EU ICS 2 (Import Control System) – New Obligations for Economic Operators

The Import Control System 2 (ICS2), effective from 1 March 2023, is the EU’s cargo information system designed to monitor and manage all imported goods entering the EU. It replaces the existing Import Control System 1 (ICS1), which was introduced in 2011, with the aim of increasing trade efficiency and protecting the internal market against security and safety threats by accommodating the legal requirements expressed in the Union Customs Code and the EU Customs Risk Management Strategy and Action Plan. 

Under the ICS2, EU authorities will require all Economic Operators (EO) involved in handling, shipping, and transporting of cargo, express, or postal consignments to have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number from one of the EU member states’ customs authorities, as well as the Harmonized Commodity Code (HCC), and provide detailed information regarding the shipped goods to the ICS2’s Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) prior to their arrival. Based on the submitted information, the European customs will perform risk assessments and determine if shipments need to be investigated. If EOs fail to submit the necessary information, the transported goods will not be cleared by customs officers.

The ICS 2 has undergone two out of three transitional phases to replace the current ICS 1 system, with each phase impacting different EO and modes and forms of transport. The first replacement phase, which became effective on 15 March 2021, obliges all postal and express freight operators shipping to the EU by air to submit Pre-loading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI). The second phase of the ICS was introduced on 1 March 2023, extended the provisions of the first transitional phase by requiring all goods entering the EU to complete pre-arrival Entry Summary Declarations (ENS). The third transitional phase of the ICS 2 will be implemented as of 1 March 2024 will mandate Economic Operators (EO) of all goods entering the European Union irrespective of their form of transportation to submit complete summary declarations to ICS 2.

ASEAN exporters to the EU should be aware of these changes to the EU’s ICS in order not to affect your shipments to the EU.