Businesses Prepare For Final Migration To New Customs Declaration Service For Exports

Agency Sector Management (ASM) and the British International Freight Association (BIFA) recently organised a joint webinar to help businesses with their preparations for the final migration to HMRC’s new system for handing customs declarations, the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

Steve Parker, BIFA director general said: “Around 50 percent of the trade association’s corporate members were in attendance, which demonstrates their commitment to being prepared for this latest change.”

Sharon Greer, ASM general manager said: “The seminar was organised 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.”

ASM and BIFA also highlighted an increase in the number of traders accessing Trader Dress Rehearsal (TDR), a HMRC test environment where users can practice submitting CDS export declarations, adding that those who practice in this manner are much more likely to migrate successfully.

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.”

HMRC’s timeline for migrating to CDS for inventory-linked exports requires air freight exports to begin in early February, followed by ocean in early March. Companies will be given three months from when HMRC tells them they can migrate to do so.

There will also be an exceptions process in place, but this will be subject to strict conditions.