Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Freight Forwarders Welcome Delays to Implementation of Customs Declaration System

Pragmatic Decision in the Face of a Problematic Time
Shipping News Feature

UK – Relations between the country's freight forwarding community and its customs and excise authorities are, on occasion, a little stressed, not least over the concerns that all is made ready for Brexit. Now however, with the outcome of negotiations with the EU firmly on the back burner, HMRC's latest move has been warmly welcomed.

For months many forwarders have been grumbling over the introduction of a completely new system used for processing Customs declarations and now, in what is seen as a pragmatic move, HMRC has announced an extension to the implementation timetable of the new computer system, a decision praised by the forwarders foremost representatives, the British International Freight Association (BIFA).

However it is not simply the delay which is valued, but the volume and quality of information contained in the HMRC announcement, which provides advice on what business should now be doing to prepare, as Director General, Robert Keen, explained saying:

“In 2019, when HMRC announced its proposed plan for completing delivery of the new Customs Declaration System (CDS) and migrating traders from CHIEF to the new platform, we expressed the view that the timetable would be challenging. Having made further representations via the programme board seeking clarifications on behalf of our members, we are reassured to hear that it is HMRC’s intention to extend the migration timeline.

“That means that traders will not need to move from CHIEF to CDS by the end of September 2020 as originally scheduled and dual-running of both systems will continue with CHIEF remaining operational beyond 2020. Keeping dual-running in place until there is confidence that the new system is fully developed, stable and tested is a pragmatic approach that shows HMRC has been listening to BIFA’s ongoing representation on the subject.

“With the UK now outside the EU, and the transitional period underway, the development of the new core Customs Declaration System is only one part of what is now a much bigger jigsaw regarding Customs. Comprehensive and high quality information and guidance is what we have also been asking for on behalf of our members and HMRC has delivered on that request.”