EU issues new customs guidelines for Europe-bound cargoes

The European Union (EU) has directed all freight forwarders, air carriers, express couriers, and postal operators transporting goods to or through the continent, to submit advance cargo information beginning from March 1, 2023.

The mandatory cargo information is in the form of a complete Entry Summary Declaration (ENS), under the second phase of the EU’s new customs pre-arrival security and safety programme – Import Control System 2 (ICS2) Release 2.

By the directive, economic operators involved in handling, sending, shipping and transporting cargo, express or postal consignments to or via the EU by air have to comply with new advance data reporting requirements for pre-loading and pre-arrival customs risk assessments.

The European Commission, yesterday, stated that by collecting data about all goods entering the EU prior to their loading and arrival, ICS2 supports effective risk-based customs controls while facilitating the free flow of legitimate trade across the EU’s external borders.

ICS2 aims 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.

In addition to air carriers’ 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,” the statement read in part.

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

Economic operators were strongly advised to prepare in advance for Release 2, in order to avoid the risk of delays and non-compliance.

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.

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