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CDS - Customs Declaration Service 


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) began a phased launch of the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) in August 2018.

The paperwork you receive will be totally different to what you currently see, CDS replaces the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, with all declarations taking place on CDS from early 2019, the C88's & E2 prints will be no more.

(CHIEF processed declarations to facilitate the international movement of goods between the UK and the rest of the world)

Why did CDS replace CHIEF?

CHIEF is one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated electronic services for managing customs declaration processes, but it’s nearly 25 years old and can’t be easily adapted to new requirements.

The decision to replace CHIEF with CDS was made before the EU referendum, however CDS will be scaled to handle the increases in the volume of declarations made that have resulted from the UK’s exit from the EU, initial estimates of nearly 255 million declarations!

CDS Customs Declaration Service

How has this affected importers and exporters?

If you import or export goods outside the UK, your agent used to use CHIEF to process your paperwork, calculate & pay taxes due, all done electronically.


When CDS was introduced, the largest change was in the amount of information (data) that we required from businesses in relation to the declaration, this extra information is of paramount importance for preparing and submitting the correct information to HMRC and other government departments, if your agent is not asking you for this then beware, chances are your legal paperwork is not being completed correctly, the responsibility for this lays solely with you so be warned.

**Important note to new & existing customers **

CDS came into effect and has caught many agents and forwarders out, some are STILL not ready and are processing paperwork the old way with HMRC extensions, very unprofessional. 

Most have staff who are still now trained to understand why this information is being requested and where it should be placed in the new system. 

This will slow down your freight and clearance times and may even make you non compliant - if you have received a letter telling you this your agent is still in the dark ages.

We were primed and ready to handle this switch as far as we could have been and were in a position to take care of our current customer base to ensure they were not effected by this change and any disruption would have been small and short lived.

Due to the increased workload it has been decided that We will only be adding a small number of new customers, if you are unsure how your current agent

or forwarder will handle this new system then now is the time to ask questions, if the answers are not swift and forth coming then now is also the time to talk

to us.

Be ready - Act now!

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