Import Control System 2 (ICS2) for Mail


Resource Center

This resource center includes information regarding the EU Import Control System 2 (ICS2) requirements for mail. We encourage air carriers to bookmark this page and to check back often for updated information.

What is ICS2 for Mail?


Simply stated, beginning on March 1, 2023, airlines carrying mail consignments will need to transmit pre-arrival electronic information to EU customs authorities. Air carriers need to prepare now ahead of the anticipated ICS2 deadlines and get in line for testing with solution providers.

What Do We Know About ICS2?



What Don't We Know About ICS?

Many unanswered questions remain about ICS2 for mail. Below is a non-exhaustive list of some open items where clarity and additional brainstorming are required. Descartes is at the leading edge of ICS2 compliance to ensure that our solution addresses all industry concerns, questions, and scenarios.

  • Without CARDIT, how can airlines manually capture security information and independently verify data for unconsigned mail?
  • How many times, or at what point, is an airline willing to check for CARDIT?
  • In order to check for CARDIT multiple times, or at the latest possible moment, will an airline be able to support a wireless connection at all stations?
  • Will airlines be able to accommodate alternative processes for all mail?
  • Will an airline be willing to return all unconsigned mail to all postal authorities?
  • When no CARDIT is available, how can airlines know if unconsigned mail touches EU countries?

  • How will an airline; that has postal contracts, performance expectations, or penalties; be impacted when receiving unconsigned mail that they can’t immediately process?
  • How will an airline process unconsigned mail that appears at a transit station, such as in the case of handover mail?
  • Will an airline want the mail system to accept some unconsigned mail isolated by some criteria, such as flight, station, IMPC origin, or IMPC destination?
  • Will an airline be able to ensure that receptacle-level build-up data for intact nest transfers is received in advance in support of interline and intra-line contracts?

Descartes Has You Covered for ICS2

We are Pleased to Announce That Air Carriers Can Test with Descartes in Summer 2022


As a long-standing innovator in technology for the air cargo industry, Descartes is at the leading edge of ICS2 compliance for mail. Our solutions are built based upon consultative efforts between carriers, postal authorities, and customs agencies to ensure you exceed compliance requirements.

Descartes' mobile technology acquires all available CARDIT information during transmission. The solution allows for for instant queries to the server to check for any new CARDIT data. Our technology uses CARDIT data in the creation of XFWB messages to send to cargo systems. In addition, the solution maps actual receptacles processed to XFHL messages to send to cargo platforms. Both XFWB and XFHL messages can be sent directly to the Descartes Global Security Filing™ (Descartes GSF™) system for filing independent of a cargo system.

Descartes also has you covered into the future. Our solutions are modeled with a standard and scalable architecture to support similar initiatives as they expand worldwide.


A Seamless Data Flow to Enable Compliance​


Moving data throughout the air mail supply chain can be complex and we understand that carrier operations and systems vary. Descartes offers flexible solutions to seamlessly collect all of the data elements required for ICS2 compliance. Our technology is adaptable and can move and validate information through our own global security filing platform or via 3rd-party global security filing applications.