Cargo Manifests - EU ICS

The need for Advanced Cargo Declaration applied to all cargo entering the EU regardless of eventual destination of the cargo and was a result of the EU’s adoption of safety and security legislation similar to that executed in the United States that established the now well known AMS requirements.

For non EU import cargo, the safety and security legislation was implemented by the introduction of the “Import Control System” (ICS) across the EU. ICS requires carriers (or their authorised representatives/3rd parties) to provide electronic pre-arrival information in a specified format. This pre-arrival information is submitted in a declaration, known as an “Entry Summary Declaration” (ENS) and will include, amongst other things, details which identify; the cargo, the traders involved in the movement, the vessel and the envisaged route into and across the EU. The ENS must be sent to the Customs at the first port of entry into the EU (the “Office of First Entry” or (OoFE), irrespective if those goods are due to be discharged at that port or not and is the prelude to an exchange with EU customs authorities which includes the issue of an Movements Reference Number (MRN) for each commodity (Bill of Lading) entering or transiting the EU, Arrival Notice (ARN) when vessel arrives at the OoFE and Deviation Notice (DN) if the commodity arrival details change.

There are defined timescales for the submission of the ENS at the OoFE:

  • Deep sea containerised cargo: The ENS must be submitted at least 24 hours prior to loading to the vessel that will bring the cargo into the EU (i.e. the Mother vessel).
  • Deep sea bulk/break-bulk cargo: 4 hours before arrival at the first EU port.
  • Short-sea cargo: 2 hours before arrival at the first EU port.

Although a common EU rule, customs authorities for member states do not operate the same systems or platforms necessitating an individual solution per country.

The legal responsibility for ensuring an ENS is submitted (& within the time limits) lies with the carrier or “operator of the active means of transport”, however it can also be made by a representative or third party, but only with the carrier’s knowledge and consent, where a third party is authorised by the carrier to submit ENS’s on their behalf.

Inchcape Shipping Services has led the way in creating a hub solution to provide Advanced Cargo Declaration for all goods arriving or transiting in the European Community (EU) to meet the new mandatory regulations.

In December 2010 ISS established a hub solution at the UK Coordinator office (Grangemouth) to receive the filing requirements from global principals and local port offices in Europe. This hub provides 24/7 capability to our clients using a third party messaging platform and is designed to meet the separate requirements of EU member states, Norway and Switzerland.

Contact EU ICS Team

Visit the European Customs Information Portal