Security Tools

Major international security measures stem from recommendations of the World Customs Organization (WCO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Both have also developed a number of specific security tools.


For the implementation of the WCO SAFE Framework of Standards, WCO developed tools for the use of advance electronic information, the application of risk assessment, Customs-to-Customs cooperation, Customs-to-Business partnerships, and the use of modern non-intrusive technology. These were designed to provide enhanced security and, at the same time, facilitate legitimate trade.
WCO has developed Technical Specifications for standards implementations, using the WCO Data Model that standardizes the required data, and Implementation Guidelines for both EDIFACT and XML messages between Customs and businesses. They use the codes from UNECE and UN/CEFACT Recommendations for transport (e.g. type of transport means, package types, location codes, transport status codes).
WCO has also agreed a set of Advance Cargo Information Data for every consignment, which must be available to Customs officials during transport. There are also recommendations for general control measures, such as for Customs control, risk assessment, and controls at departure and sealing.
The WCO further recommends the use of the Unique Consignment Reference (UCR), which is a unique number given to a shipment at the first possible moment, and passed on to relevant parties throughout the transport, allowing consistent and continuous tracing and tracking.


The recommendations of the IMO for the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code are described in IMO circular MscCir1130 and put in place in seaports and in a number of countries through the development of national maritime Single Window systems.
In seaports, security information can be sent as part of the IMO FAL forms that have to be declared to port and other authorities. IMO is also considering the development of a specific electronic security information message.


Several countries including the EU have put into place a system for the certification of Authorized Economic Operators.