Since being introduced in 1994, HMRC’s CHIEF computer system for submitting customs declarations in the UK has served the trade well in the quarter century; however, as delegates at seminars held last week were told, it is time to move on onto the next chapter.
Delegates were advised that Customs Declaration Service (CDS) would redefine the relationship between forwarders and customers. In effect, the sector is moving from a transaction-based system that calculated duty, VAT and other taxes to a customs management system that creates a comprehensive trade facilitation environment.
The seminars are part of a series ahead of August’s phased launch of the CDS, arranged jointly by Agency Sector Management (ASM), the British International Freight Association (BIFA), and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). The seminars were designed to offer advice and guidance to businesses affected by the implementation of the new CDS system.
Created as a response to concerns about the readiness of the new system, the seminars provide companies with the opportunity to fully understand what CDS is, why it is being introduced in a phased manner over a period of time, what the most significant changes are and how these will impact their businesses.
“The fact that all seven seminars are oversubscribed shows that our members realise that the move over to CDS marks the biggest change to impact the processes by which Customs declarations are managed since the introduction of CHIEF, which it replaces,” said Robert Keen, Director General of BIFA.
Peter MacSwiney, Chair of ASM also added: “It’s also important for forwarders to engage with their software suppliers and to carry out a review of what changes may be needed. Last, but by no means least, consider what training your staff will need to be able to use the new system successfully.”
The British International Freight Association (BIFA) represents UK companies engaged in the international movement of freight by all modes of transport. A not-for-profit organisation, BIFA is funded by subscription and run by its members for members.