EU To Require Advance Shipment Information as of January 1, 2011

Beginning January 1, 2011, the European Union will start enforcing the requirement to electronically provide advance information for goods being imported from non-EU countries into the EU. Carriers will be required to file an Entry Summary Declaration (ESD) using the EU's Import Control System (ICS) no later than 24 hours before vessel loading at the foreign port; however, importers will be responsible for providing accurate information in a timely manner to their carriers or face indefinite cargo delays by customs authorities. All non-EU shipments that are destined for or transshipped via the EU are subject to this requirement. 

ICS is similar to the 10+2 requirement in the U.S. The goal of ICS is to enable customs authorities to assess any risks shipments may pose by evaluating shipment information in advance. 

As of mid-October, Denmark, Greece, and Luxembourg did not yet have ICS in place. While the EU Commission is working closely to correct the situation, exporters with shipments into Denmark, Greece or Luxembourg may wish to verify with their carriers that procedures are in place to ensure smooth imports into those countries. 

EU Customs Information Portal provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) as well as time limits for filing of ENS, which vary depending on the mode of shipping: 

  • Containerized maritime cargo (except short sea containerized shipping) - At least 24 hours before commencement of loading in each foreign load port
  • Bulk/ break bulk maritime cargo (except short sea bulk/ break bulk shipping) - At least 4 hours before arrival at the first port in the Community
  • Short sea shipping - At least 2 hours before arrival at the first port in the Community
  • Short haul flights (less than 4 hours duration) - At least by the time of the actual take off of the aircraft
  • Long haul flights (more than 4 hours duration) - At least 4 hours before arrival at the first airport in the Community
  • Rail and inland waterways - At least 2 hours before arrival at the customs office of entry in the Community
  • Road traffic - At least 1 hour before arrival at the customs office of entry in the Community