Times up CHIEF!

The CHIEF system is no longer available for exports and its retirement signifies a completion of the phased roll-out of the implementation of CDS.


CHIEF will be completely redundant after March 30th, 2024

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system will be completely redundant after March 30th, 2024 for UK-based businesses engaged in exports. That's the official date when the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) becomes the only platform for processing all export declarations.

CDS has been running since 2018 and is already being used for making import declarations when moving goods into the UK. The service will replace the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service, representing a significant upgrade by providing businesses with a more user-friendly, streamlined system that offers greater functionality.


This marks a significant change for UK businesses involved in exporting goods.

  • All customs declarations are now under one platform (CDS) for streamlined processing.
  • Both exporter and freight forwarder can track the status of declarations in real-time, improving transparency and coordination.
  • It presents opportunities for a more efficient and streamlined export process for UK businesses.


Spatial Global have been using CDS since it was first introduced

We're ready and prepared for the final stage in the transition from CHIEF to CDS for exports and we're ready for the switch. If you are a business who exports and have any concerns about the transition from CHIEF to CDS for exports on the scheduled date of March 30th, 2024. Then feel free to get in touch for some expert advice.


Here's a breakdown of the key actions required:

1. Understand CDS and its functionalities:

Familiarise yourself with the CDS platform and its interface. HMRC provides comprehensive guidance and training resources on their website.  Learn about the new processes and requirements for submitting export declarations through CDS. This includes understanding data formats, declaration types and any specific documentation needed.


2. Update software and systems:

Ensure your existing customs software is compatible with CDS. Contact your software provider to confirm updates or compatibility checks. If you use manual processes for declarations, prepare to transition to the online CDS platform.


3. Data migration and record keeping:

Migrate any essential data from CHIEF to CDS, such as historical records, templates or product codes. HMRC provides tools and guidance to assist with this process. Establish a system for record-keeping within CDS to maintain accurate and accessible data for future reference.


4. Communication and collaboration:

Communicate clearly with your freight forwarder, if you use one, regarding their preparedness for CDS and how responsibilities for declarations will be divided. Discuss potential changes in data exchange and communication protocols with your business partners and stakeholders involved in the export process.


5. Adapt internal processes and workflows:

Review and potentially adjust your internal procedures for handling export declarations to align with the CDS requirements. Train your staff on using the CDS platform and new export declaration processes.


6. Stay informed and seek support:

Keep yourself updated on the latest developments regarding CDS and the transition process through HMRC announcements and industry news.


Don't hesitate to seek support from HMRC or the Spatial Global Freight Team if you encounter any difficulties or have questions.

We're committed to supporting exporting businesses through this transition and helping UK exporters to ensure a smooth and successful shift to CDS so you can continue your export operations efficiently.

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