The U.S. Customs and Border Protection ACE e-Manifest System provides annual cost savings of over $2,000 to carriers and inspection staff in all but one scenario analyzed.

The Customs ACE Truck e-Manifest allows motor carriers to submit electronic versions of mandated paperwork in advance of the truck physically crossing the border.

January 2008
Nationwide,United States

Summary Information

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has developed an electronic transaction system, known as the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), which allows for the electronic submission of mandatory paperwork prior to the arrival of a truck at the U.S. border, in order to increase the capacity of the system by improving efficiency of border operations without sacrificing the integrity or safety of U.S. borders. In 2006, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) conducted an analytical assessment of the ACE Truck e-Manifest system to evaluate efficiency and productivity impacts for the users. At the time of the study, the CBP was beginning the process of mandating the use of the e-Manifest system at certain border crossings.

The evaluation included both a survey from participating carriers and a scenario based benefit-cost analysis.


Survey based results on the e-Manifest system were mixed primarily due to early adoption learning curves, as well as high training and other initial setup costs. While a web-portal system is provided by the CBP, some of the carriers determined that it was too time consuming to enter their manifest data that way, particularly for large carriers. In those cases, third parties were utilized to develop internal electronic data interchange (EDI) programs in order to better facilitate manifest communications with brokers and with CBP. The authors assume that costs of implementing the system will decrease over time, following the technology adoption curve.
  • Based on the case studies conducted, five benefit-cost scenarios were produced. In all but one scenario, the annual savings varied between $2,632.50 and $7,897.50 per driver, $2,275 and $2,825 per clerk, and $2,762 and $5,525 per Customs analyst.
  • When routine cargo is "red flagged" and pulled in for inspection when it would have otherwise been cleared, the carrier experiences costs of $60.75 and $81.00 per trip.

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Assessing the Impact of the Ace Truck e-Manifest

Author: Schackerford, S; Short, J; Murray, D

Published By: paper submitted to the 87th Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board,

Source Date: January 2008



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Goal Areas



electronic screening, border clearance, e-Manifest, ACE, commercial vehicle operations

Benefit ID: 2011-00744