Postal operators face “double whammy” of STOP Act and ICS2 on March 15

Postal operators face a “hugely challenging” eight weeks after being told that full enforcement of the US STOP Act will now take effect on the same day as the EU’s ICS2.

Both regulations require postal authorities to provide advance electronic data on mail parcels entering the US and EU respectively.

The US STOP Act had been due to come into full force on January 1, but Senator Rob Portman reluctantly granted an extension to March 15 after hearing that Customs and Border Protection needed more time to finalise regulations.

However, Senator Portman made it clear that no further delays would be acceptable, saying: “Congress cannot provide this type of extension on packages without identifying data entering the United States again.”

He also highlighted how other countries including France, Spain and Germany have started to require identifying data ahead of the implementation of ICS2 on March 15.

Portman said: “Packages entering those countries without identifying data will be delayed or considered inadmissible and returned to sender.  Further, starting

March 15, the European Union will require identifying data on a package before it is loaded onto a plane for shipment.”

Hurricane Commerce, a cross-border

eCommerce technology specialist, warned before Christmas that the STOP Act enforcement would result in several hundred million mail parcels destined for the US being rejected if they have incorrect or incomplete data. Refused parcels would be returned to their country of origin triggering extra costs for returns, warehousing and storage as well as huge customer dissatisfaction.

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “On the one hand, Senator Portman’s extension to March 15 gives postal operators a little more time to get prepared.

“But with the full enforcement of the STOP Act now coinciding with the implementation of the EU’s ICS2 on the same day – March 15 – it is a real double whammy and presents posts with a hugely challenging eight weeks to ensure they are able to meet the higher threshold of advance electronic data.

“There is now the very real prospect of hundreds of millions of parcels being rejected into the US and EU from March 15.

“Those postal authorities which are fully prepared for the greater requirements around AED will not only be compliant but will also put themselves in the driving seat to capitalise on the continuing exponential growth in cross-border eCommerce trade.”

Martyn added: “This is not just about the postal authorities as the data starts with companies that are selling their goods internationally on their own websites or via marketplaces. Data needs to be complete and correct at the point of sale to ensure that the end customer receives the service they expect.”

Hurricane has developed a suite of APIs that meet the needs of postal operators, carriers, eCommerce merchants, marketplaces and platforms.

Hurricane’s Zephyr data enhancement API allows bulk clearance facilities to check the accuracy of data including product descriptions and HS6 codes, and receive additional pertinent or missing information all under a single quick check function.

Zephyr can process over 700 million requests a day and can, on an item by item API call base, provide for a real time feedback with response times of 100 milliseconds. The screening of a file consisting of a maximum of 10,000 items that is sent to Hurricane takes no more than 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, its Aura API covers three other critical cross-border functions – duty and tax calculation, prohibited and restricted goods screening and denied parties screening.