Export system in overdrive

The U.S. Customs Service on Thursday reported a dramatic upswing in the

amount of exported goods processed through its Automated Export System.

For January, the system that processes export documents electronically

handled nearly 40 percent of the paperwork for the $60.4 billion in goods

leaving the United States by ship or air. That was a 17 percent increase

over December.

"It is the world's fastest Corvette," said Peter Baish, director of

the Custom Service's outbound programs.

Until last year, AES was only used as a pilot project, but it slowly

replaced the Automated Export Reporting Program, a 25-year-old system that

was not Year 2000-compliant and which died a quiet death on Dec. 31, 1999.

The new system has the capacity to process more than 600,000 electronic

forms a month, as compared to AERP's 7,000 a year, Baish said.

In addition, exporters can file their export reporting documents online

through AESDirect, which streamlines the process for exporting items ranging

from coffins to used cars.

But while Customs reported one success story, it is still struggling

to find the money to keep its modernization program on track. To keep track

of imports, it wants to replace an antiquated computer system with the Automated

Commercial Environment. ACE is expected to cost $1.2 billion over four years,

and so far this year, Congress has not earmarked money for the program.

MORE INFO

Customs lacks millions to modernize [FCW.com, March 15, 2000]

'It's a technology problem' [FCW.com, March 15, 2000]

Industry pressures Hill to fund Customs system [FCW.com, March 13, 2000]

Customs kills tracking program [Federal Computer Week, March 13, 2000]

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