A. General Information

1. Title


2. Status of the project
3. Implementation period of the project/service:
5. Geographical coverage
Participating countries: Belgium, China, Hong Kong, China, Czechia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain
6. Participating agencies/entities of the project/service:
a. Development stage
Lead agencies/entities
Other participating agencies/entities
Customs Administrations of some EU Members and the General Administration of China Customs
b. Operational stage
Lead agencies/entities (op)
Other participating agencies/entities (op)
7. Main stakeholders/beneficiaries of the project
Traders (big enterprises)
Traders (SMEs)
Customs brokers
8. Business process category of the project
Forwarding and cargo handling
Regulatory/official control

B. Lessons Learned

9. Summary description of the project/service
a. Objective(s)

Smart and Secure Trade Lanes Pilot (SSTL)

It was launched in 2006 to test specific safety and security-related recommendations of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards as regards security measures applied to containers, facilitating ‘Customs-to-Customs’ data exchange, risk management cooperation, mutual recognition of customs controls and trade partnership programmes. MS participate on a voluntary basis.

In 2010, SSTL entered into a second phase with the aim to expand the project which involved selecting more complex lanes, the inclusion of non-AEO companies, the expansion of risk management cooperation.

The SSTL Pilot Project currently operates (approximate) 120 trade lanes involving 200 economic operators between 16 maritime ports and messages are exchanged via the WCO CENComm platform. 

The joint administrative arrangement for Phase 3 of the SSTL Pilot Project was signed on 15 July 2016 at the headquarters of the World Customs Organizsation (WCO). In this pilot, the General Administration of China Customs and Hong Kong Customs join the customs authorities of eight EU Member States (Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and Spain) and the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union of the European Commission, DG TAXUD. Six additional Member States (Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia) as well as the WCO take part as observers.

Phase 3 will result in an increase in the share of goods traded between the participants covered by SSTL, and is thus expected to have a substantial impact on overall supply chain security and trade facilitation between the EU and China. This involves notably expanding the scope of the pilot, both geographically as well as to air and rail transport, in addition to maritime transport; increasing the volume of consignments covered; and incorporating advanced risk management techniques and developing common risk rules.

Furthermore, there is Risk management cooperation under the SSTL umbrella which allows addressing areas of mutual interest. So far several joint risk rule exercises have been conducted with focus on IPR, cigarettes and waste.

SSTL also contributed to a series of important security policy areas, notably as regards the technical comparison of the AEO programmes in view of establishing EU China AEO Mutual recognition, the contribution to the WCO unique consignment reference numbers (UCR) concept and addressing temporary admission issues for container security devices (CSDs).

b. Business need for the project (background)

Supply Chain Security 

Risk Management 

Cross-Border Trade Facilitation 

Enhancement of trade partnerships programs


c. Business process covered*

Due to the data exchange between exporting and importing customs authorities before container stuffing and container loading, the consignments operated under the SSTL pilot project should benefit from the intervention of the least possible customs in the logistical process. 

Traders joining SSTL will enjoy quicker customs clearance with enhanced logistical processes and overall predictability of the availability of goods for final consumers.


d. Overall architecture and functionalities*
High-level view may represent the SSTL data exchange process.


e. Relevant document/figure
10. Documents and data exchanged via the project
11. Data models/databases, proprietary solutions, hybrid approaches
12. Main challenges faced during the project
13. Lessons learned from the project
14. Main benefit(s) of the project
Enhanced regulatory compliance*
Transaction Cost savings*
Transaction Time savings
Simplified process
Increased trade flow
14A. Elaborations/detailed description on benefits gained

Benefits for SSTL consignments through faster customs clearance at import. Regarding import, SSTL is primarily focusing on the risk assessment for safety and security purposes, based on the Entry Summary Declaration that is lodged for goods brought into the customs territory of the Union (UCC, art. 127), and not e.g. on the risk assessment for customs duties when the goods are put into free circulation (UCC, art. 201). To achieve these objectives, export declaration and control result data as well as risk information is exchanged between the participating customs authorities. (

15. Technical/financial/capacity building/other assistance
16. Future plan for expansion of the project
17. Other information or relevant references on the project
18. Relevant document regarding the project

C. Relevant Standards

20. Electronic message standard
20A. Electronic message standard supporting the project
20B. Type of standard for electronic message applied for the project
International standard
Technical recommendations from international body(ies)
21. Technical communication standard
21A. Technical communication standard supporting the project
21B. Type of technical communication standard applied for the project
International standard
Technical recommendations from international body(ies)
22. Security-related standards*
22A. Security-related standard supporting the project
22B. Type of security-related standard applied for the project
International standard
Technical recommendations from international body(ies)
23. Other Technical Information
23A. Interface developed for data exchange with an internal system
CENcomm system is a platform owned by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
23B. Other technical implementation information