Parcel delays loom as STOP Act and ICS2 hit on March 15

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Postal operators are bracing themselves for the biggest date in their calendar this year with the enforcement from Monday, March 15, of the US STOP Act and the European Union’s Import Control System 2 (ICS2).

The STOP Act had originally been due to come into full effect on January 1 until it was moved to March to give US Customs and Border Protection more time to prepare for the regulations. The act requires postal operators to provide a higher level of advance electronic data (AED) than had previously been necessary. ICS2 is also aimed at postal operators and requires entry summary declarations to be submitted on parcels coming into and through the EU.

Martyn Noble, CEO of cross-border e-commerce specialist Hurricane Commerce (above), said, “March 15 is the biggest date in the diary for postal operators this year and the level of preparedness varies from one authority to the next. But the stark reality is that, as of next Monday, postal operators and their customers will need to produce complete and valid data on their e-commerce shipments. We have already seen the impact of a lack of quality data on parcels since Brexit on January 1. The STOP Act and ICS2 are the next major challenges and then we have the introduction of the EU VAT reforms in July.

“With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to place huge pressures on air freight capacity, the supply chain industry cannot afford delays, returns and additional storage, not to mention the associated extra costs,” Noble continued. “In December, we predicted that a lack of readiness for the STOP Act could result in several hundred million shipments being held up and we believe this remains the case. This is without adding in the impact of ICS2 with the onset of much greater scrutiny. The cross-border e-commerce landscape has changed for good, but those postal operators which get their data right will be able to meet these challenges and achieve scale.”

Hurricane Commerce says it is enabling postal operators across the globe to meet the new requirements for complete and valid data including product descriptions, HS6 codes and country of origin.

According to the company, its solutions were specifically developed to enable customers to meet the challenges of the new regulations. For example, its Zephyr data enhancement API allows bulk clearance facilities to check, find and populate additional or missing data including product descriptions and HS6 codes. Meanwhile, the Aura API covers three other critical cross-border functions – duty and tax calculation, prohibited and restricted goods screening and denied parties screening.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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