.

    The best companies will usually provide technical assistance and 24 x 7 support on customs matters in the various packages on offer. The level of support to expect may vary depending on the package chosen even though it is best to go with an ABI software vendor that provides 24/7 multichannel support.

The Customs City Automated Broker Interface Software

  1. Customs City Global Solutions Inc. is a CBP approved ABI software vendor, is also a software vendor for ACE Manifest Truck Software, ACE Manifest Ocean Software Vendor, and ACE Manifest Air Software Vendor that provides comprehensive and advanced features that authorized agents, importers, and customs brokers can use to submit shipment documentation to CBP.Customs City Global Solutions Inc. ABI software enables the transmission of shipment documentation to CBP using an Electronic Data Exchange system. This is the most preferred way of transmission as it allows for even large-volume filers to transmit documents and data fast and conveniently.  As a CBP software vendor, our software makes it possible to prepare the documentation, confirm and validate data and make any corrections to entry summaries from one portal.

    The Following are some of the functionalities of our Software:

    1. Report generation
    2. Rapid creation of Type 86 entries via Excel upload or JSON API
    3. Manifest Query
    4. Linking the Cargo Release with the manifest submission (Truck eManifest, Air eManifest or Ocean eManifest)
    5. Real-time data mapper
    6. Re-generation of entry numbers if you encounter any duplicates used in the past
    7. “Find & Replace” HTS feature which allows users to rapidly change large numbers of HTS at the same time

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