More than 50 carriers and ground handling customers, across five continents, are now complying with the European Union Import Control System (EU ICS), requirements implemented on 1st January 2011, using CHAMP Cargosystems.

IT provider CHAMP Cargosystems has been at the forefront of delivering solutions for air cargo advance customs information (ACI) that comply with government regulations for many years. It has established interfaces via its Global Customs Gateway to the US, Canada, Nigeria and Mexico and has a number of other countries in the development pipeline, including Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa and China.

In Europe, CHAMP supports 20 countries currently implementing EU ICS and is moving to the next phase when it will support interfaces to all 27 member states, plus Norway and Sweden, which are also implementing EU ICS. Even though EU ICS is a pan-European initiative each Member State is responsible for implementing it and this has resulted in 27 different sets of requirements for the carriers to comply with, adding an additional layer of complexity.

James Fernandez, vice president of sales and marketing at CHAMP, said: “Most states place the responsibility for complying with ACI legislation with the carrier. The challenge for our customers, carriers and ground handlers, is to efficiently meet the different requirements of the 27 countries across Europe. One of the biggest benefits of the CHAMP service is that it acts as a single interface to various customs organizations, saving significant time and money. It is costly for carriers to do this themselves, particularly those based outside the EU. With CHAMP, the community of customers is able to deal directly with the various custom officials in the local language, helping to overcome barriers of time, geography and culture.”

Fernandez added: “While most parties involved in supporting EU ICS acknowledge there have been challenges, overall it is a success and is a vital component in securing global supply chains. With the next series of requirements for global security conformance coming to fruition, we all need to draw on the experience of the EU, and recognise valuable lessons. Most importantly, good communication, understanding and collaboration between the various parties play as significant a role in the successful deployment and adoption of ACI as the essential IT systems and services that support them.”