Getting Ready For CDS: The New Customs Declaration Service.

HMRC are phasing out and replacing the system that is used for the handling of Import and export declarations. 

The old system CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) has been in operation since 1994 and required significant improvements to cope with the increased entry requirements post-Brexit and beyond.  

HMRC have developed a new system called the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) which means quite a few changes for agents and traders.

The new system is aimed at providing GB with an infrastructure and IT System at the forefront of international trade. 

From 01st October 2022- All UK import Customs entries will need to be made on CDS Rather than CHIEF.

From 01st April 2023- All UK export customs entries will need to be submitted on CDS RATHER THAN CHIEF

This Means that importers and exporters must both register for the CDS system and set up the necessary payment authorizations to ensure that their cargo can still be customs cleared!

What we have done to prepare:

An intense period of testing, training and system integrity processing via the TDR (Trader Dress rehearsal System)

Purchase and Incorporation of whole new Forwarding databasing and entry software. 

BIFA training courses and attendance of HMRC webinar and information programs. 

We have ensured that we will be fully ready and that the transition will be seamless for our customers. 

If you have not yet appointed a CDS customs agent for completion of your CDS customs entries, then please contact us on 01924 377117 or

Major Changes to the system: 

There is now more data and information required on import and export entries, with changes to the coding required for clearance of import entries, more details required on all parties throughout the chain, as well as a change to the procedure codes that are used for different import and export regimes. 

Customs have changed the old system of inputting data into boxes to 8 new data elements, which means that customs want more info, more data, and more coding provided to clear your consignments. 

What this means for you:

Whilst most of the changes and complexities of the additional data and detail on customs formalities will be covered by our team when we complete the entries for you, there are some steps that will need to be taken by all importers and exporters to ensure that they too are ready for the implementation of CDS. 

Whereas now payments to customs for import vat and duties can be done without registering on CHIEF, on CDS this is no longer the case and now requires the importer/exporter to be registered: 

Please register for CDS now:

Before you start your registration, you will need the following information:

  1. Government Gateway ID and password.
  2. EORI number.
  3. UTR find your UTR .
  4. Address of your business held on customs records.
  5. National Insurance (NI) if you’re an individual or sole trader.
  6. The date you started your business.

Why Act now?

This does NOT only affect CDS Customs Declarants/Inputting agents. CDS will have impact amongst others, ALL Duty Deferment Account (DDA) holders and anybody using the current Flexible Accounting System (FAS) will need to: 

Utilize the new CDS Dashboard to manage payments to Customs beyond the 1st of October 2022. 

Anybody holding a Duty Deferment Account will need to set up a new Direct Debit Mandate to enable the use of their deferment account on CDS.

Importers will need to authorize/register the agents they wish to permit to use their Deferment account via the CDS Platform. An entry will not be accepted by CDS if the declarant does not hold a standing authority to use the importers deferment linked to their CDS platform,

For Importers using PVA (Postponed VAT Accounting):

Importers will need to use the new CDS Dashboard to download Deferment/PVA statements and VAT certificates.

For more information from HMRC please visit:

Set up a Direct Debit for a duty deferment account on the Customs Declaration Service – GOV.UK (

We are absolutely dedicated to providing the highest level of customs service and accuracy in customs and forwarding activity and have already undertaken significant steps to ensure that everything will be in place and ready for us to complete all the customs activity on CDS. 

We value your business greatly and thank you in advance for taking the time to ensure you too, have everything in place ready for when the CDS system goes live!

If you need any assistance with completion of customs entries, we can complete CDS entries at all major ports including:

  • Felixstowe
  • London Gateway
  • Tilbury
  • Immingham
  • Dover
  • Liverpool
  • Killingholme
  • Hull
  • Southampton
  • Teesport

As fully approved AEO (approved Economic Operators) we can provide:

  • a lower risk score which may reduce the number of checks customs carry out on your documents and goods
  • your consignments receiving priority treatment for customs controls
  • reduced declaration requirements for entry and exit summary declarations

The benefits can include:

  • faster clearance at the frontier
  • less interventions
  • lower risk scores

Please contact us if you require further information. 

Best Regards

Your team at GWT