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The first phase of the new import control system in force among the EU

The European Union has started to modernize its import control system, which is a high-priority task of the EU in order to ensure the security of the citizens and the single market. The EU itself accounts for at least 15% of the world trade in goods and the single market is vulnerable to this large scale of trade. By recognizing this, EU is implementing a new pre-arrival security and safety programme called Import Control System 2 (“ICS2”).

The import control system’s modernisation will transform the current ICS into a whole new system by changing its patterns significantly and will enable EU authorities to collect data of imported goods before their arrival. The ICS2 will be released in three phases. The first phase started on 15 March 2021 and it is about air express pre-loading and postal air pre-loading.

Express carriers, Europe based postal operators, and third-country postal operators shipping to Europe are obliged to provide a minimum set of advance electronic data, in the format of the electronic Entry Summary Declaration (“ENS”) to the ICS2, for all goods in consignments they are responsible for bringing into the territory of the EU. The ENS will be mandatory for all express and postal consignments that enter the territory of the EU.

ICS2 aims at providing an extra security layer to the existing aviation security requirements. The main goal of these assessments is to detect immediate threats that could lead to the destruction of the plane and/or loss of lives such as ‘bomb in the box’. The subject of the second phase will be all goods transported by air in postal, express and general cargo consignments. The third phase will apply to all goods transported by maritime and inland waterways and roads and railways.

The second phase will take effect on 1 March 2023. The third phase, i.e. the final release becomes effective on 1 March 2024.