Frequently asked questions


Q: If I file the electronic manifest and the broker doesn’t file the release or entry what will happen?

A: In this case you will go to secondary until the broker has filed the correct information

Q: If I have to change a shipment or a trip after it’s been accepted, what is the process?

A: SmartBorder will handle the change behind the scenes. You would make the changes and re-transmit the shipment or trip to CBP. However, once the shipment or trip has been accepted the one hour clock is reset, and you must not arrive at the border until one hour has passed.

Q: What is a “shipment”?

A: A shipment is a bill of lading. Goods to a single shipper to a single consignee. The bill of lading is printed from this information.

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Q: What is a “trip”?

A: This is the actual movement of a shipment or multiple shipments. The inward cargo manifest document is printed from this information.

Q: Will PAPS numbers and stickers still be used?

A: PAPS numbers can still be used as the shipment control number, but the stickers cannot be used on the inward cargo manifest.

Q: What is a Shipment Control Number or SCN?

A: The shipment control number is a unique number identifying a shipment. This number can be your PRO number, PAPS number or some other form of a master bill number.

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Q: Is SmartBorder a modular system?

A: No. The base SmartBorder package includes all of the components that you need to be competitive. There is no additional cost for items like RLF, web tracking, billing and email notifications.

Q: Does SmartBorder develop freight software?

A: No. SmartBorder specializes in ACE and compliance software, and focuses all of its efforts on providing a true, “best-of-breed” application. Our customers choose an application like SmartBorder because they realize it will have the most significant impact on employee productivity and customer service, while being fully able to integrate with their existing accounting and logistics applications.

Q: Does SmartBorder support EDI?

A: Yes. There are several tools within SmartBorder that facilitate EDI, as well as the option for us to create unique links from your freight, inventory and ERP systems to CBP.

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Q: Will you travel to our offices or will this be a remote demo?

A: To keep our software moderately priced, we perform our initial software demonstration over the internet. We have had great success with GoToMeeting for our remote demonstrations. It also gives us the ability to perform our demonstrations to multiple locations at the same time.

Q: What are the hardware requirements to run your application?

A: Generally speaking, if you have Windows 2003, XP or Vista running, you will have at least met our minimum requirements. For more specific requirements, please visit our system requirements page.

Q: Will I have to purchase and maintain special equipment to run SmartBorder?

A: No. SmartBorder runs on our servers. All you are required to have is a PC with an internet connection.

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Q: Is there software to install? And if so, who will do the install?

A: When logging into SmartBorder the first time, the system automatically installs all required software. Future upgrades are installed automatically whenever you log in. Your version is always the most up-to-date.

Q: What are the start-up costs?

A: The start-up costs for the SmartBorder application include a small, one-time licensing fee that covers the technical set up from our end, getting you registered with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and initial support and training.

Q: Is there a monthly maintenance fee for users?

A: SmartBorder’s billing model is a pay-per-use system. Your fees are based on the number of transactions you make.

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Q: What methods of training are used?

A: Our expert training staff offer both personalized on-site and on-line training to ensure you are comfortable and ready to use the system. We also offer an archive of on-line tutorials that you can view any time to learn about a new procedure or refresh your SmartBorder skills.

Q: What are my costs for training?

A: An initial training package is included as part of your start-up and there always archived video tutorials, Q&A sessions and instructional documentation available online at no cost. If necessary, additional personalized training is available at an hourly rate. These supplementary packages can be done either on-line or on-site. There are travel expenses for additional on-site training.


Q: How does your customer support system work?

A: Support for all customers is initiated through an electronic ticket generated by the customer on our site. Our support staff is on call 24/7 and responds via e-mail or phone.

We recognize that Customs issues can be extremely time sensitive and are committed to providing the most timely support for our customers. SmartBorder recently invested in a state-of-the-art customer relationship system (CRM) that manages all of our support resources and tracks your support tickets. Beyond that, our online support center contains a comprehensive archive of content, including FAQs, knowledge base articles and how-to-videos.

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Q: How often do updates come out and what are the costs associated with the updates?

A: Our software resembles a living entity, consistently evolving to address marketplace demands, technical innovations and new U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requirements. SmartBorder keeps current with all CBP updates on a daily basis and updates the application accordingly. Most updates are applied while you are on-line and require no down time. All system upgrades, major and minor, are included at no extra cost.

Q: What does “customization” mean?

A: Any feature or functionality you request that is not a part of our base package is considered customization. What sets us apart from our competition is our willingness and ability to quickly adapt SmartBorder to meet our customers’ individual needs. When requested, each customization project is thoroughly analyzed to ensure that modified functions and processes conform to the business practices you already have in place.

Q: Why would I need to customize?

A: Our experience has shown that there is almost always a certain level of customization necessary to fully integrate into a customer’s existing business infrastructure. Most of our customers have had customization done to allow SmartBorder to communicate seamlessly with their accounting or freight systems. The goal is to have SmartBorder fit into your business model rather than you being forced to compromise efficiency or adapt your business practices. Customization programming is done on an hourly rate and a full project estimate is always agreed upon before any work is done.

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Q: Is SmartBorder more focused on northern border transactions vs. air/sea clearances?

A: Our ABI application was designed to support all points of entry and methods of transportation. In fact, about 90% of the brokers currently using SmartBorder are air/sea brokers.

Q: What size of brokers use SmartBorder?

A: All sizes. SmartBorder is extremely popular with smaller, new brokers but it is also used by some of the country’s largest brokers – processing over 25,000 entries per month.

Q: What happens if there’s a disruption in service such as an equipment or internet failure? Will I lose data?

A: SmartBorder maintains a multi-million dollar infrastructure that includes best practices in redundancy and security. We back up all data every 15 minutes and have spare machines in place and ready to replace any hardware that fails.

We also have an entire “copy” of the SmartBorder application on servers at another location in case of a disaster. Because of the “cooperative’ or “shared” nature of our platform, we are able to leverage the buying power of all of our clients to build a very stable infrastructure that any individual broker or carrier could never afford. Some of the other companies using the same infrastructure include Google, Yahoo, General Electric, Merrill Lynch and AOL. We’re proud to say we’ve achieved 99.999% uptime over the past five years. Review our technology page to read more about SmartBorder’s redundancy and security measures.

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Q: Can I have daily backups of my files sent to my office?

A: Yes. There are several options but the most common is through an FTP account. Our standard format is XML, but other formats can be accommodated. You are also free to PDF all your documents and save them to disk if you wish.

Q: Who will have access to my data?

A: In your company, only employees with your log-in password can access your files and data. SmartBorder’s technical staff can access your data but would only do so for custom programming or technical support. South Ranch’s parent company and business partners are legally and ethically forbidden from viewing any data relating to your business in any form.

Q: Will I outgrow SmartBorder’s capabilities?

A: Right now, we have some of the nation’s largest carriers streaming thousands of transactions a day through our system – and our existing infrastructure has the capacity to handle many times that. Beyond that, we can scale our systems outward to handle an almost limitless supply of transactions. Here’s hoping you grow large enough to challenge our capacity!

Still have a question? Ask us how SmartBorder can specifically help your business and request a live demo by calling 1-800-572-2734 or e-mail us.