For 10 years we’ve been hearing about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) changing their system from its legacy system the Automated Commercial System (ACS) to the modern Automated Commercial Environment (ACE).  For the most part that transition is moving forward in short sprints thanks to a small percentage of Customs Brokers willing to participate in pilot programs.  Gratitude is also pushed toward the work of the Trade Support Network, which is a group of trade members such as importers, exporters, customs brokers, trade associations, and carriers that have been working directly with CBP to roll out the important features needed most. 

With that being said, I’m proud to say that Scarbrough International, Ltd. helped make up that small percentage of Customs Brokers.  Scarbrough has been just one of 20 pilot participants with “simplified entry” and has been participating with the Trade Support Network on these changes to assist with CBP’s progress.

Businessman Carrying Pile of Files

How many importers are using ACE?

It’s unfortunate that as of July 2013, CBP reported that only 25% of all entry summaries are being filed in ACE.  Wow — only 25%!  Why so low?  In today’s world of rapidly changing technology, who doesn’t want to participate and why?

As an importer, when you read this statistic, do you wonder, “Does my broker file my entry summaries in ACE?”   No need to worry if you are already a Scarbrough client.  We embrace technology and have been filing entry summaries in ACE since 2009 when it first started.

If you are not a Scarbrough client, at 25%, the answer is likely “NO.”  So why won’t your broker transition to ACE?  Do they “Hand-Jam” your 800-line entries into a legacy system of their own? Do they still use rotary dial telephones at their office?  Fact remains that CBP will not make it mandatory to switch and use all new elements of ACE until 2016.  So now as an importer you must ask yourself, “Do I want to wait that long or do I want to modernize my trade program?”

Let me tell you that not all brokers think in legacy terms.  Many of us are what I call “Modern Brokers.”  Not only are we transmitting your entry summaries in ACE, but we have embraced cloud-based technology which allows us to quickly connect to you electronically from anywhere in the world.  We utilize cutting edge compliance tools which instantly transform that four-hour-800-line-mistake-ridden-hand-jammed-entry into a 60-90 second compliant entry, by uploading the data for that entry and cross reference it with your parts database and Harmonized Tariff Numbers.  Not only does this create a more compliant entry, but it provides us more time to provide you with the service you deserve…. Not to mention the customized and value-added solutions we make happen here at Scarbrough.

So, how is ACE going to affect my company financially?

Actually, your company’s financial officers will be quite happy. Transmitting in ACE allows us to simplify the entry process while providing a cash flow advantage to importers.  For cash flow purposes we can sign our import clients’ up for Periodic Monthly Statement through their own ACH.  They now only have to make 12 duty payments a year direct to CBP.  As a cost savings ACE participants can now utilize Remote Location Filings for entries subject to those horrible Antidumping and Countervailing Duties.  Importers no longer have to pay “Out Port” Entry Fees which I’ve always considered adding insult to injury for import products subject to Antidumping or Countervailing duties.

Technology is changing rapidly with regards to International Trade.  Technology is just as important to international trade as a Modern Customs Broker is.  A Modern Customs Broker leads the way but must continue to maintain an extremely intimate relationship with its client.  That’s why Scarbrough also prides itself on a single point of contact and assigned representative for your convenience.  We don’t agree with the level of service that you see with a lot of brokers and call centers.  It’s a profession of knowledge, compliance and most importantly service and we must embrace the technology that supports all three.

Scarbrough continues to lead the way, and by embracing the latest technology, we can focus on providing our clients with the knowledge, compliance and the service they deserve.

To receive more information on ACE or U.S. Customs Brokerage services, please email