EU issues new customs regulations for goods traveling to Europe

All freight forwarders, airlines, express couriers, and postal operators moving goods into or across the continent are required by the European Union (EU) to start submitting advance cargo information on March 1, 2023.

Under the second stage of the EU’s new customs pre-arrival security and safety program, Import Control System 2 (ICS2) Release 2, the necessary cargo information is in the form of a full Entry Summary Declaration (ENS).

The rule imposes new advance data reporting obligations for pre-loading and pre-arrival customs risk assessments on economic operators who handle, send, ship, and carry cargo, express, or postal consignments into or across the EU by air.

The European Commission claimed yesterday that ICS2 facilitates efficient risk-based customs regulations while enabling the free flow of legitimate trade across the EU’s external borders by gathering data about all commodities entering the EU prior to their loading and arrival.

The goal of ICS2 is to make it easier to transit products between customs offices at the initial point of entry and the final location in the EU. ICS2 will simplify requests for additional information and pre-departure risk assessment by customs officials for commercial enterprises.

Under the multiple filing regime of Release 2, in addition to air carriers, freight forwarders, express couriers, and postal operators will also be legally obligated to provide data.

They must either share it with the airlines, who will subsequently complete the ENS filing obligations, or they must provide the information directly to ICS2. Part of the announcement read, “Postal operators and express couriers, who have previously been declaring inbound cargo information in part (under ICS2 Phase 1), will now also be expected to cooperate with their air carrier to submit all relevant data.


During the operational roll-out of Release 2, those who are currently entering advance cargo information into the Import Control System (ICS) for the air transport industry will have to gradually begin filing this data into ICS2.


To reduce the chance of delays and non-compliance, economic operators were strongly urged to get ready for Release 2 in advance.


The EU Import Control System 2 (ICS2) is a significant attempt to improve customs’ monitoring of the flow of commodities via air, sea, land, and interior waterways before they arrive at the EU’s external borders.


ICS2 permits legitimate trade into the customs territory of the EU, Norway, and Switzerland while allowing customs authorities to identify high-risk consignments that call for early intervention.

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