Saturday 25 January 2020

An Post warns of potential delays for parcels to US

The US has new customs rules for data on parcels
The US has new customs rules for data on parcels

Parcels posted to the US face potential delays because of new customs regulations.

An Post has urged customers to buy postage labels in advance to avoid delays in the post office.

New US customs rules mean electronic data must be submitted in advance of the item being posted.

The new law is driven by the STOP Act, which aims to halt the movement of opioids through the international mailing system.

Irish customers previously had to fill in the Customs 22 (C22) form when sending a parcel abroad.

Now details of the parcel will also have to be submitted electronically to the States in advance of the parcel's arrival.

The data includes the sender's name, contact details, a description of the item, its value, if it is a gift or a product, and the recipient's name and contact details.

One small business owner, who did not want to be named, said that a couple of extra minutes per package in the post office can add up to an hour.

"At this time of year, a small business like mine can be sending about five packages to the States every day. That could be up to 50 minutes to an hour in the Post office," he said.

"If a few people have packages there will be long queues.

"The real issue I've come across is that if the package does not go through this 'pre-clearance' process it can be stopped by customs, delayed or even returned."

Customers are urged to buy postage labels for parcels online before heading to post them at the post office to avoid delays.


"We want to make business easy. Everything we're doing in our parcel and packet space with automation is to make it as easy as possible to do business," said Cyril McGrane, director of operations and international trade at An Post.

"If you're going to do the transaction at the counter, there is more data and it can take longer because there are more datasets to be handed over.

"We are going to make it as painless as possible but we're abiding by international law.

''We're not trying to make it difficult for our customers, it's just a fact of life."

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