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FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions | Basic principles

1 Basic principles

Frequently asked questions on the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)

  1. Basic principles
  2. Different scenarios
  3. Alternative 3rd party ENS filing
  4. Diversion
  5. Amendments to ENS
  6. Do not load (DNL) messages
  7. Import Control System
  8. Economic Operator Registration & Information (EORI)
  9. Miscellaneous ENS matters

Frequently asked questions on the lodgement of Exit Summary Declarations (EXS) (Article 182 b CC)

  1. Basic principles
  2. Lodging of EXS: Different scenarios
  3. Amendments to ENS
  4. Release messages
  5. Shipsupply

 

Frequently asked questions on the Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)
1. Basic principles

 

Q1.1 - When is an ENS required?Top

The Community legislation requires, as a general principle, that all goods brought into the customs territory of the Community, regardless of their final destination, shall be covered by an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS), which should be lodged at the customs office of first entry, i.e. the first intended port of call within the customs territory of the Community. This means that all cargo, whether or not consigned to the EU, must be declared, including freight remaining on board (FROB). The ENS shall be lodged at the customs office before the goods are brought into the customs territory of the Community.

Q1.2 - Who must lodge the ENS?Top

The Community legislation requires that the ENS ‘...shall be lodged by the person who brings the goods, or who assumes responsibility for the carriage of the goods into the customs territory of the Community’. This means the operator of the active means of transport on or in which the goods are brought into the customs territory of the Community is responsible for the filing of an ENS. In the deep sea container context, this is held to be the ocean carrier that issues bill of lading for the carriage of the goods into the Community.

However, in the case of vessel sharing (VSA) or similar contracting arrangements, the obligation to file an ENS lies with that carrier who has contracted, and issued a bill of lading or an air waybill, for the carriage of the goods into the Community on the vessel or aircraft subject to the arrangement. So, each party which issues bill of lading for carriage of goods on the vessel is deemed to be the ocean carrier and must file the ENS for the containers it is having carried on the vessel.

For short sea shipping, the same rules normally apply, but in the case of “combined transport” (e.g. a truck carried on a ferry) where the means of transport entering the customs territory of the Community (the ferry) is only transporting another means of transport which, after entry into the customs territory of the Community, will move by itself as an active means of transport (the truck), the obligation to file an ENS lies with the operator of that other active means of transport (the trucking company). The vessel operator must always, however, provide the Arrival Notification. (see Q1.13)

Q1.3 - Can other persons lodge the ENSs instead of the carrier?Top

Yes, but this does not relieve the carrier of the responsibility. In the end it is the carrier that must ensure that an ENS is lodged, and within the time limits. Therefore, the ENS may be lodged by a person other than the carrier only with the carrier’s knowledge and consent. (See Section 3 - Alternative 3rd party ENS filings)

Q1.4 - Must the person lodging the ENS have status as an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO)?Top

There is absolutely no requirement that an ENS declarant must be an AEO.

However, the person lodging the ENS (“the declarant”) must have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number (See Section 8 below) that must be included in the ENS. Similarly, if a 3rd party – with its knowledge and consent – files an ENS instead of the ocean carrier, the 3rd party must in its ENS include both its own EORI number and that of the ocean carrier.

Q1.5 - When must the ENS be lodged?Top

The legislation requires that the ENS for deep-sea containerised shipments, i.e, for voyages to the EU whose duration is over 24 hours, must be lodged at least 24 hours before  ommencement of loading in the foreign load port. Other deadlines apply for other shipping services and other modes of transport (see Part B, title 5 "Time limits").

