Most of you have probably read the CSMS 15-000644.  CBP has actually listened to the trade and their own technical staff and have come up with a reasonable and effective revision to the Ace rollout.
To sum up:

  1. Live deadline is now Feb 29th 2016 instead of Nov 1st 2015
  2. Mandatory PGA’s at that time are only FDA, NHTSA and Lacey
  3. By July 16th 2016 all of the other “new” pga’s will become live. We expect to be running pilots for all of these over the next 8 months.
  4. ACS still dies on November 30th 2016

What does that change for Xtheta (apart from giving us some breathing room)


  • Complete our PGA Pilots for FDA, NHTSA and Lacey.  We are still interested in any clients bring in FDA regulated Cosmetics, Tobacco, Biologics, Radiation emitting devices and animal drugs and devices. We need to run pilots for these products.
  • Circle back and clean up some of the less than optimal code that we have created.  We have designed a much improved PSC model and will be implementing that soon. There are a number of other efficiency recommendation we have received from our clients and these will now be implemented sooner rather than later.
  • Update our EDI specs (Mainx and AII) to accommodate the new PGA feeds. This will hopefully give your clients time to react and modify their programming.
  • Redesign the product database to handle all the PGA’s

What does this mean for you brokers out there?

  • Get your customers on board.  This means talking to them to identify where they will be getting the new PGA data fields.  You can run a spreadsheet from our system showing exactly what agencies they need to work with.
  • Make sure your staff are trained.  Key people need to read the appropriate ACE documentation and be prepared to understand the new PGA messaging.
  • If you have any custom EDI programs work with us to see what changes your customers will need to make

How about our importers?

  • Check to see what PGA’s you need to worry about
  • If you have any EDI work with Xtheta to change as needed
  • Stay in touch with us on a regular basis

 You are now in an excellent position to move into ACE completely.  In order to make this transition process smoother we will be moving to a weekly update. We understand that this will cause some discomfort for larger users with strict update controls however with the ongoing pace of change we can see no alternative.  If you are not comfortable with this please discuss it with us and we can try and come up with alternative solutions.
And may the Force be with you!

The dates for these Pilots vary by port and PGA.  If you want to be involved in a Pilot program there are several steps that you need to take.

  1. Talk to your ABI Rep -- They can tell you what Pilots are available in your port and how to sign up for one.
  2. Give us a call -- We will make sure the correct software is installed on your system.  We will also send you a spreadsheet template identifying all the data you need to collect for the PGA in question.
  3. Take a few minutes and read the ACE Guide -- If the link doesn't work you can find the ACE Guide under the Help & Docs menu. Regular updates to the documentation will continue to be added, so check back often!
  4. Read the Implementation Guide for the PGA you choose -- These guides can be found under the ACE Automated Broker Interface (ABI) and CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements (CATAIR). These can be found under the PGA Message Set tab but for your ease of use, here is the direct link. We strongly recommend you read the guide as it contains all the business rules you will need to follow.

Be very aware that these are PILOTS and you should expect to spend a considerable amount of time understanding the new data formats, working with Xtheta, your client rep, the Importer and the PGA representative to make it all work.  Expect there to be problems and that the most common problem will probably be delayed releases.  You should also be very flexible in putting on software updates.  All parties will be fixing problems as they are encountered.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be doing a series of webinars to help showcase some of the features in the newest version of Xcb.   Each webinar will cover a different topic related to the newest version of the software.  

The series is next week with a quick overview of how the Xcb web portal works, and then we dive right into how events and new notification options can help you manage your import/export business better.

For more information - or to sign up, visit the webinar page in our support section.

Change is afoot at XthetaThings are changing for the better

Over the next few months, we’re going to be rolling out a variety of changes that are targeted at improving your experience using our software.  

New Website

If you haven’t had a chance yet – check out our new website!  From integrated product information to important support resources, it’s been completely redesigned to make it easier to find the information you need.  Plus, we've integrated a new feature called “My Xtheta” which puts essential resources at your fingertips.

New Xcb portal

You may have heard that we've done a substantial rewrite of the Xcb web portal.  This new version will be rolling out shortly.  So, over the next few weeks we’re going to be doing a series of webinars to help showcase some of the features in the newest version of Xcb.   Each webinar will cover a different topic related to the newest version of the software.

