CDS to replace CHIEF and NES system by 2023

HMRC has confirmed that the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system will fully close on 31 March 2023.


CDS to replace CHIEF and NES system by 2023

The Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will replace CHIEF and supports the UK’s trade with the EU and the rest of the world as well as movements of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  CDS is currently used for Northern Ireland and Rest of World declarations and has already processed more than one million declarations since it went live in 2018.

CDS is a key part of the government’s plans for a world-leading fully digitised border that will help UK businesses to trade and to prosper... This announcement will provide clarity for traders and the border industry. We are committed to making the switch-over as smooth as possible and are working to ensure traders are fully supported with the new processes.

Sophie Dean and Katherine Green Directors General for Borders and Trade at HMRC

Phased closure brings the end of an era

CHIEF has been the UK government’s system for customs entries for nearly 30 years. CHIEF will finally be closed in two phases:

  • On 30 September 2022, it will no longer be usable for import declarations
  • On 31 March 2023, export declarations will close on the CHIEF and the National Exports System (NES)

The government has already written to industry bodies confirming the changes, saying the migration is “critical to the long-term flow of trade, offering flexibility to accommodate future improvements to imports and exports”.

The upgrade to CDS is also a requirement for the UK to be compliant with the Northern Ireland Protocol and to operate a dual UK and EU trade tariff – which CHIEF had not been set up to do.

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