Preparing for the last leg of customs migration over in the UK

The clock is ticking over the UK, as the industry prepares for the final migration to CDS (the Customs Declaration Service). This is the HMRC’s new system for the processing of customs declarations, and since the HMRC’s migration timeline for inventory-linked exports requires air freight exports to begin in early February (ocean = early March), the Agency Sector Management (ASM) and the British International Freight Association (BIFA) jointly held a webinar to help answer any questions businesses may have in preparing their migration. (Companies are given three months to migrate from the moment HMRC gives them the go-ahead. Any exceptions to this are subject to strict conditions.) Not only did a record number of traders attend the webinar, but ASM and BIFA also noted that the number of traders accessing the HMRC test environment, Trader Dress Rehearsal (TDR), had also increased. TDR allows users to practice submitting CDS export declarations, thus become better prepared for the real-life transition to the new tool.

Robert Windsor, Member Policy and Compliance Director, BIFA Image: Meantime Communications

Steve Parker, BIFA Director General, revealed: “Around 50% of the trade association’s corporate members were in attendance [at the webinar], which demonstrates their commitment to being prepared for this latest change.”

Sharon Greer, ASM General Manager, explained: “The seminar was organized to help address any concerns those members and users may still have about their readiness to complete the final switch to the new system, and to provide companies with advice and guidance about the implementation process. We have already witnessed the benefits of running sessions like these, for example following our previous CDS webinar we have seen a significant reduction in the numbers of traders leaving MUCRs unclosed – a previously common problem which was contributing to preventing a smooth migration to CDS. This highlights the importance these webinars play in providing clear guidance to those who need it.”

Robert Windsor, BIFA’s Member Policy and Compliance Director, added: “The seminar provided an important update on the final preparations businesses need to make in order to ensure that their final migration to CDS for exports is successful; and delivered indicative timelines for the implementation. It also enabled us to reiterate the message that due to the tight timelines for HMRC to de-commission CHIEF, the timeframe for its closure for export declarations will be much shorter than for imports. The key is practice. Implementation of CDS imports has shown the benefits of users spending as much time as possible in testing the new system, as well as the need to liaise with their software suppliers to ensure full connectivity with government systems.”

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