The U.S Customs & Border Protection (CBP) have introduced a single portal for tracking and approving trade imports and exports across borders. Every company involved in trading cargo and commodities in and out of the US needs to have an Automated Commercial-Environment (ACE) account.
To access the account, companies use the ACE login page to check the current status of account verification. The CBP login page is highly secure and offers various features for the convenience of the users and the US government.
Information on ACE Accounts
A brief description of ACE accounts is crucial for a better understanding of the structure and the different types of accounts.
An ACE account is made of two parts; top account and sub-account. Every ACE account holder has a top primary account and one or more sub-accounts upon approval. In order to create an ACE account, a corporate proof like employer identification number is required during the application.The top account is created immediately after approval of the application following which the sub-accounts and user profiles are linked. Every account can have a single top account which is also called the primary account.
As already mentioned, sub-accounts focus on the type of business and the tasks to be executed. The number of sub-accounts is a variable which depends on the size and complexity of the organization. Sub-accounts are handled by account owners.
Types of Sub-accounts: The sub-accounts should relate to the trade activities which can be imports, surety, etc. The sub-account also manages the current tasks which can be executed by the users using the CBP ACE portal account. It
is mandatory for applicants to choose at least one sub-account that reflects a single business activity.
User Profiles: These can be considered as objects of a class that has different configurations and used to carry out diverse tasks. The basic user profiles normally in use are Account Owners, Account Users, and Proxy Account Owners which offer different privileges and features. Following the establishment of an ACE account, the company can access the Account Owner user profile to create further user profiles with limited privileges for employee use.
The Customs Border-Protection force has made it clear under the terms and conditions that Account Owners on the CBP ACE platform take the sole responsibility of protecting sensitive information and employee accessibility of the account. A leak of credentials is a breach of the agreement and the ACE support team will not be able to reset passwords or lock accounts on request.
Before applying for an ACE account, it is to be ensured that the company has no existing ACE account. Account Owners of an ACE account have the privileges of creating different user profiles within the same top account for access to employees of the company. To retrieve details of an account owner, you should contact the ACE support team that is available 24/7.
Step 1: The first step includes figuring out the type of sub-accounts that would be required for the business activities carried out by your company.
Step 2: The next step involves selecting a reliable and trustworthy Account Owner who will be responsible for managing the top account and creating user profiles. It is not mandatory for account owners to be the chairman or the owner of the company.
Step 3: This step includes going through different application methods such as Protest Filers as well as Exporters and various other business activities. The verification process for an ACE account takes around a week due to a large number of applications at any point in time. To check the status of the application, you may contact the ACE support team.
Step 4: After successful processing of the ACE account application, the designated Account Owner has to visit the CBP login page and access the account using the unique credentials. The first login requires setting up of the required number of user profiles and sub-accounts if required.
CBP ACE Portal Account Features
Create and Maintain Ocean Conveyances
After the introduction of ACE e-manifest, rail, sea and ocean conveyance details are maintained in the CBP ACE database. This feature has made it very convenient for ocean carriers with an existing ACE account to input the conveyance information in a default template.
After logging in to the ACE account, clicking on the accounts tab on the screen will ask that you select the type of sub-account which should be input as a carrier for creating the conveyance information. You are required to input general information until you come across the Conveyances Tab. This section requires intricate details such as Vessel Name, IMO code, Nationality, etc. Upon the submission of complete information, the conveyance details are conveyed to the concerned authorities.
ACE Truck e-manifests
E-manifests for Trucks are in alignment with the 2002 Trade-Act which requires carriers to produce truck e-manifests to the US CBP before the arrival of trucks at the US border crossing.
This technique is essential and convenient at the same time. It saves a lot of time and ends unnecessary suspicion due to prior receipt of e-manifest by the border security personnel. This process also tracks the location and whereabouts of the package for improved security. The e-manifests are required to be submitted through the ACE portal 1-hour before arrival at the border ensuring complete security and smooth flow of trade operations.
After the introduction of e-manifest, the CBP requires all sea and rail carriers to create and modify a list of Type 2 In-Bond users through the CBP ACE portal which is scrutinized and approved by the authorities. This feature gives the sea or rail carriers to manage and control the Type 2 custodial bond.
