Freight Association welcomes HMRC’s ramped up communication with trade on new customs declarations processing system


Commenting on the recent HMRC announcement that it would be communicating with all companies involved in international trade on the most significant changes in the processing of customs declarations in 30 years, Robert Keen, director general of the British International Freight Association (BIFA) said:

“For several years, BIFA has been highlighting the issues surrounding the impending change from CHIEF, the current system used to process customs declarations to the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

“We welcome the fact that HMRC is ramping up its communication on the subject and has recognised that the introduction of new rules can be challenging; whilst showing its appreciation for all the efforts the freight forwarding industry has already made to keep goods flowing.”

Since it first met with HMRC on the matter many years ago, BIFA has pressed the government regarding clarity over implementation timelines and also the procedural changes involved.

Although BIFA has been providing significant information to its members over a lengthy period of time regarding the migration from CHIEF to CDS and the significant impact, it will now redouble its efforts to encourage them to step up their preparations.

It is also encouraging them to fully prepare their customers about the forthcoming changes, as there is much for them to do to get ready, and much more involvement for them in preparing a customs declaration.

It has also taken the initiative in regards to creating a relevant training programme that will help its members understand and implement the different working methods involved with the new system.

BIFA’s Customs Declaration Service eLearning programme was developed in conjunction with leading Customs software business, Agency Sector Management, and covers the main differences between CHIEF and the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) to enable users to submit customs declarations for exports and imports via the new system.

This has been available since October 2021 and BIFA is confident that it offers a training programme to BIFA members and others that provides cost effective, invaluable advice and information.

Keen concludes: “Whilst HMRC’s recent announcement was welcome, BIFA is emphasising to its members that they need to fully appreciate the scale of the change, the amount of additional data required, and the complexity of completing the customs declaration via the new system.

“Furthermore, we are encouraging members to step up their preparations because, according to HMRC, from September 30th, CHIEF will no longer be available for import entries.”