U.S. Customs and Border Protection will make the ACE program
mandatory for all trucks entering the U.S. through Washington and Arizona, and through several crossings in North Dakota as of Jan. 25, 2007.
The Automated Commercial Environment, part of the Trade Act
of 2002, is the preferred cargo manifest for shippers, trucking companies and
small-business truckers to use, regardless where the truck originates, according
to the Department of Homeland Security.
Before approaching the U.S. border in ACE-equipped regions,
shippers will be required to submit an electronic cargo manifest to U.S. customs for purposes of homeland security. Trucks will be scanned in a designated lane
and move right through if everything checks out.
The Federal Register listed the ACE requirement Oct.
27, giving 90 days notice of the deadline of Jan. 25, 2007, for trucks crossing
entry ports that are ACE-equipped.
All ports of entry in Washington and Arizona are involved in
the mandatory ACE rollout, while in North Dakota, the entry points of Pembina,
Neche, Walhalla, Maida, Hannah, Sarles and Hansboro are part of the rollout.
Customs officials have said that ACE will soon become
mandatory at all U.S. ports of entry.
U.S. trucks that cross into Canada or Mexico and then return to the U.S. are included in the requirement, even if pulling an empty
ACE accounts cost nothing to set up, and the electronic
manifests are also free, but some truckers not familiar with the requirements
have hired third-party providers to open up electronic accounts for them or
their companies for a fee.
For answers to frequently asked questions about the ACE
program, click here, or call the Customs
Department at 202) 344-1770.