Complete and accurate electronic customs data have become a prerequisite to providing improved and enhanced customs clearance processes for cross-border e-commerce postal traffic. For the enhanced processes to work, border authorities must be able to trust the quality of the electronic customs data provided by posts in ITMATT messages. To help posts identify what customs data need to be improved, IPC has developed the ITMATT Data Quality Monitoring (DQM) solution.

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.

How does it work?

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

The ITMATT message includes the data corresponding to the content of paper postal forms CN 22 or CN 23 customs declaration, including such critical data elements 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, HS tariff number, origin country; postal charges including insurance; and accompanying documentation such as a licence, certificate, or invoice.

Normally, the ITMATT message is transmitted prior to export by the origin postal operator, and upon receiving the ITMATT message containing the item data the destination post provides the data needed for border clearance to its local customs authority.

Customs then has the opportunity to examine the ITMATT data and use it for security and fiscal customs clearance. This can be done in an automated fashion, or by direct examination of the data by a customs employee who performs the necessary review and provides a decision on clearance, including security status and taxes and duty assessment.

ITMATT DQM analyses ITMATT messages for data errors and non-compliance issues, based on a complex set of data validation rules. It identifies at summary level the top partner operators with issues, and the top error types such as invalid address, invalid location code, mandatory fields missing, or invalid monetary amount.

From the summary analysis a drill-down to individual e-seller is provided, where detailed information is provided for each postal item including in which message it was reported, the item ID, the error description, the ITMATT data element with the error, whether the error was for missing mandatory data, or the invalid or dubious value. Drill-down to the raw ITMATT message itself is provided, with search tools to pinpoint the specific location of the error in the message. The tool provides reports and graphs export features, allowing further analysis to be made using spreadsheet applications or visual images to be inserted in presentations.

ITMATT DQM users can use the tool to monitor ITMATT messages sent or received by their home 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, or where improvements may be needed in ITMATT messages they receive as destination post where poor quality data are inhibiting clearance of import items.


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 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
  • specific location of the error in the actual ITMATT message

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,…)
  • customs-related over-labelling and routing
  • storage and material handling costs related to customs
  • procedures to collect taxes/duties from receiver and recovery of tax/duties for returns

Some waste in the customs clearance process is related to a lack of procedures to establish a secure supply chain (senders trusted), and ITMATT DQM is also intended to support concepts such as “trusted shipper” by validating the quality of the data of particular e-sellers.


The ITMATT DQM Support Desk 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 private data (PPD) 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 PPD.

More information

To find out more about ITMATT DQM, please contact