Here’s the schedule and topics:  

  • Thursday 5/21 at 2pm – Overview & Events/Rules
    What’s new in the system overall (how the UI has changed, integrated help, etc).   Introduction to the new events system as well as new notification options like text messaging and “personal” event rules.
  • Thursday 5/28 at 2pm – Imaging
    Imaging upload & edit, import from email, & workflows.  New features that will help you go paperless.
  • Thursday 6/4 at 2pm – Reporting
    Additional reporting options including customers, contacts, event/event rule setup.   Filtering on any field, download live in browser, faster results
  • Thursday 6/11 at 2pm – ACE PGA status update
    Take a little detour from the new webapp features and find out where things are at with the new PGAs and ACE
  • Thursday 6/18 at 2pm – Web tracking, mobile views, & dashboard
    Keeping track of multiple versions, having a single view of your data, adding dashboard widgets
  • Thursday 6/25 at 2pm – Securing your system
    Setting up single sign on, granting/denying access to specific areas or items in the system, C-TPAT & Xcb security

Full call-in / sign up details will be posted on our website.    We’ll also plan to record the webinars for those who can’t make it.

ACE PGA statusWhat you really need to know about ACE PGAs

Over the last 5 months, we have spent many hours working with CBP and the PGA's to help build the Implementation Guides for each agency.   By the end of May, CBP expects to publish the guides for all the agencies that will be live on November 1st.  Pilots will be announced in Federal Register notices, and we expect many will start in July.

We’ll keep our ACE guide updated throughout this process so you can better prepare for any changes that may impact you.  Once CBP starts publishing the new HTS flags for the agencies, we’ll also release a report that you can use to see the effects on your company based on past filings.

Below is a list of agencies that should be live on November 1st.  We are specifically concentrating on agencies that are listed in bold.  If you have a particular interest in one of the less common PGA’s please let us know!

AgencyIG Review StatusSubstantial process changeDirect paper replacement
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) In process
APHIS – Lacey Complete
APHIS – non-Lacey Complete
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Complete
Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) Just started
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Complete
Directorate of Defense Controls (DDTC) Complete
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) Not started -
Defense Contracts Management Agency (DCMA) Not started -
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Complete
Agricultural Marketing Service Complete -
Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) Complete

* FCC specific requirements seem to be going away as part of ACE.

Food and Drug Administration

There will be substantial changes to the way FDA data is filed.  FDA will now have different screens by commodity type.  These types are:

  • Biologics  
  • Combined Products  
  • Cosmetics
  • Medical Devices  
  • Drugs  
  • Food (spec not finished)
  • Radiation Emitting Products  
  • Tobacco  
  • Veterinary Drugs

Be prepared to key in data from any of the forms that currently get sent on paper such as the 2877 for radiological device.  You will need to transmit permit information, active ingredient breakdowns along with your existing product code and quantities.  The affirmations are still there but have a lot of code changes.

You will also have to identify multiple parties associated with the transaction. FDA will no longer use the MID at all so you will have to identify by FEI #, DUNS# or possibly just a name and address.  Even if you have the appropriate code you will still need to transmit the name and address as well.

APHIS - Non Lacey programs

This is going to be a very heavy lift as it is all filed on paper now (at least in theory).  But, thankfully there is a (large) very well written guide that includes sequence diagrams and business rules for most situations.

Just like FDA they have broken it down by agency program as below:                                        

  • Animal Care
  • Plant Protection & Quarantine
  • Veterinary Services  
  • Biotechnology

Every form and certificate used will require some key entry.  You will also have to report multiple parties to the transaction.

