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A BLG, Germany, storage facility (Photo: Tag der Logistik 2010)

Logistics companies are slow in implementing systems to comply with Europe’s new Import Control System (ICS), according to a consultants ”˜study.

Market analysis conducted by German consultants Nielsen+Partner showed that many transportation companies have not adapted their logistics processes to meet the new requirements.

The European Union’s ICS, a mandatory electronic customs procedure, took effect January 1. The legislation stipulates that all imports into the EU need to be electronically reported before they arrive in the 27-nation bloc so they can be subjected to a near real-time risk assessment. The system replaces a paper-based process.

In case of failure to comply, companies face heavy finds. In Slovenia, for example, fines of up to 125,000 euros are levied if imports aren’t declared in a timely manner.

The biggest problem, according to the Nielsen+Partner study, is the continuous monitoring that is required to meet deadlines and requirements. Companies have to make sure all paperwork is electronically filed in an integrated process.

“With the push of a button, it has to be clear at all times if goods have clearance to be shipped, whether goods that have been booked for a ship, airplane or truck have been registered, how to proceed in case a shipment is prohibited or delayed and what kind of escalation steps there are,” said Sven Mathes, a Nielsen+Partner consultant.

The software solution for all this lies in an electronic monitoring tool that includes comprehensive search and filter functions. Such software can raise the alarm when deadlines are missed or incorrect information is filed.

There are many companies offering these software products. Kewill, Descartes, QuestaWeb and KSD are among them, but there are other providers as well.

The EU legislation follows similar regulations that have been implemented in the US, Canada, China, Mexico and other countries in recent years.