Supporting the call for action on data quantity and quality - new features released on CENcomm

07 October 2022

The endorsement by WCO Members of the strategic WCO Charter of Data Quantity and Quality Enhancements in the CEN in June 2021 has been a catalyst for a series of initiatives involving data and technology. Improving the way Customs data is collected globally is the WCO’s response to the Charter’s call for action. This has already led to the development of new features in the WCO’s flagship Customs Enforcement Network (CEN) applications, and more particularly in its CEN communication platform (CENcomm).

For many years, CENcomm has been the most used and useful tool in the WCO’s CEN suite, annually hosting an average of 100 closed user groups (CUGs) linked to various enforcement operations and projects. The release of a new and upgraded CENcomm platform in 2019 created the possibility for the WCO to continue tailoring the application from a technical perspective to meet users’ needs when conducting international Customs operational activities.

Previously developed in English, French, Russian and Spanish, the new version of CENcomm is now available in Arabic and Portuguese as well thanks to support from the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for the Middle East and the COLIBRI Project. Accessibility has always been the key attribute of CENcomm, and its expansion to these additional language versions will ensure that a greater number of WCO Members can now use CENcomm more actively in their own working language.

As part of its commitments under the above-mentioned Charter, the WCO released a simplified data entry form for CEN and the National Customs Enforcement Network (nCEN) earlier this year, allowing Members to record minimal data for statistical purposes. This functionality has now also been extended to CENcomm, with each CUG having the option of collecting data using this new simplified format. In addition, improvements have been made to the conveyance section of the CENcomm standard long form in relation to express couriers. These changes take account of the growing importance of e‑commerce in the international trade arena, allowing for more effective data collection with a view to defining an appropriate approach to e-commerce from an enforcement perspective.

The goals of increasing the amount of data collected by Customs and enhancing the quality of this data for analytical purposes are fully in line with the WCO theme for 2022, namely “Scaling up Customs Digital Transformation by Embracing a Data Culture and Building a Data Ecosystem”. In this respect, the latest version of the CENcomm has also seen some minor improvements including the introduction of airport and seaport codes allowing for better offence location tracking, as well as the reconfiguration of the seizure form and the addition of automated data entry control measures related to the movement of goods for a more consistent analysis.

There is still work ahead in terms of further encouraging all WCO Members to contribute more data to the CEN, using the various technological solutions in place for this purpose.