The Customs Clearance Changes You Should Know About

Posted on November 18, 2022
Categorised as Freight industry news

The UK is moving towards a single customs platform, to help streamline its processes and strengthen them for the future. For 30 years, entry declarations for import and export have been processed on the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) software system. On 30th September, this system was switched off for import declarations and a new system has been implemented.

If you’re a business that’s importing via air freight, sea freight, or any moving goods via any other international shipping method, these changes will affect you.

What’s changed?

The new system used for imports is called Customs Declaration System (CDS). It is a fully electronic system and benefits from a range of different features. In contrast, the old CHIEF software was a data-processing system that was based on a paper form and required hard-copy documents to support it.

The CDS is fully compatible with the EU’s Union Customs Code and the World Customs Organisation guidelines. It requires extra information for each customer’s declaration, which means more information will need to be submitted by the freight forwarder.

Businesses that need to move goods through customs will need to submit their declaration online, through the Government website. They will need to subscribe to the Customs Declaration Service to be able to use it, including to be able to make payments. Some businesses will prefer someone else, such as their customs broker, to make the declarations themselves. In this case, they will have to select that option on their CDC account.

What do the customs clearance changes mean?

Businesses that currently have a customs VAT and duty account for CHIEF will need to set up a new payment method for CDS. The options to pay include Direct Debit, cash account and immediate payment.

For those who employ someone else to submit customs declarations, more information than was previously required may now need to be given. This includes a new method of valuing the goods, details for both the buyer and the seller, and information about any import controls for restricted goods. Whoever is responsible for submitting your declarations will be able to request the relevant details to ensure everything is collected.

If you submit your own declarations, you will need to have the correct software in place to be able to use the CDS. There is more information on the CDS section of the Government website about setting yourself up with the right software or finding a developer that can help you.

The CDS aims to make paying for customs clearance quicker and easier, helping your goods to avoid any unnecessary delays at customs. It can also provide real-time updates on your declarations and the movement of your goods.

Are there any more planned changes to customs clearance?

The current change only affects imports, with exports continuing to be processed through CHIEF. However, on 31st March 2023, the CHIEF will be switched off for exports too, and both imports and exports will need to go through the updated CDS.

This will be the last planned major change for the customs declaration process. Businesses will need to only use CDS after 31st March 2023.

PBS International is an expert freight forwarder, offering a complete range of international freight forwarding and logistics services, including assistance with customs clearance. Contact us to speak to our team about your requirements or request an international shipping quote today.

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