Freight Forwarders

Roadshow helps gear up UK businesses for new Customs system

Supply chain stakeholders in towns and cities across the country have been flocking to a series of seminars led by three organisations – to get UK logistics businesses up to speed on the new system for UK Customs declarations coming into force next month.

The new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) is set to replace the current system, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)’s Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF), which has been in place since 1994.

Extra seminars are now being planned for the UK-wide roadshow, which is being led by Agency Sector Management (ASM), the British International Freight Association (BIFA), and HMRC, and offers businesses support and guidance through the change.

ASM chairman, Peter MacSwiney said: “CDS is an essential upgrade to cope with an expected increase in declarations post-Brexit, which will benefit the freight forwarding sector as it continues to modernise.

“The introduction of CDS will allow HMRC to replace old technology and create a modern and more flexible service that will enable the better handling of both future changes and the increasing volumes of international trade.

“Alignment with the Union Customs Code (UCC) will enable the trade facilitations required by UK business today – with Brexit taking place next year the changes are well timed for a UK logistics sector in a stage of significant transition.

“It will allow us to tackle any fluctuations in declarations whilst at the same time being more compatible with today’s changing trade landscape.”

The roadshow provides businesses with the opportunity to fully understand and prepare for CDS, and gives the chance to ask questions and relay concerns about the new system.

Hundreds of delegates have so far attended seminars held in Warrington, Pontefract, and Loughborough, with more events scheduled in the coming weeks for Grays, London, Belfast, and Glasgow, ahead of the phased introduction of CDS in August.

MacSwiney added: “The remaining seminars for July are full to capacity and we are receiving positive feedback from the June dates, which reflects how the industry is seriously considering the way in which the changes will impact business processes.

“In view of the take up, additional events are being planned for Heathrow, Southampton, and Felixstowe in the near future.”

The first phase of CDS is set to be implemented in August, followed by the second phase in November and it will be fully functioning by January 2019.