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Pre-Arrival Processing (PAP) for Postal Shipments & Simplifications within the Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) Programme


E-commerce is dynamically growing worldwide as a channel for cross-border sales over the past couple of years and Serbia is not an exception[1]. The Post of Serbia (PoS) as a public enterprise is one of the providers of cross-border delivery services for e-commerce in Serbia. The Post is currently facing the challenge to process the growing volume of parcel and letter items efficiently. This does not only lead to obstacles related to logistical planning. It also demands a well-working risk management system to minimise the potential of releasing harmful or unsafe goods through postal shipments. These challenges need to be addressed.

To provide an efficient and safe e-commerce environment to importers and citizens, the PoS and the Customs Administration of Serbia (CAS) are jointly committed to reviewing the processing procedure and operational arrangements for incoming postal traffic. The current procedures are entirely paper based and manual. As result, the delivery time for incoming parcels and packages is 9 days on average. The CAS systematically reverts to physical inspection of all parcels and most small packages. The long-time and trustful partnership between Post of Serbia (PoS) and the Serbian Customs administration (CAS) is the basis for their collaboration on improving data quality and risk management techniques for postal traffic.

Additionally, the project tackles the gaps of the existing  Serbian Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) scheme which meets the World Customs Organisation (WCO) standards as prescribed in the SAFE Framework of Standards. Both CAS and AEO companies in Serbia, have recognised the AEO programme as beneficial. They have already put the efforts to implement the proposed benefits and to introduce the new ones. There are opportunities to optimise existing benefits guaranteed to AEO members, and to introduce new ones jointly with the CAS and AEOs.

To enhance and expand the AEO-program, companies should be able to fully realise the prespecified advantages. A precise programme design and a strengthened communication between the public and private sector will help to align expectations and overcome operational hurdles.


The planned activities in Serbia will follow-up the previous project “Pre-Arrival Processing for Express Consignments”. With this new project, the focus lies on reducing the time and costs for postal shipments. Additionally, the activities aim to fully implement the existing benefits for AEO companies in Serbia and to introduce new ones.

The project is comprised of two components:

1. Pre-Arrival Processing for Postal Shipments (PAP Postal)

  • This component follows a digital transformation strategy to remodel the postal customs clearance procedure.
  • It includes digitalisation, optimisation, and capacity building for respective processes at PoS and CAS.
  • It improves the collaboration between the PoS and the CAS on risk management.

2. Implementation of Simplifications within the AEO programme

  • The project scope is to improve the operationalization of existing benefits and extend the programme with two additional benefits (simplified declaration and deferred payment scheme)
  • This to be achieved through regular public-private dialogues between CAS and (potential) AEO companies, wider communication of the AEO programme and capacity building activities for Customs Officers and private companies.

Direct partners of the project are the CAS and the PoS. The project team also closely collaborates with the Ministry of Finance. The private sector partners will be consulted at intervals throughout the project to ensure that AEO members and e-commerce users will profit from the outcomes.


  • Reduction of the total processing time for postal customs clearance due to digitalised procedures.
  • Reduction of the items selected for physical inspections due to an effective risk management.
  • Full operationalisation of AEO benefits, thus reduction of the average total clearance time for AEO member companies and increased programme participation.

[1] See e.g. eurostat Data Browser, Global E-Commerce Growth Forecast 2022

Photo source: Fotogrin/

Relation to the Trade Facilitation Agreement

This project contributes towards the implementation of the following article of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation:

  • Article 7.1: Release and Clearance of Goods: Pre-Arrival Processing
  • Article 7.4: Release and Clearance of Goods: Risk Management
  • Article 7.7: Trade Facilitation Measures for Authorized Operators

How to get involved

Do you work for a company with international supply chains? Please contact us if you would like to learn more about the project and the German Alliance.