EU air freight reporting changes take effect March 1

On March 1, the European Union (EU) will implement phase 2 of its new Import Control System to collect information about all goods going in, or transitioning through any of its 27 member countries -- before it arrives. Air carriers and freight forwarders must submit information to EU Customs, where it is reviewed for possible security threats. Phase 2 specifically deals with cargo arriving by air.

To assist carriers in completing their Airway Bill form, university employees will need to provide more information about the items they're sending. With the exception of document shipments, all shipments, regardless of value, going to or transiting through the EU -- as well as Northern Ireland, Norway and Switzerland -- must have:

  • A six-digit Harmonized System (HS) code, an international product classification system, also known as commodity or tariff codes. HS codes can be found in shipping applications and on a country's government website.
  • For each item in the shipment, an accurate description that answers these questions: 1) What is it? 2) What is it made of? 3) What is it intended for? Where applicable, include the material composition breakdown (e.g., a dress made of 90% cotton and 10% polyester).
  • Whenever possible, a recommended third piece of data is the Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number for the business or person you're sending the shipment to. Your shipping vendor must provide this number to European authorities.

These three items are recommended for all international shipments, even those not destined for the EU, due to the possibility of the shipment being routed through the EU territory.

Campus assistance

University staff in the office of research ethics (export controls) and postal and parcel services (PPS) are preparing for these changes in several ways.

  • Export controls is updating its international shipment approval form to accommodate these requirements. Employees should electronically complete the International Shipping Procedures and Review form on the export controls website and discard any previously printed copies of this form. The EORI number is a static number that should be requested from the intended recipient when you obtain the delivery address.
  • As needed, PPS staff will assist with determining six-digit HS codes. To do this, each item description must be complete. Employees who know the correct HS code are asked to include it with the item description. Shipments lacking the information needed to determine HS code(s) will be delayed leaving campus until the employee or unit provides these details.