U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has admitted Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL) to its ACE (Automated Commercial Environment) Cargo Release Pilot, with immediate effect.

The ACE Cargo Release Pilot (formerly known as Simplified Entry) allows importers to file a streamlined set of data earlier in the import process, and update their entries right up to the carrier’s arrival, so that information submitted is the best available.

Under ACE, CBP can review shipment information much earlier in the supply chain, and either issue an admissibility message or request additional data. Filers can then resolve issues before the aircraft departs for the United States, or during transit, resulting in fewer goods being held on arrival.

ACE Cargo Release streamlines electronic transmission for the filer, and assists importers in planning and arranging their logistics. The carrier submits the manifest and/or Air Cargo Advance Screening (ACAS) security filing, while the importer submits the Simplified Entry data set.

Other airports included in the ACE pilot include Anchorage, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas Ft Worth, Houston, JFK, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco.

Says STL’s Cargo Development Director, David Lancaster: “We are delighted that Lambert-St. Louis has been chosen as one of the airports to help roll out this important program, which will increase efficiency and reduce potential delays in the supply chain.”

The ACE Cargo Release pilot is part of the US government’s drive to simplify customs processes and make them paper-free. Its phased ITDS (International Trade Data System) initiative is personally backed by President Obama, and due for completion by December 2016. ITDS will centralise the reporting of imports and exports (currently to multiple agencies), through a single new portal - with the aim of enhancing US economic competitiveness by reducing transportation costs and delays.