Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Changes to UK Computer Initiated Customs Declarations Welcomed by the Professionals

Adoption of New System on Track at Last
Shipping News Feature

UK – It seems the clarification by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) this week as to the way forward with regard to the introduction of a new computer system to replace an existing system used for processing Customs declarations has been warmly welcomed by the people it affects most.

With the British International Freight Association (BIFA) representing the bulk of the nation’s reputable freight forwarding agencies, its view was always going to be paramount, and BIFA Director General, Robert Keen was unhesitant in expressing his organisation’s position, saying:

“Our members will be pleased with the clarity that is being provided following HMRC’s announcement that the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will serve as the UK’s single customs platform from 31 March 2023 ending the current period of dual-running that has been operating with the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, which CDS is designed to replace.

“Over many years since the original announcement that CDS would replace CHIEF, BIFA has made representations with the programme board on behalf of the trade association’s members. In 2019, when HMRC announced its proposed plan for completing delivery of CDS and migrating traders from CHIEF to the new platform, we expressed the view that the timetable would be challenging.

“Last year, we expressed our pleasure at HMRC’s intention to extend the migration time line. Today’s announcement suggests that there is confidence that the new system is fully developed, stable and tested and we will now be working with our members to ensure that they are fully prepared for the new implementation schedule.”

With a definitive deadline in place, BIFA has taken the initiative in regards to creating a relevant training programme that will help its members understand and implement the different working methods involved with the new system. Keen concludes:

“We are putting the finishing touches to the course, which will be available in the Autumn and are confident that it will offer a training programme to BIFA members and others that will provide cost effective and invaluable advice and information.”

BIFA’s Customs Declaration Service - eLearning programme has been developed in conjunction with Customs software business, Agency Sector Management (ASM), and will cover the main differences between CHIEF and CDS to enable users to submit customs declarations for exports and imports via the new system.

Photo: Image courtesy of the Port of Dover.