HM Revenue and Customs
LID 84188685 © Chris Dorney |

Forwarders say the latest delay in the new UK customs system for exports coming online was a lack of connectivity and not “a response to industry feedback”.

One forwarder claimed last week’s announcement from HMRC of a phased adoption of the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) for UK exports was “forced” upon it.

“It claims its decision came after listening to industry feedback, but I would respectfully suggest otherwise,” the forwarder told The Loadstar.

“It is, instead, in response to [the slow] development of a sound operating system for the inventory-linked locations [ports and airports with systems linked to HMRC] that forced its hand.

“There are still issues of operating through non-inventory locations, but these appear to have been addressed and are now well into beta testing.”

With an effective system in place, the capacity for industry to migrate from the current platform, Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF), would be possible.

CDS replaced CHIEF as the mandatory UK import platform at the end of November last year, but then only after a 10-month delay.

One Customs source said Whitehall’s “obsession with hard deadlines” meant systems were going live before industry was either able to use them or they were capable of handling the scale of customs entries.

Sources have said for the better part of seven years that successive ministers had “failed to properly engage in understanding how UK supply chains work”, instead “opting to dispense policy based on logic without practice”.

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