Receiving And Responding To CBP Forms
The ACE online portal allows Account managers to receive and transmit three types of CBP forms which are as follow:
- CBP form 28: Request for Information.
- CBP form 29: Notice of Action.
- CBP form 4647: Notice to Re-deliver.
This feature demands the user to choose the desired mode of communication which becomes the default way for receiving and sending forms to the CBP. There are two modes of communication which are through Mail or Portal. The account owner of the ACE portal should provide access to the mode of communication to other user profiles as and when required.
Create, arrive and export bonds for Truck eManifest (ACE eManifest)
The sophisticated ACE eManifest equips the carriers and agents with the power to request the movement of in-bond shipments and report the arrival and export of in-bond shipments.
These processes use the ACE portal or the EDI transmissions for execution. For authentic ABI users, the in-bond move requests for ACE compatible carrier shipments can be requested using the ABI QP application.
AD/CVD Cases And Messages
Antidumping (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations are supervised by the DoC (Department-of-Commerce). They find out the deviation of the prices of products that are sold at a higher rate in the United States.
The International Trade-Commission is entrusted with the responsibility of thoroughly investigating whether dumping is evident, after which it is expected to point out any signs of collateral damage.
Periodic Monthly Statements
This feature of ACE facilitates smooth and quick payment of fees and applicable duties. Periodic Monthly Statements require payment of fees on a monthly basis. Currently, the filers are provided with three payment options which are as follows:
- Single pay method which requires the users to make payments on every entry.
- Daily statement method which involves payment for all the entries in a single day.
- Period Monthly Statement which includes a monthly payment of all the fees accumulated in a month.
The payment is done through the Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) feature. These statements include complete summaries of all the entries made in a month with accurate details to avoid any confusion.
Automated Export System (AES)
This portal was designed and implemented by the CBP, the Bureau-of-Industry and Security and the Foreign Trade-Division of the Bureau-of-the-Census. Before an exporter makes shipping arrangements with any carrier, the information of the merchandise is conveyed to the CBP through the AES system.
The AES is an automated system that cross-checks the information with the US guidelines following which a message is generated which reads a confirmatory message or an error message. The error messages should not be overlooked and require immediate correction before retransmitting to the CBP through AES.
After the introduction of the e-manifest feature, the US CBP allowed self-filers and brokers who are a part of Border Release Advanced Selectivity System (BRASS) and Free and Secure Trade (FAST) to create and modify entry banks using the ACE portal.
This eradicates the dependency on CBP for the creation of entry banks. Brokers in the Rail & Sea domain can create entry banks for “ Rail Line Release”. The Account Owner must give rights to the Proxy Account Owners and users to access the Accounts tab for creating an entry bank.
Post Summary Corrections
The US CBP has developed sophisticated ACE features that are related to Entry Summary, Accounts, & Revenue (ESAR).
These features enhance the capabilities of the Electronic Data-Interchange (EDI) which directly affect the analysis of post summary correction for every entry summary present in the ACE database.
The Quick Reference-Card (QRC) feature allows the users to access the ACE reports application in the secure ACE portal. After logging in to the ACE portal with the credentials, one can click on the Accounts tab that displays a task selector which is a list of various functionalities including Reports.
Clicking on the hyperlink launches the application where one can view all types of information related to the business activities such as e-manifests, fees, and duties, payment scheme, details of entry into US soil, etc.
Importer Security-Filing (ISF)
ISF of cargo is the advance to CBP regarding the details and quantity of the cargo to efficiently detect US-bound cargo that can raise national security concerns. ISF has been established to strengthen security at US borders for the safety of its citizens.
The CBP fine is $5,000 for improper or late ISF. Goods at the border without an ISF filing are withheld by the CBP. Cargo that has a proper ISF filed but not compliant with the guidelines are held for inspection.
In case the decision by the US CBP is not justified enough or in the case of rectification of incorrect data, the person has three choices, the availability of which depends on the liquidation status of the entry summary. After liquidation, the options are narrowed down to one which is to file a Protest.
In order to file a protest, the company can opt for the paper submission approach or through the secure ACE protest application on the ACE portal. A CBP-Form 19 is provided to the users to add a protest in the ACE portal.