Posts

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.

2021 – a year of huge change for cross-border eCommerce

If 2020 was the year of the Coronavirus pandemic, for those involved in cross-border eCommerce trade 2021 will be the year of sweeping regulatory change.

The changes come thick and fast, starting on January 1 with Brexit and the full enforcement of the US STOP Act.

Both make the provision of complete and valid customs clearance data absolutely essential.

Ten weeks later will see the implementation of Import Control System 2 (ICS2) requiring postal operators to provide entry summary declarations on goods into or through EU customs territory.

As if that was not enough to occupy the minds of everyone involved in cross-border trade, both the UK and EU are removing the exemption from VAT on low value items.

And there is also the launch of the EU’s Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS) for retail merchants and marketplaces to contend with.

Combined, this plethora of regulations – all impacting in the first half of 2021 – will test postal operators, carriers, merchants, marketplaces and platforms to the absolute limit.

We know from our work with customers across all of these different segments of cross-border trade that some have invested the time and resource to get prepared for January 1.

They have tackled head-on the knowledge that the compliance landscape will look very different in just a few days’ time to what they had been used to.

For postal operators, good planning and preparation in terms of data enhancement means avoiding the nightmare scenario of parcels being stuck at customs resulting in huge delays and additional costs including warehousing, storage and returns.

For merchants and marketplaces, meeting the higher threshold for parcel data will be essential if they want to ensure the frictionless passage of goods to their end customers. Failure to do so will inevitably result in lost customers and reputational damage.

The final quarter of 2020 has seen increased activity among those whose businesses depend on seamless cross-border trade as the realisation dawned that January 1 really was going to mean a different way of doing things.

And while events like Brexit grab many of the headlines, the reality is that some or all of the regulatory changes outlined above will impact the way different postal authorities, carriers, merchants and marketplaces – irrespective of geography – conduct their business in 2021 and beyond.

Below is a recap of the big changes coming in 2021 and their timescales:

January 1 – Brexit: complete and valid data (including HS6 codes, product descriptions and correct values) will be required from the UK into the EU and vice versa.

January 1 – UK Import VAT Threshold: New regulations will make an overseas supplier who sends parcels containing goods valued at £135 or less to the UK responsible for paying any import VAT that is due.

January 1 – US STOP Act: the USPS has made it plain that from this date parcels will be refused entry into the United States and returned to origin if they do not meet the higher threshold level for advance electronic data (AED).

Martha Johnson, a spokesperson for the USPS, said: “Postal shipments containing goods not accompanied by AED will be considered inadmissible.”

March 15 – ICS2: Postal operators will no longer be exempt from having to make entry summary declarations into the Import Control System before moving goods into or through EU customs territory.

Under ICS2, shipments without the right data will no longer be allowed with the likelihood of severe delays in customs and increased costs.

July – EU VAT Exemption Removal: Abolition of exemption from VAT on low value items under €22. The changes mean that EU and non-EU sellers will charge VAT at the point of sale for consignments of €150 or below.

July – Import One-Stop Shop (IOSS): Modernising of VAT for cross-border eCommerce via the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) making the retailer, web shop or marketplace liable for the declaration and payment of VAT to the country of destination.

Hurricane Commerce was founded in 2016 to provide customers with industry-leading solutions to changing and evolving regulations and laws impacting cross-border eCommerce trade.

From this starting point, we have created our lightning quick Zephyr API which enhances the quality of parcel data.

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, our Aura API covers the three areas of duty and tax calculation, prohibited and restricted goods screening and denied parties screening.

An API call via Aura is super-fast with throughput tested at 640 transactions per second. One single call can perform these three critical cross-border functions, presenting the data back in real-time.

To find out more about Hurricane’s solutions, contact sales@hurricanecommerce.com.

 

Hurricane in the media:

CEP Research – 2021 will be a year of huge change for cross-border eCommerce

Tamebay – Regulatory change to test cross-border traders in 2021

 

Hurricane makes the news around the world

Hurricane Commerce has been making headlines across the global postal and logistics media.

Leading publications including Parcel & Post Technology International, Air Cargo, Post & Parcel, the Handy Shipping Guide, Lloyds Loading List and The Loadstar have all carried articles looking at the likely impact of Brexit and the US STOP Act on cross-border eCommerce trade after January 1, 2021.

The Loadstar article focussed on Hurricane’s warning that as many as 700 million mail items could be rejected for not having the complete and valid advance electronic data required under the STOP Act in just 30 days’ time.

This was confirmed by Martha Johnson, spokesperson for the United States Postal Service (USPS) who told The Loadstar: ““Postal shipments containing goods not accompanied by AED will be considered inadmissible.”

To read The Loadstar article in full visit https://theloadstar.com/tougher-us-drug-legislation-set-to-derail-millions-of-parcels-on-1-january/

Meanwhile, Hurricane’s Chief Content and Compliance Officer, Martin Palmer, has been quoted at length discussing the looming “chaos” of Brexit on the cross-border shipment of eCommerce parcels.

Martin said: “This is not just about the UK and trading into the EU; it is also about the remaining 27 EU member countries and their cross-border trade into the UK.”

Read Martin’s thoughts in full on the Post & Parcel website –

https://postandparcel.info/127999/news/e-commerce/hurricane-commerce-time-is-running-out-to-get-brexit-ready/

Hurricane co-founders talk Brexit, STOP Act and other regulatory challenges in Postal Hub podcast

Hurricane CEO Martyn Noble and fellow co-founder David Spottiswood have been interviewed for the latest episode of the Postal Hub Podcast.

Ian Kerr interviewed Martyn and David to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing posts at the start of 2021.

