Border Controls Photo 184890804 © Amani A
© Amani A

Community system providers (CSPs) will “become irrelevant” once the switch to the new UK Customs Declaration System (CDS) is made, saving importers and exporters thousands a year, according to industry insiders.

Customs declaration services are set to switch from the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system (CHIEF) to CDS on 1 October.

Currently, CSPs act as intermediaries to give ports relevant information about the movement of containers.

A source told The Loadstar CSPs required companies moving cargo in and out of UK ports to pay an upfront cost to access the platform, as well as a quarterly service fee, describing the first year of service to come to around £2,500 ($3,010). Then, users pay around £143 to access the system per port, per quarter.

However, the forwarder source said: “There is seemingly no move by HMRC and the DTI to remove the CSP system. On 1 October, it looks as though companies wishing to import goods to the UK will still be paying fees for a software system that is no longer needed.”

Metro Shipping told The Loadstar there were three companies providing CSP services: Maritime Cargo Processing; Community Network Services; and the CCS-UK Cargo Community User Group (CCS).

CHIEF was an excellent software package for its time, Customs4trade (C4T) founder and president Pieter Haesaert told The Loadstar. But a forwarder said the system was not intelligent enough to provide the full information required by ports without the help of CSPs, the new CDS system will not have this problem.

C4T offers a service to move companies from CHIEF to CDS and Mr Haesaert told The Loadstar, “I think we should rethink the role of the CSPs.”

Meanwhile, HMRC has been pushing companies to make the software switch in good time before the deadline, and 77% of all declarations are now live on CDS.

According to C4T, 225 of the 248 larger companies that move 77% of the freight, have already moved to CDS, but only 500 of the 3,000 smaller operators have done so, with a further 400 having made a start by registering.

That means more than 2,000 companies need to take the CDS training programme, which can take up to three weeks, meaning they must start by the first week of September to be ready.

“In addition to these two critical groups, there are some 15,000 importers with direct debit accounts for the payment of import duty that HMRC says need to adapt to CDS.  They are also being contacted,” said Mr Haesaert.

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.