Changes to CBP Procedures May Have Significant Border Impacts

Possibly border delays at Peace BridgeA significant international trade issue is surfacing, that hasn’t received enough attention nationally, with the implementation of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) initiative at the end of this month (2/28). While Welke Customs Brokers USA has worked closely with CBP for some time and supports ACE, we’re seeing the writing is on the wall that the hard start on the 28th will have significant impacts at all U.S. Ports of Entry – enough so that we are educating our clients in advance and warning them to anticipate delays in their logistics and import processes.

As background, ACE is a long term initiative by CBP to provide a single window at the border for trade partners to electronically submit all information needed to facilitate legitimate import and export cargo.  As deployment progresses, ACE will collect, process and share information with other participating government agencies (PGA’s). Manual processes will be streamlined and automated, paper will be eliminated, and the international trade community will be able to more easily and efficiently comply with U.S. regulatory requirements. On February 28th, ACE will be decommissioned in all of CBP’s legacy systems.

Since CBP is moving away from traditional paper documents, importers will be required to transmit additional data pieces in the ACE environment to satisfy Customs and PGA requirements. To best avoid delays, it is important for companies to get a handle on what’s required going forward.

CBP has established the following mandatory use dates for transitioning to ACE:

ACE Implementation expected to have border impacts

Welke has been an active partner with CBP in the ACE pilot program and the migration of our business processes to new applications. As we generally do with policy changes related to importing, we have proactively prepared our clients, but can’t speak, of course, for other brokers and companies handling their import processes in-house. As a result, it’s safe to assume that while ACE will ultimately be a good thing for streamlining U.S. import procedures, it’s not going to transition without growing pains, meaning delays at Ports of Entry.

For additional information on navigating your imports through the changes, please feel free to contact Welke’s trade policy expert, Maureen Celmer, at 716-995-2900 or at

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