Digital Trade Documents for your international shipping

The European Import Control System 2 and what it means for you

The switch to digital processes offers the customs administrations of the EU member states the opportunity to optimise existing customs procedures and react to irregularities at an early stage. This will significantly simplify and speed up import and export controls. The EU has been introducing the new import control system ICS2 since 2021. This involves changes to the booking process for international shipments to or from the EU – previously with UPS and DHL.

What does the introduction mean for your booking with LetMeShip?

Together with our shipping partners, we are introducing Digital Trade Documents, which are transmitted directly to the shipping company during the booking process. So far, the introduction has been completed for DHL and UPS.

This involves changes to the booking process:

  • Additional mandatory fields relevant to customs
  • New options for saving orders
  • New options to create ABD via LetMeShip
  • Create and upload customs documents directly


Your advantages at a glance:

  • Data and document transfer directly to carriers and customs
  • Faster customs clearance – fewer delays and returns
  • Better data quality – incorrect and forgotten details are highlighted as soon as they are entered

If you have any questions or difficulties, your personal account manager or our customer service team will be happy to help you by phone or email.

What does the new import control system aim to achieve?

The main purpose of ICS2 is to improve import control and security. The freight information available in advance enables customs to identify suspicious or potentially dangerous consignments at an early stage and intervene at the appropriate point.

In particular, but not only, the number of consignments passing through customs has increased significantly in recent years due to the rising volume of e-commerce freight. The early availability of information is intended to improve and speed up customs processes by allowing incorrect or missing documents to be corrected before customs inspection.

The following processes are supported in detail:

  • Submission of the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) with advance freight information to customs
  • Security and risk analysis
  • Incoming goods via various transport routes
  • Description of goods for the customs authorities and, if necessary, goods inspection

ICS2 is not used for customs declarations for release for free circulation.

For which transport routes does ICS2 apply?

ICS2 applies to the import of goods into the EU via sea, air, road, rail and inland waterways for general cargo, courier and postal consignments.

When will ICS2 be introduced?

The new import control system will be introduced in three phases:

Phase 1 (2021): Submission of a minimum data set (PLACI) prior to loading for courier and postal shipments in air transport by courier service providers, EU postal service providers and third country postal service providers shipping to the EU.

Phase 2 (2023): Submission of complete ENS and arrival times for all goods in air transport as well as presentation process for courier shipments and general cargo in air transport. Mandatory for operators of postal and courier services, air freight services and freight forwarders

Phase 3 (from June 2024-September 2025): Submission of ENS data for sea, road and rail transport and inland waterways as well as goods receipt notification for sea freight and inland waterways and presentation process across all modes of transport. All operators who transport goods on one of these transport routes are affected.

Who has to submit the data digitally to customs?

In principle, the obligation lies with the carrier of the goods. Consignors must provide the required information to the carrier actively or on request.