Other PGAs

Here’s a quick overview of the information requirements for some of the other PGAs:

AgencyForms / Program Components

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • Vehicles & Engines
  • Pesticides              
  • Ozone depleting substances

Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)

  • Permit              
  • Release of Tobacco Products, Cigarette Papers, or Cigarette Tubes without Payment of Excise Tax              
  • Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) ID Number              
  • Foreign Certificates              
  • Effective Tax Rates              
  • Release of Distilled Spirits, Wine, or Beer in Bulk Containers without Payment of Federal Excise Tax  
  • Large Cigar Sales Price

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

DOT HS7 Form

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)

  • Highly Migratory Species              
  • Antarctic Marine Living resources              
  • Tuna Tracking and verification

Agricultural Marketing Service

  • Import Request Shell Eggs
  • Request for Inspection, Reinsertion, Appeal Inspection
  • Importers exempt commodity
  • Notice of intent to request inspection

Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS)

9540 Form

CB System mainstream support has ended Our legacy import/export software is being retired

The CB system is an older software product that Xtheta maintained in accordance with a third party license agreement since 2007.   On November 17, 2014, we started phasing out this older software since it did not support ACE and will no longer be able to file entries as of November 1, 2015 when Customs disables ACS.

If you are still using the CB system, please contact to upgrade to Xcb.  Xcb is a fully ACE certified solution that is a drop in replacement for the old software.

November 17, 2014

No further enhancements: Current and future updates to the CB system did not include any enhancements; only bugfixes for existing issues.

January 1, 2015

Only critical bug fixes:  Current and future updates to the CB system only included bugfixes for critical issues (i.e. system down, or to maintain compliance with Customs ACS specific requirements).

March 31, 2015

End of mainstream support:  Support is only being provided for user account maintenance and critical system failures.  You will need to enroll in an extended-life support agreement by May 29, 2015 if you wish to continue receiving standard support for the system.

October 31, 2015

End of life:  Customs requires all entries to be filed using ACE as of November 1, 2015

Windows 2003 no longer supported The newest version of Xcb requires 2008 or higher

As of July 2015, Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows 2003.  After that date, any Windows 2003 systems will not get software upgrades or essential security updates.

This poses a significant security risk for any companies that haven’t upgraded to a supported operating system by then.  Additionally, Windows 2008 and higher have substantial stability and speed enhancements that just are not available on 2003.

So, the newest version of Xcb does not support Windows 2003 and cannot install or run on any system running this outdated operating system.   If you’re running your own Xcb web server, please ensure you’ve upgraded to Windows 2008 or higher to ensure that you continue to get Xcb updates.

Xtheta is at the NCBFAA conference in rainy Orlando this week.  So, if you see us in the hallways or in one of the sessions - swing by and say hi!  We'd be glad to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

We'll release a new Insights next week with follow up from the conference.

Don’t be fooled: ACE is coming It’s April - but there’s no joke here

If you aren’t thinking about ACE yet: you’d better start now!  It may be April - but don’t be fooled: ACE is coming in less than 7 months – ready or not.  There’s still time to start making ACE plans – but the days to get ready are rapidly disappearing.

Months ago, ACE wasn’t a viable option for many clients:  but that’s no longer the case.  Over half the brokers using our software are filing entries via ACE.  In fact, many are filing 80-90% of their entries in the ACE environment.  Yes, there are still some cases where ACE isn’t an option – but you should be prepping now so you can roll out quickly when the time comes.

If you’re not one of the clients that’s filing via ACE, please contact as soon as possible to find out how you can start planning for the transition.   There are several large scale changes to your business process that you will need to plan for – so don’t wait until it’s too late!

Software update availableUpdate X15001 is being released soon

Xtheta is releasing update X15001 in the next few days.  This update is mostly targeted at ACE improvements including:

  • Cargo release
  • Post summary correction (PSC)
  • Other fixes and cleanups

We will be updating our ACE guidelines available on the to reflect the new release.

Please be aware that this update is only available to Xcb users since mainstream support for CB ended on March 31, 2015.

CB System mainstream support has endedOur legacy import/export software is being retired

The CB system is an older software product that Xtheta maintained in accordance with a third party license agreement since 2007.   On November 17, 2014, we started phasing out this older software since it did not support ACE and will no longer be able to file entries as of November 1, 2015 when Customs disables ACS.

If you are still using the CB system, please contact to upgrade to Xcb.  Xcb is a fully ACE certified solution that is a drop in replacement for the old software.