Q1.6 - Why must ENS be lodged at the first port of entry?Top

The Community legislation applies the principle that the customs office of first entry shall undertake the cargo risk assessment for all shipments, including FROB, carried on a conveyance due to arrive in the Community and initiate any preventive action against identified risk. Action will be based upon three separate categories of risk:

  • In deep sea containerised shipments (where the ENS must be submitted at least 24 hours before loading, Article 184a (1) (a) CCIP) where a very serious threat to security and safety is identified, a "Do Not Load" message will be issued to the declarant and, if different, the carrier (Article 184d (2) (2) CCIP;
  • In cases not covered by Article 184a (1) (a) CCIP, where a serious risk is identified, the customs office of first entry will take action against the goods upon arrival at the first port of entry and also inform the customs offices in subsequent ports of the risks identified;
  • In other cases, the customs office of first entry will inform the customs offices in subsequent ports of the risks identified so that the results can be considered along with the national risk analysis undertaken where the goods are discharged.

Q1.7 - Can ENSs be lodged at a customs office different from the first port of entry?Top

Yes, provided that the customs authorities at that office, the customs office of entry, and the customs authorities of the office of first entry permit this. The customs office of entry must immediately forward the data to the office of first entry.

However, this may not be an attractive proposition for ocean carriers for the following reasons:

  • not all Member States allow the customs office of entry filing,
  • the customs office of first entry would still be responsible for the risk assessment, including the issuance of any "Do Not Load" messages, so an ocean carrier would want to be connected to that office in any case and
  • the ocean carrier will for other reasons already have a close relationship with customs office of first entry (manifest filing etc.), so establishing a connection to a customs office of entry (perhaps in a landlocked country in the EU) solely for the purpose of filing an ENS may not be a resource effective decision.

Q1.8 - Which is the foreign load port when goods are transhipped before loading?Top

The ENS filing requirements apply to the main haul vessel, i.e. the vessel that on its itinerary has ports of call in the EU and thus brings goods into the Community. Goods fed between, for example, a port in Indonesia to Hong Kong to be loaded on to the main haul vessel destined for the EU would not need to be declared to EU customs by the feeder company before loading at the Indonesian port – the reporting requirement applies when the goods are to be loaded on to the main haul vessel. The obligation to file the ENS lies with the ocean carrier issuing Bill of Lading for goods to be loaded on to the main haul vessel.

Q1.9 - Must an ENS be lodged for each port of loading?Top

Yes. The reporting requirements apply to each foreign load port, not just the last foreign port of call before entering the Community. So, in the example above, if the main haul vessel is also to load cargo in e.g. Singapore, then an ENS must be lodged to customs in the intended first port of entry in the EU no later than 24 hours before commencement of loading in Singapore for the containerised shipments that will be brought in to the Community on the main haul vessel.

Q1.10 - What is the definition of first port of entry and subsequent port for entry?Top

The first port of entry is the first port in the Community at which the vessel is scheduled to call when coming from a port outside the Community. Subsequent port(s) mean any port in the Community on the vessel’s itinerary that the vessel will call at after its call at the first port in the Community without an intervening call at any port outside the Community.

If the vessel calls at any port outside the Community in between Community ports then the vessel has left the Community and a subsequent arrival at a Community port makes that port the first port of entry, not a subsequent port; a new ENS must be lodged prior to arrival, within the prescribed time limits, for all of the cargo carried.

Q1.11 - What happens if the vessel calls at a different Community port first?Top

The ENS must always be lodged at the intended first port of call in the Community within the prescribed deadline. Provided that has been done, the vessel may be diverted to a different first port of call. The automatic passing on of risk information ( See Q1.6 above) to all declared subsequent ports of call within the Community allows that a vessel may divert to any other declared subsequent port of call (or a non declared port of call in the same Member State as a declared subsequent port of call) without advice to customs. However, if the actual first port of entry is in a Member State that was not included among the declared ports of call in the Community, the vessel operator must advise the intended first port of call of the diversion as soon as diversion is planned, by use of a "diversion request" message. The intended port of first entry will advise the actual port of first entry of any risk information (See also Section 4 -Diversion).

