ICS2 - Coming new EU customs pre-arrival security and safety program


The European Union will launch a new EU customs pre-arrival security and safety program which will be handled via the so-called Import Control System 2 (ICS2), a large-scale information system. The new program is essential for managing entry security and safety border controls. The program will help to establish an integrated EU approach to reinforce customs risk management framework. The launch will take place on 15 March 2021. Please note that Switzerland is also participating in ICS2.

ICS2 - Coming new EU customs pre-arrival security and safety program

What can this possibly mean for your company?

If you are involved in handling, shipping and transporting of cargo, express or postal consignments you will be directly affected by ICS2 rand you will need to provide the safety and security data to this information system. According to the EU commission, shipments will be stopped at the EU customs border if the data has not been submitted (in time) via ICS2. Poor quality declarations will also be rejected by EU customs and may result in non-compliance sanctions.

Please be aware that ICS2 will also indirectly affect you as a manufacturer, exporter and individuals from outside the EU, wishing to send goods into the EU, as you will be asked to provide the necessary information to the directly affected company in the EU. 

If you are affected, you should prepare yourself by

  • Adapting your business processes, 
  • Taking steps to ensure that high-quality data is provided, 
  • Developing or updating your IT systems and/or
  • Managing the training/supporting of your staff,

so you are ready for the upcoming new system.

Main facts about the new EU customs pre-arrival program

ICS2 is the new customs advance cargo information system of the EU. It will facilitate the free flow of trade. It collects data about all goods which enter the EU prior the arrival. All EU customs authorities will use this system to identify high-risk consignments in a better way and to ensure the security.

It is a complete reform of the existing Import Control System, which will be replaced by ICS2.

Safety and security data must be declared by Economic operators through an Entry Summary Declaration. The obligation to start filling this declaration is not the same for each Economic operator. It depends on the type of service that is provided internationally and is also linked to the different release dates. Based on the type of services, the release is separated in three groups:

  • Air pre-loading postal and express (release 1, start 15 March 2021),
  • Air general cargo, air postal and express (release 2, start 1 March 2023) and
  • Maritime, road, rail and postal and express goods (release 3, start 1 March 2024)

Switzerland is participating in the European ICS2 project and its technical implementation based on the mutual Agreement on Customs Facilitation and Security between the EU and Switzerland. This Agreement (ZESA) was implemented in 2011 and resulted in a joint security area in which prior notification is waived. At the same time goods traffic between Switzerland and non-EU member states is subject to the same security regulations as in the EU. It was agreed that the relevant further EU developments must be adopted by Switzerland in an equivalent manner.

How can we help?

ICS2 is new for all companies and you need to start your preparation in time, especially since systems/procedures need to be adjusted. We can assist in determining in which way the new requirements are relevant for your company and help you prepare yourself for ICS2. The previous in order to prevent any disruption at the moment of implementation of ICS2 for your business.

Contact us

Lionel Van Reet

Lionel Van Reet

Partner, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 497 05 11 81

Simeon L. Probst

Simeon L. Probst

Partner Customs & International Trade, PwC Switzerland

Tel: +41 58 792 53 51

Claudia Buysing Damsté

Claudia Buysing Damsté

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 38 11

Dr. Michael Trevooren

Dr. Michael Trevooren

Partner, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 211 981-7641

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