U.S. Customs and Border Protection said on Monday that it is extending its November deadline for the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) “single window” program until February 18, 2016.
This followed a rash of complaints and concerns from brokers, shippers and others who said they are not ready for the new system.
Many U.S. shippers have told the agency in recent months they were running out of time and more internal agency checks were needed before the rollout of the Customs new automated commercial environment.
The single window system promises to consolidate, automate and modernize border processing. When complete, it’s single, electronic portal will allow importers and exporters to share trade documents with government agencies, saving shippers and broker’s time and money.
Shippers groups such as the Trade Leadership Council, however, voiced concerns that the program is not entirely ready and many of the importers, exporters, customs house brokers, freight forwarders and carriers they represent simply are not prepared.
The agency said that due to the response from the trade industry, they would be postponing the full rollout of ACE until Feb. 28, 2016.
“Instead, November 1 will represent the beginning of a transition period for Customs Border Protection (CBP). It means more time to test the system and for agencies and industry partners to provide feedback, “Acting Executive Director at the ACE business office, Deborah Augustin said.
“Nevertheless, by February 27, 2016, industry partners will be expected to transit,” she added.
The news that the agency had reversed course met a warm welcome in the trade community. Many like the Express Association of America were on the stakeholders’ conference call when Customs first announced the change.
“We are grateful for the change and the transparency from CBP,” an association representative said.
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