The IPC COMETS (Centralised Operational Message Exchange and Translation System) solution is a direct response to ICS2 (Import Control System 2) under its EU eCUSTOMS programme, which sets up an electronic declaration obligation for all goods imported in the European Union customs territory for security reasons. Posts were exempted from ICS1 but are now legally obliged to implement ICS2.

The European Commission will build a central system to which all data will flow. IPC’s COMETS solution is designed to map electronic data messages from the postal EDI format to the EU’s Entry Summary Declarations (ENS) format. Since data are already available in the IPC Data Hub and are already transported over IPC’s Message Exchange Platform, extending these systems to provide a centralised solution will provide the posts with streamlined processes and increased efficiency in the most cost-efficient manner.

How does it work?

In order for COMETS to be successful, data needs to be provided to the central customs system of the European Commission in a specified format which is different from the standardised postal message format (i.e. ITMATT, EMSEVT and transport messages).

As postal ITMATT and PREDES data is already exchanged via IPC’s Message Exchange Platform and stored in IPC’s Data Hub, IPC can assist member posts with data transmission to the EU customs system through a central interface and a message translation and exchange platform.


IPC will build a system with the objective of fulfilling the following requirements:

  • Message translation of the messages between the global postal message standard and the EU Entry Summary Declarations (ENS) message model
  • Data transfer between posts, IPC and the European Commission
  • An ICS2 Management Platform with a web UI and APIs for different stakeholders, including destination post (EU), origin post (non-EU), destination customs authorities, airlines and IPC to ensure the exchange and validation of data between stakeholders
  • IPC will extend its existing message exchange platform and IPC Data Hub to provide ICS2 audit and quality reports

IPC provides a critical puzzle piece in the ICS2 solutions, by being a technical backbone, but the posts need to adapt their local operational processes to implement all ICS2 requirements and where appropriate, integrate their operational systems with this centralised system. The sending post may have to give more information on a specific shipment, following a possible request from the local customs issued through the European Commission System. The destination post may then have to take actions accordingly (e.g. stopping a shipment).

The service entered into its implementation phase at the beginning of 2020 and will be operational officially for EU countries on 15 March 2021. The first phase – which includes for posts and express operators – will be effective on 15 March 2021 with full deployment by March 2024.


  • Through this service, participating posts will benefit from a common system to implement the EU requirements, resulting in a reduction of complexity and therefore of the implementation costs and time.
  • The IPC service will allow both the sending post outside the EU and the receiving posts within the EU to comply with the EU rules. It will therefore enable non-EU posts to continue delivering packets to the EU, and enable to EU posts to receive them.

Facts & figures

Over 25 European postal operators have committed their participation, including both IPC members and non-member posts.


More information

To find out more about this service, please contact