Import Control System 2 (ICS2) – release of second phase on 1 March 2023

What is the Import Control System 2?

The EU and other countries make it a priority to ensure the security of its citizens and market. In this regard, the customs pre-arrival security and safety programme ‘ICS2’ is implemented. Economic operators (EOs) will have to declare safety and security data prior to arrival.

ICS2 stands for Import Control System 2. ICS2 is a cargo pre-departure information system for the common European customs security area formed by the European Union (EU), Switzerland and Norway. With this system, an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) is mandatory for consignments from third countries, i.e. data must already be transmitted for all goods imported into the common security area before they reach the external border of the security area. With ICS2, customs authorities can carry out targeted risk analyses based on the pre-declaration data.

ICS2 is implemented in three stages (releases). The first stage began on 15 March 2021 and concerned postal traffic. The second stage from 1 March 2023 will include air freight traffic and the third stage will also cover rail, road and shipping traffic from 1 March 2024.

ICS2 control systems graph

Who will be directly impacted and what are the new obligations?

In principle, the carrier is responsible for the timely transmission of the pre-notification. This primarily affects courier companies, postal services, airlines, transport and logistics companies. However, these companies will also request corresponding data from their customers in order to be able to generate the declarations. All shipments of goods from third countries to the EU, Switzerland or Norway are affected. Shipments of goods within the common customs security area are not affected.

  • First release - 15 March 2021: The electronic ENS started to be mandatory for all express carriers and designated postal operators responsible for bringing goods into the common European customs security area. Those economic operators were obliged to fill in a Pre-Loading Advance Cargo Information (PLACI) using a minimum ENS dataset.
  • Second release - 1 March 2023: All economic operators involved in handling, shipping and transporting of cargo, express or postal consignments to or via the common European customs security area by air have to comply with new data reporting requirements for pre-loading and pre-arrival customs risk assessment.
  • Third release - 1 March 2024: All operators carrying goods on maritime and inland waterways, roads and railways will be required to file entry summary declarations.

What does this mean for your business?

As a freight forwarder, express courier or economic operator, you need to decide if you will file the pre-loading and pre-arrival data yourselves, or make the necessary commercial documentation data available to your air carriers in advance for them to file the necessary information to ICS2 within the legal time limit.

As an importer or other business party in the cross-border transactions, you need to make the necessary contractual arrangements with your logistics service providers to carry out the ICS2 data reporting, and you need to provide them with the requested additional information in order for the shipments not to get stuck at the border.


Contact us

Christina Haas Bruni

Senior Manager, Customs & International Trade, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 51 24


Maeva Rancoeur

Manager, Customs & International Trade, PwC Switzerland

+41 58 792 91 85