Traditional international postal electronic data interchange (EDI) relies on a point to point architecture according to prescribed standards. The current EDI messaging framework does not effectively allow interfacing with other non-postal stakeholders who do not use standard postal EDI messages.

The IPC Centralised Operational Message Exchange and Translation System (COMETS) is an innovative, modern platform designed to reduce cost and complexity and increase flexibility and access by providing an enhanced, centralised, operational
message exchange solution.

As a first use of COMETS, IPC created the solution to enable EU posts to meet legal obligations to file electronic customs declarations known as Entry Summary declarations (ENSs) for all goods imported into the European Union customs territory for security reasons. ENSs must be filed into the EU Import Control System 2 (ICS2), and the IPC solution translates standard postal ITMATT messages into the required ICS2 message format.

How does it work?


IPC’s COMETS solution for ICS2 maps ITMATT electronic data messages from the postal EDI format to the EU’s Entry Summary Declarations (ENS) format. The solution then translates resultant outputs from ICS2 into the postal EDI message ITMREF, which is a referral request by a border authority to the origin post for more information about a postal item. Finally, the solution then translates the postal EDI message REFRSP, the origin post’s reply to an ITMREF, into the format required by ICS2.

The solution will also cater for the required ICS2 filings by airlines, mandated as from March 2023. In addition to the COMETS system translating the global postal EDI messages to the EU ICS2 equivalent messages and vice versa, it also provides

The EAD platform also provides real-time up-to-date and historical status information at postal item level, with links to other IPC reporting solutions including ITMATT Data Quality Monitoring (DQM), Advanced Tracking and Analysis Tool (ATAT), and the Proactive Monitoring System (PMS). Since data is already available in the IPC Data Hub and is already transported over IPC’s Message Exchange Platform, extending this centralised solution provides posts and airlines with streamlined processes and increased efficiency in the most cost-efficient manner, without each individual post and airline having to develop and implement their own solution. Future innovations and potential for the expanded use of IPC’s Message Exchange Platform will bring new solutions to the COMETS platform. the web-based Electronic Advance Data (EAD) management platform which includes detailed reporting at several levels. The platform includes a web UI and APIs for different stakeholders, including destination post (EU), origin post (non-EU), destination customs authorities, airlines, and IPC to ensure the exchange and validation of data between stakeholders. Also included are ICS2 audit and quality reports, and the ability to generate ITMREF and REFSP messages ad hoc.



  • COMETS is available to both IPC member posts as well as non-IPC-member posts.
  • Through this service, participating posts will benefit from a common system to implement the EU requirements, resulting in a reduction in complexity, implementation costs, and time.
  • The COMETS service allows both the sending post outside the EU and the receiving posts within the EU to comply with the EU rules. It enables non-EU posts to continue exporting goods to the EU and enables EU posts to import and deliver them.

Facts and figures

Twenty-six European postal operators are using COMETS to transmit data to and from the EU ICS2 system, including both IPC member and non-IPC member posts.


More information

To find out more about this service, please contact