Rail and Ocean Carriers: Transition to the ACE e-Manifest

Customs recently published an important reminder for all rail and sea carriers regarding the impending transition from the Automated Manifest System (AMS) to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) e-Manifest system.  As you’re probably aware, ACE is the gradual consolidation and automation of Customs’ current border processing systems, which is being implemented through the constantly-improving ACE Secure Data Portal.  In August of last year, Customs updated the e-Manifest system, previously used only for the processing of truck cargo, to be an alternative to the AMS for rail and sea carriers as well.  The latest planned shift, scheduled to occur on September 29, 2012, marks yet another step towards consolidation by eradicating the AMS entirely.  So if your company hasn’t yet started to transition to the new e-Manifest system, it is advisable that you heed the advice contained within this Customs bulletin (reproduced below) and contact your software provider as soon as possible.[1]


Are you ready for ACE e-Manifest: Rail and Sea (M1)?

The 60 day countdown has begun!

 In less than 60 days, effective September 29, 2012, ACE will be the only approved EDI for transmitting required advance rail and sea cargo information and ABI in-bond transactions to CBP.

As of July 31, 2012, 96% of ocean carriers and 83% of ABI software developers impacted by the transition to M1 have either completed or are in the onboarding process. All rail carriers are either in production or currently testing.

** If you are part of the 4% of the ocean carriers or the 17% of the ABI software developers who are NOT yet testing ACE Rail and Sea Manifest, NOW is the time to contact your Client Representative for assistance.**

CBP is finding that many software developers have misinterpreted sections of the Implementation Guidelines that have resulted in programming changes to trade software. If you have not been in touch with your Client Representative to begin certification testing, please do so immediately!

If you submit sea or rail cargo information, file ABI in-bond transactions, or receive broker download information via ABI, you or your software provider must transition to ACE, or your transactions will fail when the current Automated Manifest System (AMS) for rail and sea is decommissioned.

In order to ensure that EDI messages for rail and sea manifest and ABI in-bond transactions do not fail, it is essential that by September 29, 2012:

  1. The required programming changes are completed,
  2. Certification testing is completed in coordination with your Client Rep, AND
  3. The switch to production for ACE e-Manifest: Rail and Sea is made.

For additional information, please refer to the recently-conducted webinar available on CBP.gov at


Further information on ACE e-Manifest: Rail and Sea is available at


As of July 29, only 60 days remain to complete all of the steps necessary to make the transition to ACE rail and sea manifest filing.”[2]



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