It appears that truckers have decided test drives aren't just for vehicles. They've also been taking the government's new electronic manifest system for a test spin. Recent data released by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) indicate that truckers filed nearly 13,000 electronic manifests in September, a significant jump over the 1,000 manifests submitted in April.
The test runs may well save truckers some headaches down the road when electronic filing becomes mandatory. "Every company that makes the switch to e-manifest usage now will avoid the rush and any resulting delays when we begin to make e-manifests mandatory this year," says Lou Samenfink, executive director of the Cargo Systems Program Office.
The first of the e-filing deadlines is now just weeks away. Effective Jan. 25, truckers entering the United States through all ports of entry in Washington and Arizona and seven entry points in North Dakota (Pembina, Neche,Walhalla, Maida, Hannah, Sarles and Hansboro) will be required to file electronic manifests. CBP will expand its mandatory e-filing policy as it completes its rollout of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) technology—which is required for ports to accept electronic manifests. ACE, which is now in place at 49 ports, will eventually be installed at all 99 land border crossing points. Plans call for the program to be expanded to include air, rail and sea cargo in coming years.
For information about how to establish an ACE account, e-mail CBP at firstname.lastname@example.org.