UK customs offers continued use of CHIEF in urgent cases

Photo: Jaromir Chalabala/ Shutterstock

UK customs (HMRC) will allow companies to continue using the CHIEF declaration system if they have a valid reason beyond the planned switchover date.

The existing CHIEF declaration system will be switched over to the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) on September 30, but HMRC said that companies will given the opportunity to continue using the existing system if they have a clear business reason, which prevents the declaration being made via CDS.

The move was welcomed by UK forwarder association BIFA and software firm Agency Sector Management (ASM).

Peter MacSwiney, chairman of ASM, added: “We felt that the state of readiness across all parties in the supply chain, from Customs intermediaries through to traders, was not sufficiently advanced to ensure a smooth transition.

“There was concern that if CHIEF was actually turned off there would not be sufficient numbers of CDS-ready organisations to prevent serious cargo backlogs at air and seaports.”

Robert Keen, director general of the BIFA, said: “In 2019, when HMRC announced its proposed plan for completing delivery of the new CDS, and migrating traders from CHIEF to the new platform, we expressed the view that the timetable would be challenging.

“In the intervening period, BIFA has worked very closely with ASM, as well as the Community Service Providers (CSPs), through our Customs Policy Group and roles within the Joint Customs Consultancy Committee (JCCC), to represent the views of BIFA members and others that submit Customs declarations to HMRC.

“Having made further representations via the programme board seeking clarifications on behalf of our members, we are reassured to hear that it is HMRC’s intention to allow CHIEF badge holders to apply for a discretionary extension, which will give all concerned a further short grace period to finalise their transition and for software developers to complete their system development.

“But, the important thing to remember is that that this discretionary period is short and designed to facilitate those traders who are close to, but have not fully migrated to CDS. So anyone with their head in the sand over transition from CHIEF to CDS really needs to act fast.”

In August, HMRC warned that 3,500 companies have yet to register for its new import system and could lose the ability to import goods.

UK customs says 3,500 firms face losing ability to import

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]