CBP to Convene ‘War Room’ During ACE Transition Period

Excerpt from: International Trade Today | By: Tim Warren | June 2 2015

CBP plans to bring together a “war room” of agency expertise that will address issues related to the planned Nov. 1 transition to the Automated Commercial Environment, said Deborah Augustin, acting executive director for the CBP ACE Business Office, on May 27 during the West Coast Trade Symposium in Tacoma, Washington.

The group will be made up of client representatives, technical experts, and field personnel that will take questions and work to limit any effects on the flow of cargo, she said. The agency is preparing to have a similar setup for the Air Manifest transition and will consider that experience as it prepares for the November timeframe, she said.

As of Nov. 1, ACE will be required for electronic filing of cargo release entries and CBP is committed to doing “regular assessments” of how ready CBP and the trade industry are ahead of the move to ACE, said Steve Hilsen, who is leading the International Trade Data System effort at CBP.

“We’re not going to stop freight at the ports,” he said in response to a question on whether the agency had contingency plans if there’s problems in the move to ACE.

Filers that interact frequently with the Food and Drug Administration should be sure to know who to contact ahead of the Nov. 1 transition date, as well as the July 1 FDA pilot testing, said Domenic Veneziano, director in the Division of Import Operations at the FDA. Brokers or importers of record that depend on cargo release for a living should take great care to prepare for the ACE transition, said Vince Iacopella, executive vice president at the Janel Group.

“The number one benefit for being ready is that on November 1, your supply chain is going to be moving,” he said. “The benefit is going to be that your business model is not at risk.” There are “considerable heavy lifts” between now and November, but “the risks of this not working to the supply chain are so great, that the trade and CBP are going to make it work,” he said.