Q1.12 - Is a first Community port of call the first port of entry even if no containers will be discharged there, e.g. a vessel calls only to load containers, or is the first port of entry the first Community port at which containers are to be unloaded?Top

Even though it would seem highly unlikely, the ENS must be sent to the customs office of first port of entry whether or not containers are to be discharged in that port. All containers to be loaded on board the vessel for carriage to the Community must be included in the ENS that must be submitted to the customs office in the first port of entry in the Community no later than 24 hours before commencement of loading at each load port, regardless of to where they are consigned.

Q1.13 - What happens when the vessel arrives at the first port of entry?Top

Prior to or upon arrival in the first port of entry, the vessel operator must submit, for all shipments carried on the arriving vessel, a so-called Arrival Notification, allowing customs to identify all the ENS that were previously lodged for the shipments. For the containers to be discharged in the first port – as hitherto – a manifest must be submitted and the party presenting the goods for temporary storage must lodge also a summary declaration for temporary storage. This summary declaration can be merged with the manifest and also the Arrival Notification if customs authorities in the individual EU Member States allow for this.

Q1.14 - Must ENSs be lodged at subsequent ports?Top

No. An ENS, for all of the cargo carried, only needs to be lodged with the customs office of the first port of entry. However, prior to or upon arrival at each Community port in turn, a manifest – as has always been the case – must be lodged for all of the containers to be unloaded at that port and, if the ocean carrier is the party presenting the goods to for temporary storage, also the summary declaration for temporary storage for those containers.

Q1.15 - Will ENS replace the manifest filing? If not, what about the relationship between ENS and manifest?Top

The ENS will not replace the traditional manifest filing in each discharge port. The ENS is for cargo risk assessment purposes, and even though the manifest may include the same information as the ENS, manifests must in addition include data elements prescribed by transport legislation in each EU Member State that the vessel is calling at. Customs authorities may require that the manifest includes a reference to an ENS, where applicable, in order to establish the relationship between the manifest and the ENS. Also, according to Community legislation, the summary declaration for temporary storage must include a reference to the ENS; a summary declaration for temporary storage may take the form of the manifest provided that it contains the particulars of a summary declaration including a reference to any ENS for the goods concerned.

Q1.16 - Must CARGO REMAINING ON BOARD for carriage to other ports (FROB) be included in the ENS, in the Arrival Notification and in the manifest?Top

FROB must be included in the ENS and the Arrival Notification to the customs office of first entry. Whether FROB must also be included in the manifest is up to the transport legislation of the individual EU Member States. (At least some Member States require at least some information for FROB to be provided in the manifest).

Q1.17 - Do EMPTY CONTAINERS have to be declared in the ENS and the arrival notification?Top

Shipper-owned empties that are being transported pursuant to a contract of carriage shall be treated in the same way as other cargo and thus be included in the ENS and the Arrival Notification. Carrier reposition empties may continue to be reported to customs as is done today at arrival and are not to be included in the ENS.

Q1.18 - Will shipment of EMPTY ROLL TRAILERS be considered the same as empty containers, i.e. only to be included in the ENS if transported under a contract of carriage?Top

Yes. Roll trailers would fall under the category “means of road, rail, air, sea and inland waterway transport”; such means of transport will need to be included in the ENS if they are carried under a transport contract.

Q1.19 - How is TRANSHIPMENT CARGO to be handled?Top

Containers to be transhipped in a port in the EU must be included in the ENS to the customs office of first entry even if the containers are to be transhipped in another (subsequent) port. At the actual transhipment port, the existing procedures will continue as hitherto, i.e. lodgement of manifest and presentation to the local customs office for temporary storage. If the transhipped containers “sit” for more than 14 working days in the transhipment port and they are destined for a location outside the EU, an exit summary declaration (EXS) must be lodged for those containers prior to loading in the transhipment port.

