Customs and Border Protection’s Automated Commercial Environment (
ACE) “is the system through which the trade community reports imports and exports and the government determines admissibility.”
Of particular interest,
ACE contains the “bills of lading” (also know as cargo manifests) describing each shipment into and out of the United States.
Per CBP’s privacy impact assessment for ACE, “as required by 19 U.S.C. § 1431, 46 U.S.C. § 60105, and 19 CFR § 103.31, certain inbound and outbound manifest data in ACE may be made available for publication.” The first and third of those cited statutes provide more detail about what aspects of those bills of lading are disclosable to the public.
Such import/export manifest data has a broad range of socially beneficial uses, including investigative journalism, supply chain monitoring, and economic research.
Our FOIA request 📄 to CBP seeks all disclosable data records, from all database tables in
ACE, documenting inward and outward manifests received by CBP since January 1, 2013.