EU: Import Control System 2 (ICS2) Release 2 Takes Effect March 1st

Beginning March 1 2023, freight forwarders, air carriers and all economic operators involved in handling, sending, shipping and transporting cargo, express or postal consignments to or via the EU by air are required to comply with new advance data reporting procedures know as Import Control System Release 2 (ICS2).

To simplify things for you, BTX Global Logistics has created a quick guide to the EU's ICS2 and its impact on shippers that you can download by clicking the button below.

Download ICS2 Guide

For a more detailed explanation of the ICS2, please read on:

What is ICS2?

The 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, Switzerland and Northern Ireland.

How does ICS2 Work?

  1. The sender provides detailed information about the shipment, themselves, and the recipient before sending it to the carrier or postal operator.
  2. Economic operators (carriers, postal authorities, handlers, etc.) collect and analyze the information from the sender prior to the shipment being loaded onboard the aircraft that is bound to the EU.
  3. Economic operators and/or customs authorities complete a risk assessment of the advanced information.
  4. If a risk is identified the authorities will try to mitigate the risk by preventing suspicious packages from being loaded on aircraft destined to Europe.

Preparing for ICS2

The shipper is ultimately responsible for providing carriers and postal companies with complete accurate information about the goods. They must ensure they have accurate information regarding the recipient and package contents before they send the shipment through the carrier or postal operator to the EU or the UK.

Economic operators responsible for filing Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) data to ICS2 should determine whether they have an existing Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. If not, they should contact the EU customs authority of their choice to get this number and to receive support in preparing for ICS2 Release 2. They should also evaluate their trade operations for the handling of imports into the EU and contact their selected customs authority to connect and take part in Release 2 conformance testing.

Carriers and postal operators have to enter and transmit shipping data in advance to authorities who approve the plane's manifest and loading of the aircraft. If they let a package be shipped to the EU or UK without proper descriptions, they will be held responsible; furthermore, if they let an actual threatening package ship to the EU or UK, they will face consequences such as a sanction for noncompliance.


Although the carriers and postal operators will be held responsible for noncompliance, providing unacceptably vague, ambiguous, inaccurate, or incomplete descriptions may result in shipments being held or rejected, leading to delays, possible penalties, and a poor consumer experience.


Good Descriptions

As previously sated, clear, precise and comprehensive descriptions are necessary under ICS2. A good package description answers the following questions:

    • What is being shipped?
    • What materials is it made of?
    • What is the item used for?
    • What is the item’s serial or part number (if applicable)?
The following chart illustrates examples of vague vs. good, detailed descriptions:


  Bad Description   Good Description
Parts Two steel springs for woodworking machine
Gift One men's knitted sweater (100% cotton)
Samples 200cm x 400cm nylon carpet samples
Documents 30 pages of legal documents

BTX's knowledgeable representatives are available to help you with any questions you may have, contact us


Sources: European Commission, Zonos Documents

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