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The EU (European Union) has recently introduced new advance cargo security regulations called I.C.S. (Import Control System) as of 01/01/2011.

I.C.S. is phase 1 of A.I.S (Automated Imports System). A.I.S. is the vision of the EU, a 10 year plan, to provide full electronic customs procedures to all member states through a mixture of technical and legal systems. This is better known as M.A.S.P, (Multi Annual Strategic Plan).

The key principles of ICS dictate that all cargo arriving into the EU (all 27 member states) will be subject to security and safety checks 24 hours prior to loading at the origin port. The transmission of information from origin to the EU will be the responsibility of the carriers with assistance from freight forwarders through an electronic message (called an ENS). The ENS will transmit to the customs authorities in the first port of call within the EU. (For example, a vessel sailing from Shanghai and calling first at Le Havre, France will be transmitting manifest information to french customs authorities for clearance to load for all cargo regardless of the final destination). Customs authorities will then use common safety and security profiles to conduct risk assessments on all shipments and then decide on an intervention or other means of checking cargo. They will also transmit information to other customs authorities in member states where cargo is due to offload.

The ENS is required irrespective of the final destination of the cargo and can be considered as follows;

  • Cargo imported into the EU.
  • Cargo discharged in an EU port for transit via rail or truck to a non EU destination.
  • Cargo transhipped in an EU port for reloading on to another vessel for transport to a non EU destination.
  • Cargo remaining on board a vessel during port rotations within the EU but with a destination outside the EU.

An ENS contains data elements necessary for customs to risk assess cargo. An incomplete ENS will result in a rejection and potential refusal to allow the cargo to be loaded on board a vessel. This may also result in penalties and fines, therefore it is imperative that we all work together to ensure that we are in a position to provide every bit of information needed to prevent an occurrence of a “do not load” order.

The required data for the ENS message is taken from the carrier’s master bill of lading on the basis of information provided at the time of booking. These include the following;

  • Name of shipper (EORI number if available)
  • Name of consignee (EORI number if available)
  • Notify party
  • 6 digit HS code
  • Type of packages
  • Shipping marks
  • Container number
  • Seal number
  • Gross mass in kilograms
  • UN code for hazardous goods
  • Terms of sale
  • Method of payment of transport charges

ICS is the first step in a far reaching EU policy to increase security and safety throughout the supply chain and fully modernise and harmonise the customs role in cargo movement within the member states. We realise that the above introduction to ICS gives only a brief summary of what is to come but we are fully committed to working with you to provide answers to your questions and solutions to your cargo needs.

Please do not hesitate to call your local Davies Turner office if you require further information.

Davies Turner & Co Ltd
January 2011

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