November 17, 2014 No further enhancements: Current and future updates to the CB system did not include any enhancements; only bugfixes for existing issues.
January 1, 2015 Only critical bug fixes:  Current and future updates to the CB system only included bugfixes for critical issues (i.e. system down, or to maintain compliance with Customs ACS specific requirements).
March 31, 2015 End of mainstream support:  Support is only being provided for user account maintenance and critical system failures.  You will need to enroll in an extended-life support agreement by May 29, 2015 if you wish to continue receiving standard support for the system.
October 31, 2015 End of life:  Customs requires all entries to be filed using ACE as of November 1, 2015

ACE Cargo Release statusWhat you really need to know about ACE CR

Cargo release transactions may be sent stand-alone (SE transaction) or as an entry summary (AE transaction) certified for cargo release.  Release corrections may only be transmitted using the SE.

In our current implementation of Cargo Release you will see that the old two step BCS process is no longer available.  The program requires full classification as in the current BCS fully classified feature.

No PGA support

Here’s the bad news:  ACE cargo release currently supports basic release functions but still has no support for ANY OGA or PGA’s.  This is a limitation of ACE itself – not Xtheta’s software.

The good news is that the PGA’s will slowly be phased in over the next 2 months for pilot testing. They should be available for more “general use” after Custom’s ACE release in July.  A lot will depend on PGA port training.

Other limitations

There are several other limitations in the current CBP cargo release process that you should be aware of. 

  • Encrypted Consignees are not supported
  • “Informal” Consignees are not supported so you will need an IRS, Customs Assigned or Social Security number for all consignees regardless of value.
  • RLF is not yet supported and is a subject of much discussion with CBP.
  • BRASS/Line release are not supported yet.

What comes next?Where we’re headed over the next few months

We expect to spend the next 3 months concentrating on PGA’s (the single window). We are working closely with the agencies to help them develop their datasets and move into pilots.  This has involved many hours of weekly phone conferences and follow up meetings. But you may be assured that Xtheta is on the leading edge of this development. We have been selected by FDA to be their initial pilot for drug products.

It will be an interesting year!

Cyber Security Month

Hardly a week goes by without hearing news of yet another massive security breech. It's a scary world we live in.

October is Cyber Security Awareness month, so we wanted to take some time to talk about how we secure your information and practical steps you can take.

This list isn't comprehensive due to time/space requirements - but we want you to be secure!  So, if you are interested, we'd be glad to talk with you or send you additional resources that you can use.

How you can be more secure

  • Change your password regularly to keep attackers guessing. We're rolling out a new menu option that will let you change both your BosWeb and AS400 passwords at once!
  • Install OS, browser, anti-virus and Java updates promptly. Don't forget that Microsoft doesn't support Windows XP anymore - so now's the time to upgrade if you haven't already!
  • Try using a browser like Chrome or Firefox instead of Internet Explorer. Both of these browsers will warn you about potential security threats on the internet.

Some of the ways we help secure your information

  • Firewalls and other anti-intrusive measures protect the outside (and insides) of our network.
  • Encryption is used to protect in case laptops get stolen or someone tries to eavesdrop on our employees when they sign on remotely.
  • Backups are stored off site in a secured/monitored vault.

Cargo/Manifest/Entry Release Status Query

Many people have asked about the new Cargo/Manifest/Entry Release query announced in CSMS# 14-000542. Unfortunately, this message was only announcing a test pilot that CBP doesn't have in production yet. We've already been working with CBP on testing the new system and have found/reported several issues.

Please note that this new function only works for ACE releases. We have built this in behind the current ACS cargo release query so that if you are using ACE it will send both the ACE & ACS query as you probably do not know how the entry was submitted. We will let you know as soon as CBP makes it available in production.

ACE Cargo Release

Some may be wondering when we're planning on supporting ACE cargo release. Don't worry - it's in the works, we just haven't released it yet since the current CBP system doesn't support any OGA data (not even disclaimers!). We plan to release our software once CBP has added OGA support.


You may have heard recent discussion of the new eBond initiative at CBP. The system won't be live at CBP until January, but we're already working with both CBP and surety companies to make sure you'll be ready.

