ICS2 Second Release - Is your data good enough?

Hurricane’s best-in-class data solutions are enabling our customers to meet the requirements of ICS2 second release


ICS2 Second Release

The second release of Import Control System 2 [ICS2] is live.

The second release affects all parties involved in handling, shipping and transporting cargo, express or postal consignments to or via the European Union by air.

There is a mandatory requirement to comply with new advance electronic data (AED) reporting for pre-loading and pre-arrival customs risk assessments.

The data requirements include a complete and accurate product description and HS6 code.

ICS2 Second Release

“Hurricane’s Zephyr solution enables us to meet the ICS2 second release obligations while providing a seamless cross-border shipping experience for our customers through efficient checking and completion of cross-border shipment pre-advice data.”

Fern Sandercock, NZ Post’s Head of Product, International Solutions (Acting)

How Hurricane can help with
ICS2 compliance

Hurricane is the data partner of choice for postal operators across the globe including Australia Post, Royal Mail, Emirates Post and An Post. 

Most recently, we were selected by Hong Kong Post to specifically enable them to be ready for ICS2 second release.

Hurricane is also a partner to the Universal Postal Union and International Post Corporation.

Holger Winklbauer, CEO of the IPC, said: “Through our partnership with Hurricane Commerce, IPC is enabling our members and other posts to meet the ICS2 requirement for mandatory AED, but also many other customs and security requirements, through a common system, resulting in a reduction in complexity, implementation costs, and time.”


Our ICS2 Solutions

Hurricane’s AI-driven, real-time data solutions, Zephyr and Aura are trusted by posts, carriers, retailers, brands, eCommerce platforms and financial service providers across the world.


Zephyr ensures that shipments have the right data – including HS6 codes, product descriptions and 8- and 10- digit import and export codes – to pass smoothly through customs. 


Kona is Hurricane’s ground-breaking all-in-one API covering our four pillars – product classification, duty & tax calculation, prohibited & restricted goods screening and denied parties screening.


What is ICS2?

The European Union has introduced a new customs pre-arrival security and safety programme and, at the heart of it, is a major advance cargo information system – ICS2.

The scheme is integral to the EU’s commitment to ensure the security of its citizens and the Single Market. The EU is responsible for around 15% of the global trade in goods.

The pre-arrival security and safety programme will support effective risk-based customs controls while allowing the free flow of legitimate trade across the EU’s external borders.

The role of ICS2 is to collect data about all goods coming into or via the EU prior to their arrival.

Economic Operators (EOs) must declare safety and security data to ICS2, through the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS).

There are three release dates for the ICS2 programme – March 15, 2021, March 1, 2023, and March 1, 2024.

  • Release 1 – On March 15, 2021, express carriers and designated postal operators established in the EU were required to provide a minimum set of advance electronic data.
  • Release 2 – By March 1, 2023, all goods imported by air in postal, express, and general cargo consignments will have to complete the full ENS data set.
  • Release 3 – By March 1, 2024, maritime, road, and rail carriers will have to submit the full ENS data to ICS2.

Who does ICS2 impact?

Many different players are impacted by the three releases of ICS2 including postal operators inside and outside the EU, express carriers, air cargo carriers, freight forwarding and logistics companies, maritime, rail and road transport carriers and representatives of all affected Economic Operators (EOs).

ICS2 also affects retailers, marketplaces and other businesses which send goods to or via the EU. It is in their interests to ensure that they are providing the complete, accurate and compliant data that is required to ensure frictionless cross-border trade.

What are the main benefits of the ICS2?

The European Commission believes there are several important benefits attached to the implementation of the ICS2 programme. Among them are:

  • Better protection of EU citizens and the Single Market from a security and safety perspective.
  • Enabling EU customs to better identify high risk shipments and intervene at the most appropriate stage of the supply chain.
  • Allowing seamless cross-border clearance for legitimate goods.
  • Simplifying the exchange of data relating to cross-border shipments.
  • Supporting proportionate, targeted customs measures at the external borders in crisis response scenarios.

Why is ICS2 second release such a big deal?

The second release, coming into force on March 1, 2023, affects all parties involved in handling, shipping and transporting cargo, express or postal consignments to or via the EU by air.

So, for those organisations which are looking to scale their cross-border eCommerce operations, this is a hugely important deadline.

The reason why this is such is big deal is that there will be a requirement to provide a range of mandatory advance electronic data elements including complete and accurate product descriptions and HS6 codes.

What if my data isn't good enough by March 1, 2023?

Failure to provide the complete, accurate and compliant advance electronic data, including product description and HS6 code, will have severe consequences for postal operators, carriers and others involved in cross-border eCommerce to and via the EU.

Goods will be delayed and, potentially, destroyed, leading to huge operational inefficiencies, additional costs, the risk of fines and penalties and reputational damage with customers.

How does Hurricane help?

Hurricane is the world leader in the provision of complete, accurate and compliant data to enable seamless cross-border eCommerce trade.

Our AI-driven, real-time data solutions, Kona, Zephyr and Aura, are lightning quick.

We currently have 3 global processing nodes with the capability of 5 billion API calls per month per node.
Our service response times range from as little as 70ms for matching, landed cost and compliance screening.

We use secure, GDPR-compliant serverless micro-services architecture.

What should I do next?

Contact the Hurricane team today via the contact form on this page.
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