ASM moves to allay no-deal Brexit ferry port congestion concerns

Customs clearance software provider Agency Sector Management (ASM) says that plans are in place to continue processing the current levels of imports and exports at ferry ports when the UK leaves the European Union in March.
ASM chairman Peter MacSwiney said that for imports of EU goods, the plan involves all goods being declared as a pre-lodged non-inventory linked declaration, prior to the ferry arriving in the UK.
On arrival, the trader ‘arrives’ the declaration and, only if the goods are selected for examination will the vehicle have to report to Customs.
Otherwise, the driver can carry on to their destination as they do now.
For exports, pre-lodged declarations will be required (as is currently the case for all third country exports), but for RoRo exports, these will be declared as ‘arrived’.
If the declaration receives ‘permission to progress’ (P2P) then the vehicle can proceed to the ferry as now. If selected for examination, the goods will have to be presented to Customs.
MacSwiney added that in terms of goods arriving to the EU, it was unclear as to whether there would be a requirement for an Entry Summary Declaration as is normally made for all third country goods entering the EU.
There have been concerns that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal in place allowing goods to continue moving freely, there could be huge hold ups for Road Feeder Service providers and hauliers at ferry ports as more
For airfreight this could potentially have led to increased demand as shippers look for alternative modes of transport.
MacSwiney said: “A lot has been said recently about the chaos that will ensue at Dover and other roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) ports if we leave the EU on March 29 without a deal.
“We do however understand from HMRC sources that there are plans in place for [ferry] traffic in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, and that those plans (for the UK side of the border at least) do not involve inventory systems or mandatory reporting to the frontier for either exports or imports.”
MacSwiney also disputed claims from UK Customs that its new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will be ready in time for Brexit.
The new system will replace the ageing Chief customs declaration system.
“Despite anything you may have heard, that new system is not going to be ready by the time we leave the EU,” he said.
The new system will be able to process many more declarations than the existing Chief system.
Although it was not commissioned directly in response to Brexit, it was hoped it would be in place for when the UK leaves the EU in order to process the extra documentation that could come if a trade deal has not been agreed.
It is understood the implementation of the system is taking longer than expected for various reasons and it is more likely to come online later in the year.
However, improvements to Chief have been made and it is thought this system should be able to cope with an increase in the number of declarations.
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