Under eBond you'll need to submit HTS values to the surety before you file your entry release if you're using an STB. This will dramatically affect your release sequence for STB based entries:

  1. Collect fully classified entry data
  2. Send eBond transaction to the surety (we're already working with the major sureties so you can do this right from within our software!)
  3. Surety will transmit the bond information to CBP for approval.
  4. CBP (and the surety) will notify you about approval/rejection.
  5. Once the bond is approved our software will submit the release automatically.

Is ACE on your radar?

If ACE isn't on your radar yet it should be! Don't forget that ALL entries must be filed via ACE by November 1, 2015 - that's just 13 short months from today.

Filing via ACE isn't difficult but it will impact the way you do your entry process. So, you'll want to make sure you leave plenty of time for your staff to adjust.

If you ARE using Xcb:

  • Read our ACE guide and contact support to learn how to file ACE entries.

If you AREN'T using Xcb:

  • We're making the transition easier by offering a discount on upgrade fees until the end of this month. On November 1st, prices will increase. Contact sales for more information.

Brokers have already filed thousands of ACE entries with Xcb, so there's no time like the present to make the switch!

Tickets - but not for speeding

Starting Monday October 6, we're rolling out a new support system in house. This system will help us resolve issues faster. There's only a few changes that you'll need to be aware of as we migrate to this new system:

  • Email the main support address - not individual techs: This helps us ensure your request can be addressed promptly by any available tech.
  • Expect a ticket number in the subject line: The ticket number helps us track an issue from start to finish. You don't need to remember it, but if you have it handy we can find the issue faster.
  • We'll remind you if we're waiting on information: We'll send you a reminder email if we're waiting on information to continue working on a ticket. 

Special thanks to everyone that’s helped us test this new system over the last few weeks!

On our way to WesCCon

We will be at WesCCon in San Diego October 15-19th. If you're attending too or are in the area, we'd love to meet you in person! Feel free to grab one of us in the hallway or you could schedule an organized time to sit down and talk by emailing us.

If not, now’s your opportunity.  Last week we released our long awaited ACE software upgrade.  Already, several brokers have successfully filed their first ACE entries.  Join them in making the transition to this new Customs system.

But first, you need to make sure you’re using Xcb (our current system).  ACE support is automatically available to all clients that have made the switch to Xcb.   SO, if you’re still using CB (our legacy software), you’ll need to upgrade to take advantage of ACE filing and use all the other new features that come with Xcb.

Filing entries using ACE doesn't just mean that you get new fields, it also means you’ll need to rethink the processes you use to file your entries.   So, we've designed a handy guide that walks you through the steps you’ll need to take to successfully file your first entry using this new system.

To make your transition even easier, from now through October 31, 2014, we’re offering reduced pricing for existing CB users to upgrade to ACE with Xcb. So, if you haven’t upgraded yet – now’s the best time to do so.

Important dates

  • NOW - ACE entry summary available for Xcb users.
  • 11/1/2015 - All entry summaries and cargo releases must be filed using ACE (Customs set this date, not us).
  • 10/1/2016 - ACS completely phased out.

Xtheta’s software is now certified for ACE!   So, now’s your chance to start taking advantage of the new functionality ACE provides.  This includes changes to entry summary, post summary correction, census error overrides, and ADD/CVD cases.

SaaS/ASP Clients Rolled out the week of July 14th
Standalone Clients Scheduling starts July 21st


How do we start using ACE?

In order to use ACE, you must be running on Xcb.  If you haven’t switched to Xcb yet, please contact us and we’ll be glad to assist you.

Once you’re on Xcb, you’ll need to work with your ABI reps to get set up for ACE on the customs side. CBP has assured us that you won’t need to do client testing.

You’ll probably want to take a measured approach to rolling out ACE to your clients:

  • Pick an individual to be the ACE expert and transition specialist.  You will need to get some expertise on this before letting everyone loose.
  • Pick one or two clients to pilot ACE entries (see the next section if you aren’t sure whether a client is a good fit).  You can roll it out to more clients once you’ve worked through some of the internal procedural changes that ACE requires
  • Be prepared for differences between ACE procedures and the ACS procedures you’re already familiar with.  We will be issuing detailed documents for this as the entry process is very different from ACS.  The entry programs have some new data fields/screens which you will need to understand.

ACE still has several limitations on CBP’s side.  So you’ll want to make sure that you only bring up clients that are good candidates.

