U.S. Customs clears personal, unaccompanied cargo under ACE

| 8/20/2007

Department of Homeland Security officials have expanded the ACE program to make certain personal and unaccompanied cargo eligible to be cleared for customs in advance of a border crossing.

ACE – or Automated Commercial Environment – allows trucking companies and shippers to submit customs documents via computer that inform U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials about their cargo in advance of a border crossing onto U.S. soil.

Customs officials published a notice Wednesday, Aug. 15, in the Federal Register to expand the list of cargo that qualifies under ACE.

The list now includes personal shipments including:

  • business documents;
  • engineering blueprints and materials;
  • corpses, coffins and accompanying flowers;
  • exported articles returned to the U.S. within 45 days of delivery;
  • domestic aircraft parts being returned to the U.S. from abroad;
  • duty-free items not exceeding $2,000; or
  • tools of trade or personal non-tariff items claimed under U.S. tariff rules.

The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection created the ACE program in an effort to speed up border trade and identify cargo at all 99 U.S. border crossings for security reasons.

Trucking companies using ACE file cargo manifests by computer in advance of approaching the border. Once an ACE participant gets to the border, an officer makes a quick scan of the truck to clear the cargo for customs. Cargo crossing the border into the U.S. without an ACE manifest is subject to more thorough inspections.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has authorized certain third-party companies to issue ACE cargo documentation on behalf of trucking companies.

Click here to learn more about ACE and U.S. Customs.

Click here to read the Federal Register notice regarding the latest change.