Tuesday, November 2, 2010

UKWA Speak Out On European Excise Freight Movement

New System Needs More Testing to Avoid Potential Problems
Shipping News Feature

UK – Europe – The United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) believes that the introduction of the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) which has been developed to capture and process information relating to all movements of excise goods in duty suspension within the European Union, has the potential to paralyse the shipment of such freight around the UK and throughout Europe.

EMCS is a computer system which will link over 150,000 traders in 27 national administrations across the EU. . It has been developed to capture and process information relating to all movements of excise goods in duty suspension within the European Union. It replaces the current paper Administrative Accompanying Document (AAD) and paper W8 for intra UK duty suspended movements.

In theory, from January 1 next year, EMCS will capture and process AAD information online, validate data and allow real time notification of dispatch and receipt of duty suspended excise goods. Authorised warehouse keepers, Registered Consignors, Registered Consignees and Temporary Registered Consignees will exchange messages online containing specific consignment and movement information with their trading counterparts throughout the EU. This means all traders must use EMCS for the movement of duty suspended excise goods within the EU from January 1 2011.

According to the UKWA the Customs authorities have left far too little time for a thorough testing of the system before it goes live. Testing has been scheduled to commence 20th December, hardly the best time of year with the intervention of the Christmas holiday period when many traders, freight forwarding agents etc will not be fully staffed. The UKWA feel this will be too little time to check the readiness of the UK to channel EMCS messages.

Furthermore, with each EU Member State charged with developing its own national EMCS application system (which will be linked to all other Member States through a central domain, maintained by the European Commission) doubts remain over the preparedness of some other countries whose processes may not be ready for the inception of the convention.

Roger Williams, UKWA’s chief executive officer, commented:

“It seems incredible that with the wide variety of participants affected by such a fundamental change to the way excise business is done across the EU, we strongly feel that a longer testing period is needed to ensure that any problems with the system are addressed before the go live date.

"While we are assured by HMRC that the project is on course, it doesn’t require great foresight to envisage a situation where the movement of excise goods around the EU or parts of the EU would be rendered virtually impossible if the system does not function properly. We would urge the HMRC to consider delaying the launch of EMCS to such time as it is clear that any ‘glitches’ in the system have been addressed.”