ParcelHero: many international deliveries using the USPS now need advance electronic data

ParcelHero:  many international deliveries using the USPS now need advance electronic data

America’s new STOP Act, designed to slash the number of illegal drugs entering America, has come into force today (15 March). ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says significant disruption and delays could hit US parcels using traditional postal services.

America’s new anti-narcotics STOP Act was originally passed in 2018 but has had a ‘Stop-start’ introduction, missing several deadlines, before it finally became law.

The new STOP Act now requires overseas mailers using the USPS system to provide electronic advance data — such as who and where a parcel is coming from, who it’s going to, where it is going and what’s in it — before it enters the United States.

The US Government claims that having this information in advance will enable US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to better target potential illegal packages and keep dangerous drugs from ending up in the hands of dealers.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) can now refuse any package shipped to the United States that lacks identifying data, such as shipper and recipient.

The delay in introducing the STOP regulations means the new rules now kick-in on the same day that the European Union (EU) introduces its new requirement for Entry Summary Declarations, under its new ICS2 scheme. It’s a double-whammy that could leave UK exporters wrestling with red tape and delays to parcels destined for its two biggest markets, the US and the EU.

In the USA, the Mandatory Advance Electronic Information for International Mail Shipments, as the new rule is called, has not been without controversy. Potentially millions of parcels could be rejected and returned to their sender by US border control.

That’s why ParcelHero is recommending individuals and companies currently sending packages to the US by traditional mail minimise the impact of STOP by switching to an international courier service to avoid a potential parcels logjam this month.

The US Government says drug traffickers have been exploiting vulnerabilities in its international mail system to easily ship synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl from China, through the USPS. The STOP Act closes this loophole by requiring advance electronic data on all inbound international packages.

Traditional parcel services that use the USPS, such as many Post Office shipments from the UK, will be impacted. However, international courier services – such as express services booked through ParcelHero – are not affected by the changes.

Senders using USPS-linked mailings now must provide complete and valid data on all inbound mail into the US. That means hundreds of millions of packets and parcels face delays or returns due to incomplete data, which is likely to create a bottleneck for some time.

International couriers have well-established procedures for supplying advance electronic Customs data. This has not been the case for most mail using the USPS. Due to the volume of mail, US Customs was unable to manually scan these packages and stop illicit goods from entering America.


Unlike the new US system, which only applies to traditional mail operations, phase one of the new EU ICS2 scheme will require all express parcel companies to provide an electronic Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) for all goods consignments they are responsible for bringing into the EU.

The entire existing Import Control System (ICS) is being phased-out and replaced by the new system.

As an advance cargo information system, ICS2 will now collect data about all goods entering the EU prior to their arrival. The new EU system is being implemented in three phases (15 March 2021, 1 March 2023, and 1 March 2024).


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