Businesses and postal carriers are stepping up preparations for new regulations being rolled out by the EU Taxation and Customs Union. The rules, which have already started rolling out, will affect all stages of handling and shipping products, cargo and postal consignments to or via the European Union by air.
The new regulations, known as Import Control System 2 (ICS2), will particularly affect ecommerce businesses, which rely on delivering goods to customers by air.
The rules mean that businesses will have to also adhere to new data reporting requirements for pre-loading and pre-arrival customs risk assessments. Failure to comply with the new import regulations and associated data requests will result in delayed deliveries, additional fees, and even potential penalties.
It’s a somewhat daunting prospect, added to the already slowed growth of UK-based small businesses due to a combination of costs associated with Covid-19, rising bills, inflation, and disrupted supply chains, as well as because product HS Codes are subject to change regularly.
Yet, with the number of UK startups growing by 4.5% over the last year despite the downturn, solutions to meet the new regulations are more vital than ever. Ecommerce businesses of all sizes need to plan for the changes now – and it seems that cutting-edge technology could provide the key.
One such tool has recently been launched by Shipster, a Manchester-based shipping integration platform which specialises in custom ecommerce needs, and whose clients include leading UK fashion retailers including AYBL, Lounge and Rixo.
The software company has built an AI-powered HS Code Classification tool for the new regulations as an extension to its existing Shipster platform. The tool automatically matches products with the appropriate code from a live-updating database of more than 500 million codes, something that would be painstaking for businesses to do otherwise.
Offering quick and accurate compliance with the regulations, it also means that businesses can scale without stress, by adding an unlimited number of new products to the database, without worrying about HS codes.
Tony Cheetham, founder and Managing Director of Shipster, warns that not complying with the new rules can be even more detrimental for business than an added workload: “ICS2 should not be overlooked. Stuck parcels aren’t just a stress for the business but also risk a negative impact on overall customer satisfaction and reduce interest in repeat purchases.”
“Finding an efficient way to straighten up all your product information is vital if you want to avoid these problems,” he added.
Ultimately, businesses of all sizes need to prepare to meet the new EU shipping requirements today, or risk delays and worse in the not-so-distant future. Thankfully, the solutions are also coming fast – as long as businesses keep up with the advancing technology, too.