ACE will allow importers and exporters to share trade documents with government agencies, saving shippers and brokers time and money. But, it’s now the second time in less than 12 months that Customs has tweaked the deadline for its ACE initiative, three years behind schedule and more than $1 billion over budget. Monday’s announcement comes after dozens of brokers, forwarders, importers and exporters lobbied the agency to modify its deadline for the ACE rollout, arguing they were running out of time and more internal agency checks were needed.

“Instead of flipping the switch, they’re dimming the lights,” Liz Connell, vice president of product management at global trade management software company Integration Point, told Monday. “It will be more of a transition with a gradual transition over to ACE.”

For now, at least, Connell said, shippers will still have access to both ACE and what will soon be a legacy program, the Automated Commercial System or ACS.

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