What is ACE CBP?

Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), is a system through which the trade community shares details about imports and exports. Based on the data provided, the government determines whether or not to admit the goods. The US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) makes use of technology and automation to ensure that all the processes are streamlined to facilitate a smooth and seamless global exchange of legitimate goods.

What is the goal of ACE?

ACE enables the trade community to connect with the CBP through a convenient and centralized single window.

  • This can help eliminate redundancy
  • Keep paperwork to the bare minimum
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Facilitate faster processing of imports and exports

Features of ACE

ACE is used by the CBP and its Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) to collect, track, and process trade information required by the government. ACE has modernized and streamlined trade processing across all business capabilities, including manifest, cargo release, post-release, export, and PGAs.

1. Manifest

Electronic import manifests make it easy for the government to determine if the incoming cargo via air, ocean, rail, and truck can be allowed to enter the country or if it would be risky. It helps:-

  • To reduce the wait time for processing goods at the ports of entry.
  • To access detailed information/status of cargo through regular updates.

2. Cargo Release

The CBP coordinates with representatives of trade associations to simplify the entry process. The data set is condensed, leading to easy and quick filing for electronic submissions. The key benefits of this feature are listed below.

  • The submission of data is streamlined.
  • Faster and accurate processing allows PGAs and CBP personnel to provide improved security, safety, and compliance.
  • You need not file CBP form 3461.

3. Post Release

The users can submit post-summary corrections related to reconciliation, drawback, liquidation, and statements. The benefits of doing this are as follows:-

  • Electronic census overrides help reduce electronic invoice transmissions.
  • The costs of courier and administrative processes are minimized as there is no manual paperwork.
  • Participants can pay monthly fees instead of paying per transaction thanks to ACE periodic monthly statements (PMS).

4. PGAs

ACE coordinates closely with the PGAs to offer a single-window convenience to its users. The benefits of this feature are given below.

  • Faster and hassle-free submission of documents through the Document Image System (DIS).
  • PGA interoperability allows the CBP and PGA systems to coordinate and share information, documents, and other mandatory requirements.
  • PGA message set provides processing instructions and record formats needed to submit PGA-related information to ACE.

Why do you Need to Own an ACE Account?

An ACE account acts as a centralized online resource for all the information you need about the importing process. It is a single-window system that allows you to get an instant view of all your transactions and financial data. You can download your account data from the portal and import it into your local reporting system. As an importer, you can enroll to receive PMS and also customize your payment schedules.

What is ACE Secure Data Portal

This is a web-based entry point for ACE and provides a centralized online access point to all the players involved in the import of goods to the US. It connects the user to the CBP, trade representatives, and government agencies. Account-holders can identify compliance issues, evaluate them, monitor operations daily, set up payment options, and respond to filings on the portal. They can also indulge in activities such as accessing report tools, compiling data, and analyzing national trends.

The benefits of this portal for the importers are listed below:-

  • Useful for receiving, responding, and monitoring the CBP forms.
  • Enrolling for periodic monthly statements and customizing payment schedules.
  • Accessing the Importer Security Filing (ISF) and progress reports, and other tools for real-time data.

ACE is the continuation of the efforts by the CBP to modernize all its processes. The multi-year project is being deployed in phases. ACE aims to provide a solid technology foundation for all border security initiatives that the CBP is mandated to manage.

Introduction to an ACE Portal Account

The ACE Portal is crafted to transform the existing methods and processes by introducing modern technology. It is designed to enhance trade processing, which can be achieved by using top-of-the-line features that consolidate and automate border processing. ACE makes the processing needs easy and streamlined by providing a single, centralized window for connecting the CBP, PGAs, and the trade community.

The ACE Portal enables the CBP to receive and process data faster and allows PGAs to receive and respond to specific data that are within their control. The portal also helps the trade community get online access to their CBP transactional data.

There are two primary methods of interacting on the ACE portal:-

1. Filing transactions via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) interfaces

EDI is the only platform through which all transactions can be filed on the ACE portal. Apart from filing an electronic truck manifest and ISF for low-volume filers, transactions like entries, entry summaries, rail, and ocean manifests can be filed.

2. Using ACE Secure Data Portal

The ACE Portal allows users to file electronic truck manifests, access financial data, and run reports. The reports can be used to monitor compliance and track daily operations.

ACE Account Structure

The users can opt for the following account structures:-

  • Top Accounts

These accounts are usually established for a company and connect all the sub-accounts, account functions, and users.

  • Sub-Accounts

The sub-accounts are used to manage and execute the functions of a company. This may include multiple importer sub-accounts, exporter accounts, and carrier accounts.

Using the services of an authorized customs broker is highly recommended for opening and managing your ACE account. It can help simplify customs processing and ensure optimal compliance. Apart from the regular benefits, a qualified and competent customs broker can also offer a series of other valuable features such as bulk filing, report generation, and round-the-clock assistance on compliance issues.

How to apply for an ACE Secure Data Portal Account?

Applying for an Account

If you are applying for an ACE Portal account, ensure that your company doesn't have one. The instructions on how companies can apply are given below: -

  • Step 1: Identify the Sub-account Type It would be best to investigate which Sub-Account Type your company will need according to your business activity.

  • Step 2: Assign an Account Owner Select a reliable individual or entity who will be the manager of your corporate account. They don't need to be the owner of the company.

  • Step 3: Select the applicable application method This step includes going through the various application methods such as protest filers, exporters, and all other business activities. The verification process for an ACE account takes around a week due to the large influx of applications.

  • Step 4: Login and Setup Account Once the account is established, the Account Owner needs to visit the ACE CBP login page and access the account using the unique credentials. The first login or account setup requires them to create user profiles and sub-accounts.

What are the benefits of an ACE Portal Account?

The benefits of having your ACE accounts can be categorized into the following:-


When you own an ACE account, you can enjoy the convenience of receiving near real-time access to data.

You can get hourly updates for account revenue. Multi-modal manifest data is updated for access every two hours. Compliance data is provided every month. All other relevant data is updated at the end of the day.


Your company can look forward to enhanced compliance with the constantly changing trade laws. This is done by running targeted reports to conduct audits and identifying systematic errors. It also provides insights into all the entries under review by the CBP.

Periodic Monthly Statements (PMS)

By having an ACE account, you can access the PMS which is a crucial tool for streamlining accounting and payments of fees and duties. A PMS schedule can be availed monthly without paying any interest. As an ACE account holder, you can pay for shipments entered or released during the previous month by the 15th working day of the current month. Brokers are also allowed to pay on behalf of the importers if they have an ACE account.

Filers can track all importing and processing activities by using a customized ACE account through the ACE Secure Data Portal.

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