‘New customs law hinders Swiss parcel delivery’

‘New customs law hinders Swiss parcel delivery’

The customs legislation in Switzerland is undergoing a major overhaul. The legislative amendment, approved by the National Council, could have significant implications for parcel delivery in Switzerland. Critics anticipate that it will become slower, more complicated, and more expensive.

The new law, dubbed a ‘monster’ by some Swiss politicians, states that importers and exporters can decide themselves who is responsible for customs clearance of parcels. They can either handle the clearance themselves or delegate it to consumers.

Additional work

In the latter case, online shoppers would need to provide additional documents to receive a package from, for example, market leader Zalando, such as a tracking number, customs reference, shipment weight, contents information, and a copy of the invoice. Delivery companies will also have to perform additional tasks regarding sorting and storing parcels, inevitably leading to significant delays. According to the new law, they are not allowed to pass on the additional costs to the customer.


Opponents of the legislative amendment, including Swiss Post and various politicians, fear that parcel delays in Swiss ecommerce could extend to several days. They also argue that the new customs rules will not reduce bureaucracy, as intended, but rather increase it. Meanwhile, freight forwarders and other logistics companies are concerned about the practical feasibility of the legislative amendment, fearing additional administrative burdens and duplicated work.

Logistics companies fear extra burdens and double work.

Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter warns of the consequences of implementing the new customs law: “The flow of goods could come to a halt because parcels would need to be temporarily stored until it is clear who will declare the goods.”


With the change of law being passed by a large majority in the National Council, critics are now pinning their hopes on the Ständerat, the other chamber of the Swiss federal parliament. It may reconsider the issue before the law change is definitively enacted.



Arjan van Oosterhout has been contributing to Ecommerce News Europe since the spring of 2023. He writes news articles for the website on a freelance basis.

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