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Shipping firms required to submit advance electronic cargo info

Date: 14/03/2011

Shipping companies are now required to electronically provide EU Customs authorities with cargo information before the goods are loaded to allow for the necessary risk assessment analysis before the arrival at ports of destination.

Implementing the Safety and Security Amendment to Community Customs Code under the Import Control System, the carriers are now required to declare information prior to goods entering the EU regardless of the eventual destination of the cargo.

The information is to be submitted as an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) and needs to be lodged electronically to the EU customs office at the first point of entry in accordance with the national technical specifications, formats, connections etc. established by the individual EU member States.

Freight forwarders or importers may also lodge the ENS, provided they have the consent of the carriers and has secured their own Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

The ENS must be sent no later than 24 hours before vessel loading for deep sea containerized shipments or four hours before arrival for other deep-sea maritime sectors.

For all short sea shipping sectors, the time limit is two hours before arrival. In filing an ENS, the trader must include his own EORI number in the ENS.

If the filer is not the carrier, then he needs to indicate the carrier's EORI number to ensure that the ENS is lodged with the knowledge and consent of the carrier.

The traders are strongly encouraged to apply for an EORI number before the filing of the first declaration, since it may take several days before the EORI number can be attributed.

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