Missing or invalid data lead to extra efforts for postal operators and delays for receivers. Therefore complete and accurate electronic customs data have become a prerequisite to providing improved customs clearance processes for cross-border e-commerce postal traffic. For improved processes to work, border authorities must be able to trust the quality of the electronic customs data provided by posts in ITMATT messages. Posts must monitor and improve the data quality of their ITMATT messages where needed to build such trust. They must be able to identify data quality issues and work with e-sellers and other data sources to improve the source data used to populate ITMATT messages. To help posts identify which customs data need to be improved, IPC has developed the ITMATT Data Quality Monitoring (DQM) solution.

How does it work?

ITMATT messages used for customs clearance

ITMATT messages are used to communicate attribute information about postal items. An origin postal operators collect postal item data and transmit the data in ITMATT electronic data interchange (EDI) messages to the destination postal operator, to be used for transport security and customs clearance purposes.

The ITMATT message contains the data corresponding to the content of paper postal forms CN 22 or CN 23 customs declaration, including critical data elements such as:

  • Sender and recipient full name, address and contact details, and tax code/VAT number;
  • Category, total value, and total weight of the item;
  • The complete contents of the item including for each article contained within the item the description, quantity, weight, value, harmonised system (HS) tariff number, origin country;
  • Postal charges including insurance;
  • Information about associated documents such as a licence, certificate, or invoice.

The ITMATT message containing the item data is transmitted prior to export by the origin postal operator. Upon receipt of the ITMATT message, the destination post provides the data needed for border clearance to its local customs authority. Customs then has the opportunity to examine and use the ITMATT data for security and fiscal customs clearance.

Analysis of data quality

ITMATT DQM analyses ITMATT messages for data errors and non-compliance issues, based on a complex set of data validation rules. The tool provides a summary overview where the operators with the most issues are identified, as well as the most common error types, such as: invalid address, mandatory fields missing, or invalid monetary amount.

From the summary analysis, a drill-down to individual sender is provided, where detailed information is provided for each postal item. Drill-down to the raw ITMATT message itself is available, to be able to pinpoint the specific location of the error in the message. The tool also provides for the export of reports and graphs.

ITMATT DQM users can use the tool to monitor ITMATT messages sent or received by their post. This allows them to identify where improvements may be needed in ITMATT messages they send as origin post to support customs clearance of export items. It can also help them identify where improvements may be needed in incoming ITMATT messages, where poor quality data are inhibiting clearance of import items received as destination post.

ITMATT DQM also intends to establish a secure supply chain by validating the data quality of specific e-sellers and enabling the implementation of such concepts as “trusted shipper”.


Through ITMATT Data Quality Monitoring, posts are able to pinpoint where data quality issues exist. These issues can be prioritised by highest impact on a successful customs clearance process, by error type or by e-seller. This allows the post to focus on the top issues overall, which may be due to a systemic problem, or on top e-sellers, who may be providing poor quality source data.

ITMATT DQM provides precise identification of the:

  • number of errors per partner post
  • item ID of the item with one or more errors
  • sender (e.g. e-seller) of the item with errors
  • types of errors
  • data element in error, whether missing, invalid, or dubious
  • data element value that was found to be invalid or dubious

By focusing on and correcting data quality issues in ITMATT, posts are able to leverage ITMATT to its full potential as the basis for electronic clearance of postal items. When advance electronic information is accurate and complete the following customs clearance waste areas can be avoided:

  • manual entry of custom declarations
  • opening packets and parcels to verify declaration
  • sending letters or making other contact with receiver to request additional information, e.g. invoices, proof of payment, etc.
  • customs-related over-labelling and routing
  • storage and material handling costs related to customs
  • Manage procedures to assess and collect taxes/duties from receiver and recover tax/duties for returns


IPC provides technical support to all posts exchanging ITMATT messages with access to the tool. Access to the tool is subject to meeting the access requirements. In respect of the personal data contained within ITMATT messages and therefore within ITMATT DQM, access is provided only to personnel who are individually authorised by their organisation to have access to such personal data.

More information

To find out more about ITMATT DQM, please contact ITMATT.DQM@ipc.be.