EU to require advance customs notice

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Beginning March 1, 2023, all freight forwarders, air carriers, express couriers, and postal operators transporting goods to or through the EU (including Norway and Switzerland) will be required to submit advance cargo information.

These new requirements come under the second phase of the EU’s new customs pre-arrival security and safety program – Import Control System 2 (ICS2) Release 2.

Enhancing customs oversight

The EU Import Control System 2 (ICS2) is a large-scale initiative to enhance customs oversight of the movement of goods prior to their arrival at the EU external borders (air, maritime, land and inland waterways). ICS2 enables customs authorities to identify high-risk consignments that necessitate early intervention, while facilitating legitimate trade into the customs territory of the EU, Norway, and Switzerland.

The system is being implemented in three releases. Having successfully completed Release 1 covering the pre-loading process for postal and express consignments by air on 15 March 2021, Release 2 is the next step in the system’s implementation. Release 3 will be implemented from 1 March 2024, requiring operators carrying goods on maritime and inland waterways, roads and railways to comply with the new regulations.

The European Commission is leading the operational delivery of ICS2 in close collaboration with customs authorities in Member States, Norway and Switzerland and industry stakeholders.

Mandatory conformity test

In preparation for the introduction of ICS2 Release 2, there will be a mandatory conformance testing period from July 2022 until February 2023.

Economic operators responsible for filing ENS data to ICS2 should determine whether they have an existing Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. If not, they should contact the EU customs authority of their choice to get this number and to receive support in preparing for ICS2 Release 2. They should also evaluate their trade operations for the handling of imports into the EU and contact their selected customs authority to connect and take part in the upcoming Release 2 conformance testing.

Data sharing

In addition to air carriers’ entry summary declaration (ENS) filing responsibilities under the multiple filing regime of Release 2, freight forwarders, express couriers, and postal operators will also be legally responsible for providing data. They either have to share it with the air carriers, who will then complete the ENS filing requirements, or submit the data directly to ICS2.

Postal operators and express couriers, who have previously been declaring partial information regarding inbound shipments (under ICS2 Phase 1), will now also be required to coordinate with their air carrier to submit all required data.

Those in the air transport sector who are currently filing advance cargo information into Import Control System (ICS) will have to gradually start filing this data into ICS2 during the operational roll-out of Release 2.

ICS2 is expected to simplify the movement of goods between customs offices at the first point of entry and final destination in the EU. For economic operators, ICS2 will streamline requests for additional information and pre-departure risk screening by customs authorities.