Since January 2019, it has been mandatory to file advanced eManifest for Section 321 shipments which are shipments with a value of $800 or less. While all shipments that qualify for Section 321 shipments may enter the United States tax and duty-free, the trucker or highway carrier needs to file the electronic eManifest with CBP at least 1 hour before the arrival of the truck at the border.

Highway carriers/Truckers or their agents have to send their Section 321 eManifest to Customs & Border Protection (CBP) through the ACE system before the truck arrives at the port of entry. The rule ensures that trip and shipment details are available to Customs officials before the truck arrives at the port.

NOTE: Even if the carrier sends paperwork to a US customs broker they will still need to file the electronic eManifest to CBP.   Customs brokers send entry information to CBP related to the duty & tax of the shipments while the carrier sends manifest level data which is related to the security of the shipment.  ACE eManifest is a security program that mitigates risk away from the US border.

Shipment Type – Section 321

Shipment type refers to the clearance method that carriers use when crossing the US borders.  Regular shipments are also known as PAPS (pre-arrival processing system) shipments and these shipments will require an entry number linked from a customs broker before the truck arrives at the border, otherwise, the driver will be sent to secondary processing.

Section 321 shipments, on the other hand, don’t require an entry number from the customs broker.  Section 321 shipments will clear on the manifest.

Customs Broker Formal and Informal Entries

  1. Formal Entry – Typically refers to high-value goods that are often used for resale or commercial purposes. The value is more than $2500 and typically deemed high value and will be classified as formal entries.
  2. Informal Entry – Typically refers to low-value goods that may be used for commercial or personal use. Any shipments valued at between $801 and $2500 are deemed informal entries.
  3. Section 321 – While these are generally referred to as informal entries, they are low-value shipments whose value is between $0 and $800. These shipments will clear on the carrier manifest.

How to Upload Section 321 ACE eManifest

Uploading Section 321 shipment data for ACE Truck eManifest is a simple procedure given that most Truck ACE eManifest software providers have automated the process. What you need to do is to enter “Section 321” as the shipment type, and then save time by uploading the data in an Excel or CSV file.

When the trucker arrives at the border, they need to present their ACE lead sheet among other commercial documents.  It is always the discretion of the officer if an inspection of the cargo will take place.

For goods to be released by Customs under Section 321, they need to have a value less than $800 USD and not be part of several lots of a single contract or order.  The $800 limit applies to a single customer or individual per day.

Truckers with large import volumes cannot consolidate their shipments into one consignment as the total value will be worth more than $800. They will have to include shipment on the manifest for each consignee on the truck.  Each section 321 shipment will need to have a unique shipment control numbers (SCN). Other shipment data from the ACE eManifest that you will enter include:

  1. Shipment Type
  2. Shipper Name
  3. Shipper Address
  4. Shipper City
  5. Shipper Country
  6. Shipper Province
  7. Shipper Postal Code
  8. Port of Loading
  9. Consignee Name
  10. Consignee Address (No postal office or courier service addresses are allowed.)
  11. Consignee City
  12. Consignee Country
  13. Consignee State
  14. Consignee Zip Code
  15. Product Description (Use a general cargo description. If you’re shipping officer furniture you can say just that.  You don’t have to list out all of the furniture items that you’re carrying)
  16. Product Quantity
  17. Product UOM (Unit of Measure)
  18. Product Weight
  19. Product Unit of Weight
  20. Product Value (Needs to be less or equal to $800 but can be $0)
  21. Country of Origin

Section 321 Restrictions

Most cargo qualifies under section 321 unless it falls under the below restrictions.

  1. An inspection prior to clearance
  2. Countervailing duty/Anti-Dumping (CVD/ADD)
  3. Quotas
  4. Regulation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSA), National Highway Transport and Safety Administration (NHTSA), Food Safety Inspection Service, and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Truckers will also need to enter the details of the trip before uploading the CSV file in the ACE system. Some of the data that would be entered include:

  1. SCAC Code (Standard Carrier Alpha Code issued by NMFTA (National Motor Freight Traffic Association)
  2. Arrival Date
  3. Trip Number
  4. Arrival Port
  5. Truck details (plate #, VIN#)
  6. Trailer (plate #)
  7. Driver(s) (passport #, FAST card, DL#)
  8. Passenger(s)

Note that CBP may reject clearance under section 321 if the shipment declared under Section 321 is believed to be high risk.

Submission Methods for Section 321 Shipments

There are several ways to file ACE eManifests in ACE that include, using electronic data interchange (EDI), the ACE Secure Data Portal, and third-party service providers.

  1. The ACE Secure Data Portal

The ACE Portal or the ACE Secure Data Portal is a web-based application that makes it possible for the Customs & Border Protection (CBP), partner government agencies and trade participants to exchange information and communicate with each other. It is one of the most convenient ways of creating truck shipment data via ACE, as all one needs is a web browser, a computer and an internet connection. Nonetheless, while it is, for the most part, a monitoring and reporting application that does not provide a lot of features, it can be used to access custom reports and submit low volume truck eManifests.

  1. The EDI Connection

The Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is another very popular way that truckers can use to upload their Section 321 Shipment Data for ACE Truck eManifest to CBP. EDI is particularly effective for high volume users and businesses as it allows for submission of multiple eManifests at once.

  1. Third-Party Service Providers

Truckers or carriers importing one or two shipments can file for Sec 321 entry through the ACE. However, it can be a time consuming and highly ineffective way of uploading data for frequent users or businesses with high volumes. In such an instance, highway carriers may develop a dedicated ACE eManifest solution or use one of the many CBP approved service providers. The advantage of using third-party solution providers is that their systems and software have been tested and approved for use in uploading data and communicating with ACE.

NOTE: The ACE Portal is designed for low volume carriers. High volume uploads of eManifest data should be done through third-party service providers or using EDI since this allows truckers to upload a large number of eManifest shipments at once.

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