ACE Truck eManifest is part of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) program. It mandates all highway carriers to electronically submit conveyance and cargo information to US Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) prior to the arrival of the truck in any of the land border crossings into the US.

The electronic truck eManifest program is one of the most significant developments that has modernized the manifest filing process through digitization. Trucking is made more efficient through the electronic filing of eManifests and has also mitigated risk away from the US border. Electronic filing increases efficiency by saving time at the border, keeping drivers updated in real time about the status of shipments and trips, reducing erroneous data entry common with paper processing.

For the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Agency, the eManifest is a critical component in determining eligibility for entry, as it is used to assess the risk of carriers entering the US. Given that conveyance and electronic cargo is filed with the CBP well in advance, it is easier for customs officials to determine high-risk shipments that need more attention and expedite the release of legitimate low-risk shipments.


Most personal and commercial shipments heading into the US via highway carrier will be required to submit Truck eManifest data to the CBP. According to the rules, all highway carriers need to electronically submit and have their shipment and conveyance data validated by the CBP at least an hour before the arrival of the truck on the US border. FAST (Free & Secure Trade) shipments can be submitted at least 30-minutes before the arrival of the truck at the US border.

Truck eManifest requirements are not applicable to the following shipment type:

  • Certain shipments which can be entered informally on Forms 368 or 368A, Receipt or Cash Collection.

Transmission Options for ACE Truck eManifest Data

There are three ways for highway carriers and authorized filers to electronically submit their truck eManifest information to the CBP. The three methods for electronic filing are: through the ACE Secure Data Portal, through a CBP approved provider or through a direct Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) linkage to CBP.

ACE Secure Data Portal

CBP provides the ACE Secure Portal, an online system where highway carriers can submit their electronic cargo and conveyance data to the CBP. It is free to use and carriers can access from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. The portal is primarily a data management and reporting tool though carriers can use it to electronically file their truck eManifest, respond to filing notices and view historical data. However, it is important to note that the portal was not intended for large businesses with high volumes as eManifests have to be created manually, with the data being entered manually into the web-based system. As such, high volume truck eManifest filers, as well as marine, air, and rail carriers need to submit their eManifests through the CBP Electronic Data Interchange system or use a service provider.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

Electronic Data Interchange is a means of transmitting data between one computer system to another directly. EDI makes it possible for participants in trade to communicate with the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) and other government agencies. All eManifests except for truck eManifests have to be transmitted to the CBP through EDI. The electronic information can be sent to CBP by the highway carrier or another authorized third party. Once the CBP receives, validates and processes the eManifest data, CBP will notify the sender of the rejection or acceptance of their eManifest.

CBP-Approved ACE Truck eManifest Service

Carriers can also transmit their eManifest information through an ACE truck eManifest service offered by third-party filers such as Customs City Global Solutions. The CBP maintains a database of CBP-approved providers who have successfully undergone software and systems testing and been certified as reliable eManifest filers. Custom City Global Solutions Inc is an approved provider that offers ACE truck eManifest services. These services may be filing services on behalf of highway carriers, software integration with existing dispatch systems, or standalone web-based applications.

The integration option makes it possible for highway carriers to extract critical data from in house dispatch systems, which they can then use to create eManifests and automatically send this data to CBP.

A filing service allows carriers to email or fax important data to the service provider, who will then prepare and submit the truck eManifest data via EDI to CBP.

If a carrier has the resources, they can build an EDI connection and ACE eManifest software in house. However, the carrier needs to have their systems tested by the CBP before they are allowed to use it to send eManifest conveyance and cargo data. According to the CBP, it is important for a carrier to have at least two ways of submitting their truck eManifest data since it is inevitable that one method may be unavailable or broken at some point.

How it Affects PAPS

Unless the carrier is hauling an in bond or other special shipment types, the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) is how most commercial shipments into the United States are cleared. PAPS was made mandatory for all truck carriers since the passing of the Trade Act of 2002. PAPS eases the processing of shipments at the border while still maintaining the highest standards of shipment processing and risk assessment.

Prior to ACE truck eManifest becoming mandatory, carriers shipping goods from Canada to the United States had to use PAPS barcodes for every shipment.  A PAPS barcode is technically not mandatory anymore but most carriers still use them and enter that number into ACE as the shipment control number (SCN). The PAPS number doubles as the entry number (for the Southern border with Mexico.)

Carriers need to create a shipment in ACE for all PAPS shipments. The eManifest needs to include details such as place of loading/origin, the SCN (shipment control number), shipment type i.e  PAPS, and trip number. The carrier needs to ensure that the PAPS number they gave to the customs broker is the same number filled into the ACE system. Any discrepancies in the PAPS numbers at the border can result in delays as the customs agents will not be able to determine if the PAPS entry created by the customs broker is the same shipment that the highway carrier is carrying.  The PAPS number (SCN) entered in ACE has to be the same shipment control number referenced on the customs broker PAPS transaction.

Options for Trucking Companies

Individuals and businesses shipping goods to the United States via truck can fill out and submit their eManifest through in house dispatch software and sent to CBP via EDI, an eManifest service/software provided by third parties or through the ACE Portal.

The ACE Portal provides one of the most convenient and straightforward ways of creating truck eManifests though carriers are limited by the fact that eManifests have to be entered into the portal one at a time.  eManifest information such as trip, truck, shipment, and trailer needs to be entered manually. The portal is the most convenient way of submitting truck eManifest data if you cross the border infrequently.

High volume carriers are better off using a service provider or even better subcontract the eManifest filing to CBP to an approved service provider. Custom software can be costly, which is why most businesses prefer to have a CBP approved IT vendor prepare and file their truck eManifest data with the CBP, as this is more efficient and cost-effective.

Will Carriers Still Need Documentation at the Border?

Drivers still need to present the customs officer at the border with a cover sheet and other commercial documentation like the commercial invoice if asked. The ACE cover sheet has details of the trip and shipments. If the ACE system is down, there may be delays and the driver needs to have supporting documents that they will present to the customs officer on demand.

Check out our ACE Truck eManifest page for more information about the ACE Truck eManifest and while at it, sign up for the 30-day free trial today.

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