E-commerce customers expect a reliable delivery, regardless of whether it was a domestic purchase or the parcel is coming from abroad. The cross-border delivery process is, however, often more complicated due to customs clearance, which can be time-consuming and complex. Due to paper-based clearance processes and incomplete declarations, a large number of items are delayed in customs, resulting in an unpredictable and unreliable service and therefore in lower customer satisfaction.
To address this challenge, IPC leads an initiative to work on solutions streamlining the customs process within the INTERCONNECT network. Participating posts – together with IPC – identified a portfolio of solutions and capabilities required to capture and exchange customs information more swiftly and easily to accelerate the process. Moreover, these solutions allow posts to enhance customs data completeness and accuracy while also enabling them to use the data to facilitate customs clearance and collection of tax and duties.
A portfolio of solutions
This portfolio aims at providing solutions at different stages starting at the source with the e-retailer and throughout the postal process.
IPC has developed the ITMATT Data Quality Monitoring tool, which covers the data quality of customs information – ITMATT data – provided by senders like e-retailers. The data is analysed in the ITMATT data quality management reports. This tool allow members to see per country which customs data is missing and what could possible still be requested.
IPC is investigating more options to improve the customs processes, such as the IPC Document Solution, where e-retailer invoices and proof of payments can be gathered to ease and speed up customs clearance. Through this platform e-retailers, posts and customs will be able to more easily resolve shipments stuck in customs due to missing documentation. Currently four posts are running a pilot or planning to do so: CTT Portugal Post, bpost, Deutsche Post and MaltaPost.
These solutions allow participating postal operators to capture and electronically exchange customs information to clear customs and assess duty and tax.
Benefits of seamless customs processes
IPC’s Seamless Customs solutions not only more efficiently capture needed customs information, the system also provides additional benefits for postal operators, customs staff and customers:
- Use of online data capture systems improves data quality, increasing customs compliance and reducing exceptions
- All pre-requisites for advance declaration – through the IPC Document Solution – are being put in place, resulting in faster clearance i.e. a higher number of items being released from customs on the same day
- Customers benefit from faster and more predictable delivery, combined with more consistent assessment of taxes and duties