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What You Need to Know About ICS2

The EU is phasing out its Import Control System (ICS) in favour of its successor, Import Control System 2 (ICS2).

ICS2 aims to improve risk analysis for all goods entering the EU and will allow for the implementation of new processes and procedures related to the entry of goods as defined by the Union Customs Code (UCC).

Here’s what you should know about the rollout phases for this new system and how you can prepare for the next phase.

The purpose of ICS2

ICS2’s main purpose is to increase safety and security for all goods entering the EU, whose 27 countries account for around 15% of the world’s trade in goods. 

This system is designed to enable more efficient and effective EU customs security and safety capabilities by

  • Strengthening the protection of EU citizens/internal market against security and safety threats
  • Allowing EU Customs authorities to identify high-risk consignments better and intervene at the appropriate time
  • Facilitating cross-border clearance of legitimate trade
  • Simplifying the exchange of information between Economic Operators (EOs) and EU customs authorities

According to the Taxation and Customs Union, ICS2 will “enable early identification of threats and help customs authorities to intervene at the most appropriate point in the supply chain.”

How will ICS2 impact you?

The ICS2 rollout is happening in 3 phases, each affecting different operators and modes of transport. 

Release 1 went live in 2021, requiring express carriers, European-based postal operators, and third-country postal operators shipping to Europe by air to submit pre-loading advance cargo information (PLACI).

ICS2 release 2 is now live as of 1 March 2023. During this phase, all goods entering the EU or Northern Ireland (NI) by air — including postal, express, and general cargo consignments — will require pre-arrival Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) data and the pre-loading filing. These requirements apply to freight forwarders, logistics providers, and air carriers.

Importantly, throughout this phase, all goods entering NI via air will require the following ENS data to be submitted via ICS2:

  • Pre-loading advance cargo Information (PLACI)
  • Pre-arrival notifications
  • Arrival notifications
  • “Presentation of goods” notification upon arrival in NI, completed using an Application Programming Interface (API)
  • Declarations through EU Shared Trader Interface (EU Customs Trader Portal)

Release 3 goes live 1 March 2024, at which point all goods entering the EU or NI, including those transported by rail, road, and maritime modes, will require full entry summary declarations. This means that all carriers, regardless of the mode of transport; logistics providers; freight forwarders; and, in certain circumstances, final consignees established in the EU, must submit ENS data to ICS2.

Preparing for ICS2

As with any new customs system, you don’t want to scramble for compliance at the last minute; if ICS2 data are incomplete or submitted incorrectly, consignments and freight can be stopped at EU customs borders and may be subject to intervention with penalties.

If your organisation will be subject to the Release 3 rules starting on 1 March 2024, it’s time to align your business processes with the regulatory requirements of the new system. Here are some planning tips:

  • Prepare to update your IT system, including any required APIs.
  • Determine to what extent your customs processes will need to change, what those changes will entail, and how you’ll implement them.
  • Train your staff on the new ENS data requirements and any related process changes and IT changes.
  • Determine whether you must scale your team to account for an increased workload. Consider working with a business process outsourcing partner for cost-effective recruiting, hiring, and training.

As we’ve seen with other recent system changes (e.g., CHIEF to CDS in the UK, AGS to DMS in the Netherlands), preparation is the key to success during the transitional period. The sooner you start planning, the better equipped your team will be to manage change when release 3 comes around.

For more information about ENS declaration requirements, refer to the UK Government and the European Commission Taxation and Customs Union.

Need help preparing your organisation for the next phase of the ISC2 rollout? Contact us to learn how we can support your success.

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