Q1.20 - Is it possible to describe all of the documents to be submitted by the ocean carrier from the time of 24 hour before commencement of loading to cargo release at destination?Top

  • ENS: first, the bill of lading issuing ocean carrier must in each foreign load port, and no later than 24 hours before commencement of loading to the main haul vessel bound for an EU port, submit an ENS for all shipments to be loaded onboard that vessel even if the shipments are to be discharged in a port outside the EU (= FROB) after the vessel has called and EU port.
  • Arrival Notification (AN): next, before arrival at the customs office of first entry (= the first port of call in the EU), the vessel operator must submit an Arrival Notification (AN) covering all shipments on board the arriving vessel regardless of whether the shipments are to be discharged at the first port, at subsequent EU ports on the vessel’s itinerary or at a port outside the EU (FROB). The AN must either include the MRNs for all the shipments carried on the vessel or include the so-called “Entry Key” data elements (i.e. mode of transport at the border, IMO vessel number, and date of expected arrival at the expected customs office of first entry). The vessel operator will have discretion in choosing between inclusion of the MRNs or of the “Entry Key”; the latter will likely be the prevalent method in the liner shipping industry as the vessel operator would not necessarily have all the MRNs for all the shipments carried on its vessel.
  • Manifest: finally, the bill of lading issuing carrier must - in each EU port where it discharges shipments – submit a manifest according to nationally prescribed rules for the shipments discharged in that particular port. Individual EU Member States may require that the manifest includes the MRNs, where available, for the shipments discharged in the individual ports. The manifest can take the form of the summary declaration for temporary storage if the ocean carrier is the party presenting the goods to customs. The summary declaration for temporary storage must include the “particulars” necessary to identify the relevant ENS; this could either be the MRNs or the “Entry Key”, but here the party presenting the goods would not necessarily have discretion to choose between the two options as each Member State may prescribe which of the two options (or both) must be used in the summary declaration for temporary storage. The documentation for customs clearance of import cargo is the responsibility of the importer or its agent, not the ocean carrier.

Q1.21 - Are all of these documents to be lodged electronically?Top

ENS must be submitted electronically. Manifests and summary declarations for temporary storage are outside the Community legislation and are instead regulated by national legislation. Today, manifests are filed in paper in the following Member States: Finland, France, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Romania, and maybe more Member States. These Member States may at some point introduce legislation requiring the submission of manifests electronically.

Q1.22 - If the ocean carrier – for whatever reason - failed to lodge an ENS in time, what will the consequences be?Top

Article 184c paragraph 2 of Commission Regulation 1875/2006 provides that: “If an economic operator lodges the [ENS] after the deadlines provided for in Article 184a, this shall not preclude the application of the penalties laid down in the national legislation”. Any such penalties would be imposed according to the national customs legislation of the Member State in which the customs office of first entry is located.

What are the time limits for the lodging of an ENS?

The time limits for the lodging of the ENS vary according to the mean of transport and duration of transportation carrying the goods in to the customs territory of the Community.

Containerised maritime cargo (except short sea containerised shipping)

At least 24 hours before commencement of loading in each foreign load port

Bulk/ break bulk maritime cargo (except short sea bulk/ break bulk shipping)

At least 4 hours before arrival at the first port in the Community

Short sea shipping:

Movements between Greenland, Faroe Islands, Ceuta, Melilla, Norway, Iceland, ports on the Baltic Sea, ports on the North Sea, ports on the Black Sea or ports on the Mediterranean

and

The Community except French overseas departments, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands

At least 2 hours before arrival at the first port in the Community

Short sea shipping:

Movements with a duration of less than 24 hours between a territory outside the customs territory of the Community

and

The French overseas departments, the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands

At least 2 hours before arrival at the first port in the Community

Short haul flights (less than 4 hours duration)

At least by the time of the actual take off of the aircraft

Long haul flights (more than 4 hours duration)

At least 4 hours before arrival at the first airport in the Community

Rail and inland waterways

At least 2 hours before arrival at the customs office of entry in the Community

Road traffic

At least 1 hour before arrival at the customs office of entry in the Community

 
Security Amendment to the Customs Code

Security Amendment to the Customs Code

The security amendment to the Customs Code aims to ensure an equal level of protection through customs controls for all goods brought into or out of the EU. This section contains all the legislation, procedures and information relevant to the amendment.

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