Friday, January 15, 2021

A Gathering Storm for Parcel Post Importers Into the US and Europe

Simultaneous Legislation by the EU Threatens Chaos
Shipping News Feature

UK – EUROPE – Back in November we wrote of the potential problems faced by anyone in the US importing goods, due to the restrictions being imposed by the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act (STOP Act). The legislation was designed to curb the trafficking by post of illicit substances. Now it seems those affected are facing a 'double whammy'.

The original implementation date for the act was 1 January, postponed to 15 March after Customs and Border Protection said it needed more time to finalise regulations, a stay of execution reluctantly granted by Senator Rob Portman. The change in date means STOP will now take effect on the same day as the EU’s ICS2.

Both systems demand the provision of advance electronic data on mail parcels entering the US and EU respectively. In granting the extension to STOP Sen. Portman warned there will be no further time granted and went on to point out that 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.”

UK based Hurricane Commerce, a cross-border eCommerce technology specialist which produces systems to allow bulk clearance facilities to check the accuracy of data, including product descriptions and HS6 codes, and receive additional pertinent or missing information, warned before Christmas of the gathering storm with the potential to produce chaos.

It pointed out at the time that 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. Now Martyn Noble, CEO of Hurricane Commerce commented:

“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.”

“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.”

Photo: Sen. Rob Portman, who represents Ohio for the Republican Party, may look an affable fellow, but seemingly is not a person to upset, and his comments regarding delaying the STOP legislation have been scathing.