In general look for clients that fit the following criteria:

  • Must use entry type 01, 03 or 11
    Reason: ACE only supports those entry types currently
  • Shouldn’t file Lacey entries
    Reason: ACE doesn’t support electronic Lacey declarations: you’d need to use paper
  • Client shouldn’t use combined tariff
    Reason: We don’t support combined tariff yet for ACE.
  • Client should have some small to mid-size entries
    Reason:  A bug in ACE on CBP’s side currently limits the size of entries.
  • Client should be flexible
    Reason: CBP still experiences periodic ACE related issues, so entries may need to get canceled and resubmitted via ACS from time to time.

Where are we going from here?

We’ll be adding support for Document Imaging System (DIS) later this fall.   This will let you send your documents to CBP electronically and will finally start moving the import business to a truly paperless environment. 

Later this year CBP will be adding support for ACE cargo release and PGAs.  When that support is available, we’ll update our software to take advantage of the new functions.

Welcome to our very first Xtheta INSIGHTS issue of the new year!  We hope you find this information useful as you navigate the complicated world of import.  If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts for a future issue please let us know!


We have told you before that CBP’s ACE system just was not ready for prime time.  But, they have been steadily rolling out fixes over the last few months and April’s release “C” will include important tariff/MPF validations.  While ACE’s entry summary module still is not complete enough to replace ACS, it will finally be a viable option for simple entries.  So, we feel comfortable pushing it out to our user base.

Easier Entry Program

As part of our upcoming ACE support, we will be releasing a new Xcb based entry program that supports both ACE and ACS.  The interface works similarly to the interface we’ve rolled out for In-Bonds and ISF. 

The new program simplifies the user interface and should greatly enhance user throughput.  The first obvious change is a dashboard that shows the status of your entries:  most recent entries will show at the top of the screen, with full tracking search included.   We have also integrated some of the best features from our AII/RLF system.  In some cases you only need to enter 2 screens to complete an entry, shipment details, and the lines on the invoice.  You do not need to use AII/RLF to get these benefits: this entry system still includes all the entry types.

It is important to remember that you will only get the new entry program and ACE support if you are signed up for Xcb.   The old programs will continue to be available for a short time, but will only work with ACS.  We will be phasing them out once ACE becomes mandatory.  So, please do not wait to prepare for the future:  contact support or sales to get the ball rolling.


After much delay, we will also be rolling out a new Xcb web interface in parallel with the ACE and Entry changes.  This major update will include many new features throughout the whole system.  Some of the new features include several additional reporting options, text message notifications, an integrated help system and optional document imaging with workflow / barcoding support.

Other notes

We are working on documentation for all these new features and will keep you posted about current status.  While these changes do make the system much easier to use, we also understand that you’ll need some time to train your staff.   We will be rolling out our release in early March to give you time to familiarize yourself with the new screens before taking the plunge.  We will still support the old interface for ACS shipments in case you need additional time to transition.

Ryan Harris and I just attended the ACE Software Developer Sessions in Baltimore. The trip was very worthwhile as we picked up lots of information and were able to participate in discussions that will probably lead to some ACE design changes.

First the big news.  ACE is currently scheduled to be complete by December 2015 and will become mandatory in December 2016.  Now everybody there believes that this schedule will slip as some of the later projects (such as reconciliation) have not been thought about yet and were plopped into a placeholder labeled "Other Entry Types". 

CBP has switched to an agile development process for ACE development which brings a lot of applause.  They currently have 4 development teams each of which consists of 2 subject matter experts, 4 - 5 developers and 1 - 2 testers.  The plan on expanding to 12 teams.  Development is being undertaken in two week "Sprints" with defined goals and with the objective of having working code at the end of each sprint . Six sprints make up one "Increment" after which time code could be deployed.  Normally releases will be made after two increments so we are looking a typical deployment cycle of three months between releases.

With this schedule in hand we will be changing our planned release schedule.  We plan to release our ACE Update in October which coincides with the next major update from CBP. Xtheta will support all of the new features on XCB with the probable exception of Simplified Entry (Limited Cargo Release).