They include the full enforcement of the US STOP Act, Brexit, ICS2 and the removal of the exemption from VAT on small parcels.

Martyn and David discuss at length not just the challenges posed by tightening regulations, but also the huge opportunities in cross-border eCommerce trade if the posts along with carriers, merchants and marketplaces get it right.

They also talk about the fine margins between great customer service and poor customer service.

Crucial to success is the provision of complete and valid customs clearance data which will help to ensure the smooth flow of goods around the globe.

You can listen to the podcast here – http://www.thepostalhub.com/podcasts/episode-219-brexit-stop-act-cross-border-ecommerce

Hundreds of millions of parcels into the US set to be rejected unless higher data quality threshold is met from January 1, 2021

Several hundred million mail parcels destined for the United States will be rejected when the requirement for a higher threshold of advance electronic data comes into force on January 1, 2021.

Posts have had it confirmed that as of that date any parcels arriving in the US with incorrect or incomplete data will be refused and returned to origin.

Hurricane Commerce, a specialist in cross-border eCommerce trade data and compliance technology, says the United States Postal Service (USPS) deadline leaves posts with a huge challenge to meet in just a few weeks.

The January 1 deadline marks the latest step in the enforcement of the US STOP Act which is primarily intended to crack down on the importation of illicit opioids into the country.

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “The USPS is under pressure to fully implement the STOP Act and posts have been informed that the quality threshold for valid advance electronic data on mail parcels is being raised to a whole new level from the start of next year.

“From January 1, posts will be expected without exception to provide complete and valid data on all inbound mail parcels into the US.

“As things stand that means several hundred million parcels are likely to be rejected and eventually returned to their origin.

“This kind of volume will not only create immense logistical challenges but will also have a serious impact on air cargo capacity.

“Refused parcels will be returned to their country of origin which, in turn, will lead to mail parcel blockages of tens of millions of items. This problem will be exacerbated by the huge reduction in the number of planes flying due to Covid-19.

“The cost implications are significant in terms of warehousing, storage and returns, while there is also the issue of customer dissatisfaction and the increase in carbon footprint.”

Earlier this year, Hurricane Commerce launched its easy to integrate Zephyr data enhancement product which 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.

David Spottiswood, a co-founder of Hurricane Commerce, said: “The USPS deadline is real and is just a few weeks away from being rigorously enforced.

“Our Zephyr solution has been created specifically to meet this challenge and can be activated and delivering enhanced data quickly.

“We know from customer results that Zephyr enables posts to achieve the required data quality threshold.

“Posts which are able to meet the rigorous higher standards being set by the USPS are likely to gain a competitive edge in the world of cross-border trade.”

Lyngsoe Systems and Hurricane Commerce join forces to ensure frictionless cross-border trade

Two companies specialising in cross-border trade technologies have teamed up to help postal operators prepare for a wave of new regulations coming into force over the coming months.

Among them are the implementation of ICS2 (Import Control System 2), requiring entry summary declarations on all parcels and packets entering the EU, and the EU’s VAT modernisation package and launch of the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS).

Lyngsoe Systems is offering its customers Hurricane Commerce’s Zephyr data enhancement solution to complement its own Manual Imaging Capture Station (MICS), which provides a scalable solution for optimising import, customs and VAT collection.

MICS removes bottlenecks by separating data entry from the physical handling of items, automates data capturing and registration, raises throughput utilising existing floorspace more effectively and lowers the cycle time of import and clearance.

Hurricane’s Zephyr API enables the efficient checking and completion of cross-border shipment pre-advices. It identifies invalid descriptions, returns a status code for each imported consignment, and includes a product description, HS6 code and, if required, 8 and 10-digit import and export codes.

Zephyr can process over 700 million requests per day with 85% accuracy and achieves average response times of 100 milliseconds.

Villads Thomsen, CEO of Lyngsoe Systems, said: “A smooth cross-border eCommerce process calls for combining the different data sources readily available today.

“Lyngsoe Systems is excited to complement our MICS platform with eCommerce data analytics from Hurricane to achieve a frictionless cross-border trade.”

Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce, said: “We are delighted that Lyngsoe Systems has chosen our game-changing Zephyr solution to complement its own industry-leading offering to postal authorities.

“Our solutions are helping postal operators, carriers, logistics providers and online retailers capitalise on the huge growth opportunities in eCommerce while staying compliant in the face of ever-increasing global regulations and laws.”

Lyngsoe Systems and Hurricane are hosting a one-hour webinar, “Data Enhancement and Machine Learning in Office of Exchange” on Thursday, November 5th (2pm GMT/ 3pm CET). To register visit https://lyngsoesystems.com/mics2020/

Hurricane featured in Parcel & Post Technology International

Hurricane Commerce is featured in the September issue of Parcel & Post Technology International magazine.

Our co-founder and CEO Martyn Noble was interviewed about the latest trends in cross-border eCommerce trade.

The industry is having to adapt quickly to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by a swathe of new laws and regulations coming into force over the coming months. Among them are Brexit, EU VAT modernisation and the Import Control System 2 (ICS2).

In a wide-ranging article, Martyn says: “Nothing will move without data. A few years back the post industry was mainly concerned with first mile and last mile efficiencies whereas now it’s actually around first file.

“The timelines are not going to change. Compliance is not optional, and if you want to compete in this market, you have to do something about it.”

Martyn added: “There is potential for Posts and delivery companies to collaborate with smart technology providers to develop new services that help to differentiate them from rivals.”

To read the full article click https://secure.viewer.zmags.com/publication/b47bed6a#/b47bed6a/32