Article • 26.04.2023

IMP simplifies veterinary processes

A wide range of tools makes it easier to handle sensitive goods

When it comes to veterinary imports, most people think of goods of animal origin. However, in some cases the Veterinary Office Border Control (VEA) is also interested in coffee. Specifically, when coffee capsules also contain dairy products. Particularly sensitive here: if an importer or freight forwarder neglects the inspection obligation upon entry into the EU, they can’t make up for it afterwards and the goods are no longer marketable in the EU.


Entry inspections for EU imports

To protect against the introduction and spread of animal diseases, animals and animal products originating from third countries are subject to veterinary checks at a border control post. Likewise, certain food and feed of non-animal origin are subject to BCP inspection. The arrival of a consignment to be checked at the designated border control post where the animals or goods from third countries arrive shall be notified before their arrival by the importer or a responsible person presenting a Common Health Entry Document (CHED) in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) 2017/625.


In Hamburg, many of the VEA's import processes are automated. This simplifies procedures for those involved, creates transparency, and provides legal and planning security. A slot booking system for the mandatory inspection at the VEA is also integrated. The data of all relevant parties is consolidated in the Import Management Platform (IMP) of the Port of Hamburg. This includes information from the "Common Health Entry Document" (CHED) from the VEA as well as data from the shipping company's manifest, the freight forwarder's order and last but not least the container movements at the terminals. This centralized information pool offers IMP users great advantages, especially in the form of a broad spectrum of status information, streamlined transhipment processes and automated customs clearance.

Identify relevant containers earlier

Based on the shipping companies' manifests, an automated check is carried out using the goods descriptions and HS codes to determine which cargo is of interest to the VEA. "At the same time, the importer reports the shipment to us prior to arrival by providing the CHED. Our system does a cross check to see if the manifest and declaration data match," explains Dr. Ute Gramm from the Office for Justice and Health and Consumer Protection, and raises the point that "shipments must be declared to the designated Border Control Post (BCP) no later than one working day before arriving at the Port of Hamburg."

Reminder function for CHED

It is not easy to decide whether a shipment is subject to inspection by the BCP or not, especially in the case of "food and feed of non-animal origin", which is only partially subject to inspection. Gramm points out, "The regulations are changed every six months. Therefore, the inclusion of new products is possible twice a year." The "CHED required" reminder feature in IMP helps importers and shippers avoid missing an update. If the manifest-to-CHED comparison reveals that a shipment has not been properly declared, the IMP user is actively notified of this.

Many veterinary import processes are already digitalized in the port of Hamburg

Waiting times minimized due to slot booking

Via the IMP status message "Deliverable for disposition at the authorities", the parties involved learn that an inspection is required. Now the obligatory slot booking for the inspection at the VEA comes into play. This makes it easier to plan time scheduling for all concerned, including trucking companies and drivers, and optimizes clearance and inspection tasks. "In order to avoid no-shows - i.e. a no-show despite a booking having been made - the slot booking system asks IMP before allocation whether a shipment needs to be presented to the VEA. Only then is a slot allocated," clarifies DAKOSY project manager Franz Schwanke.

Making transhipments easier

Many of the containers arriving in the Port of Hamburg are only in transit. They are transhipped onto feeder vessels and then distributed in the North Sea and Baltic Sea regions. If these are subject to BCP inspection, the shipping companies would normally have to declare them with a CHED. In Hamburg, however, this declaration is automated by means of IMP so that no separate declaration is required. "This makes things a lot easier," appraises Schwanke.

In regular coordination meetings between the VEA and DAKOSY, new possibilities are always being identified to improve the inspection processes of the VEA with the support of IMP. The next step is to introduce a status for "food of non-animal origin". In doing so, Gramm and Schwanke are driven by the same goal: "We want to create the best conditions to ensure that no shipment which should have been inspected leaves the port."

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