The XCB system will offer the following features for this release:

  • ACE Entry Summary for entry types 01, 03 & 11 with entry versioning. Once a entry had been paid to CBP the data will be archived and retained in an protected format.
  • Census Error Overrides via electronic transmission rather than paper.
  • New PGA (Partner Government Agency) integration for EPA and FSIS. The existing OGA interfaces will be unchanged.  Lacey is still up in the air.
  • Post Entry Summary Correction provides a complete electronic environment for processing post entry revisions to ACE Entries.
  • DIS (Document Imaging System) integration.  Any paper document requested by CBP may be scanned into XCB imaging and sent to the requestor (CBP or PGA) electronically.
  • AES changes to map to a new ACE AES application with licensing changes and full integration with DIS.

So why is Simplified Entry (AKA cargo release) a problem?  It is actually a very simple application and looks very similar to ISF.  The problem with it is that the Pilot program launched for Air has severe limitations and the pilot participants' feedback was less than positive. The concept is good but in practice there are some headaches; the pilot does not support any OGA data even if disclaimed. Split shipments are not supported and flight changes force you to cancel and resubmit the filing  One of the projects on the timeline is to allow electronic cancellation and correction of the filings.  Once that module is in place the Simplified Entry becomes a viable option. However, it will still not be available for Ocean/Rail shipments until the next ACE Release (ETA Jan 2014) and truck shipments will not be supported until an even later release (ETA Apr 2014).

A disturbing note for our many border brokers is that Border Cargo Release has not been targeted until January 2015 and will need some significant redesign from the other modes.

Bear in mind all of the later deployment dates are very much estimates but our fall deployment is pretty solid.

We are taking steps internally to build a discrete ACE test environment and we will develop end user documentation on how to use ACE as well as training manuals.  Significant effort will be needed to bring our support staff up to speed on ACE.  Please be patient as this may impact support levels on the existing product. 

As we have mentioned before ACE will only be available for XCB users.  We recommend that you start the XCB upgrade process well in advance so that you are prepared for ACE in the fall. You should also be ready for a learning curve on the new programs.  Please contact us to work out the upgrade costs as they are based on your current usage. If you have no interest in ACE you can proceed as normal for another 3 years before it is mandatory.  You should consider the other advantages of XCB outside of the ACE decision.

Have a great summer!

Very soon we’ll be announcing the first major refresh of the Xcb web application since we first released it back in 2008. Given the amount of changes to the system, we've had to update the system requirements a bit and we wanted to give you an advance warning.  While the hardware requirements haven't changed, the software pre-requisites are slightly different:

  • Microsoft ASP.NET 4.0 or 4.5:  You may actually already have this installed on your system; if not, Microsoft offers it as a free download.
  • System/I Access v6.1 or v7.1:  I’m pretty sure you’re already running one of these two versions. However, we’ll double check your system sometime in the next few days and email if we notice any issues
  • ASP.NET MVC:  We’ll include this in the upgrade - so you won’t need to install it yourself.

In case you're curious, here's a quick preview of what's new:

  • Easier to use:  We’ve adjusted the UI to make it more intuitive for your users, and even included a built in help system
  • Easier to administer: We’ve added a bunch of management and network integration features.  For example, we’re adding support for tying your Xcb user accounts in with your network’s username and password administration.
  • Easier to upgrade:  In most cases, the system will no longer require downtime for web upgrades or notifications.  As a matter of fact, users don’t even need to log off to see the changes take effect!
  • Faster:  We’ve made a bunch of changes to make this version significantly faster.  In some of our tests, we’ve measured performance increases of between 300-500% over the existing system

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact support or myself.

We are pleased to announce that Xtheta is now fully certified for the ACE M1 release that will be mandatory in the fall.  There are very few changes that are visible to the user but there are a lot of tweaks under the hood.  So you do not need to worry about the CSMS messages urging you to action.

We will be releasing our software update for this in the first week of August (along with a revised manual).  In order for you to use this you will need CBP and Xtheta to change some system settings. CBP still has some issues with their software and you may run into some glitches along the way.

CBP has asked us to find some volunteers to start filing in-bonds through ACE.  Please contact support if you are interested in getting a jump on this program. It will probably take some extra work on the part of your operations personnel initially but it will be worth it in the long run.


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