One of the key causes of delay in e-commerce delivery is the lack of documents needed for customs declaration and clearance, including invoices and proof of payment, as well as the slow process to receive those documents from e-buyers and e-retailers. High volumes of e-commerce items are blocked in postal warehouses awaiting documents for clearance. This delay impacts both consumer experience – as it interrupts the delivery process – and results in additional storage requirements and costs. The volumes and resulting delays are expected to increase. 

To address this issue, IPC has developed the Customs Document Solution: the solution allows inbound posts to quickly request and capture crucial information for customs clearance, process that information digitally and efficiently, and share it with the relevant stakeholders.

How does it work?

The IPC Customs Document Solution enables inbound posts to request the required documents from e-buyers on pre-advice (when the outbound post ships the item) or when the item arrives at the inbound post’s facilities.

The inbound post receives an ITMATT message from the outbound post and authorises IPC to load the customs data into the Customs Document Solution based on parameters set by the inbound post. If the e-seller has not uploaded the documents via the API, a request for documents from the e-buyer is triggered by the Solution, either automatically based on pre-defined criteria or manually by the inbound postal operator.

The e-buyers receive the requests either via email, SMS or letter mail. Through a secure web-based portal hosted by IPC, they can easily upload the required documents to be shared with the relevant stakeholders. Upon reception of the documents from the e-buyers, the postal operator can review them and proceed with the delivery of the shipment.

The solution is set up to also process documents uploaded by e-sellers – through an API integrated into the e-seller’s website or platform – and can be used by all parties involved in the processing of a customs declaration.

The IPC Customs Document Solution helpdesk provides support where required.


  • Improved processing: postal items can be processed faster as delays caused by lack of availability of a proof of payment are avoided.
  • Cost reduction: a faster delivery time results in lower processing and warehousing costs.
  • Efficient and accelerated response time: the e-buyer can directly upload requested documents to an IPC web-based portal, thereby reducing the time needed to provide the documents. In addition, the time passed since document request process was initiated can be analysed to ensure that deadlines are consistently met.
  • Improved communication with e-buyers: the request for documents is automatically triggered and sent via email, SMS or letter mail to the e-buyer, who can eventually make use of a print service if they are not able to receive items in digital format. Furthermore, the solution is customisable for postal operators: each post can define the specific methods of communication with the e-buyer (SMS, email or mail letter, the number of retries and the priority, are all configurable).
  • Process optimisation through API: if documents are already uploaded by the e-seller via the API to the IPC Customs Document Solution, the inbound postal operator is informed and no request needs to be sent to the e-buyer. The necessary documents are available to the inbound immediately, which allows the inbound post to optimise the use of advance information in preparing customs declarations.
  • Automated processes: automated/configurable workflow processes can be set for checking, approving and declining documents.
  • Auditing and document management: an audit trail of all activities is provided, while reports give a clear insight into how the process is progressing. Posts can easily keep track of document status updates as well as view the actual documents and review them.
  • Expandable: the IPC Customs Document Solution can be extended to request and store any additional type of documents.

Customs Document Solution

More information

To find out more about this service, please contact