The European Commission launched the first phase of its new import control system (ICS2 to protect against threats posed by illicit goods across the EU’s external borders on 15 March. ICS2 will initially focus on postal and express consignments coming to or through the EU by air, before eventually being applied to all modes of cargo transport.
ICS2 is the new advance cargo risk management platform at the heart of the reform of the EU’s Customs Pre-arrival Safety and Security programme. It will gradually replace the existing import control system in three releases between 15 March 2021 and 1 March 2024.
Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni, said it would: “bring a step-change in the capacity of customs to help protect our citizens and the EU’s internal market from wide ranging threats posed by the traffic of dangerous and illicit goods. It will help deliver a more efficient and effective risk-based approach to customs controls in our rapidly evolving supply chains, while supporting a level-playing field and facilitating legitimate trade across our external borders.”
Te programme will progressively introduce improved supply-chain data collected by customs and new tools and processes in order to enable real-time collaborative risk analysis while goods are still moving to or through the EU.
Data gathered by ICS2 will also feed into ongoing work on analytics capabilities at EU level, as laid out in the EU’s recent Customs Action Plan.
In Release 1, express carriers and designated postal operators established in the EU will begin providing a subset of their Entry Summary Declaration data before goods are loaded on aircraft bound for the EU. This advance information – also known as ‘PLACI’ data – will be analysed by customs to detect immediate threats to aviation security and deliver intelligence-driven consignment-level risk analysis. It will involve close co-operation between customs and national civil aviation security authorities.
The first release of ICS2 will in particular introduce advance cargo information for postal consignments for the first time. This will be crucial in enabling customs to address a wide range of unsafe e-commerce traffic such as weapons, narcotics, fake medicines or dangerous toys.
Release 2 of ICS2 is scheduled to extend these new capabilities to general air cargo in March 2023, and Release 3 will include maritime, rail and road modes of transport from 2024.