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November Deadline Awaits UK Exporters


CNS, a digital trade solution company, is calling on freight forwarders and customs managers to use the summer months to prepare for the imminent transition in the UK Government’s customs declaration process.

There were huge challenges in October last year following the UK Government’s deadline for traders to move from its legacy CHIEF system to its new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) for submitting import declarations. Now, CNS, a DP World company which develops digital solutions for the port and logistics sector, is urging traders to prepare themselves for 30 November 2023, when the same switch occurs for export declarations.

The challenges encountered last year have left many traders nervous about the new system, which requires additional data fields to complete an export declaration. However, CNS is advising traders to prepare themselves in advance of the deadline by testing the requirements on its specially designed CDS-compatible system.

Matthew Bradley, Managing Director at CNS emphasized the importance of adequate preparation, stating: “There are some issues like outages on the system that are impossible to prepare for, but there are a lot of issues traders are now aware of and various learnings from last year, which mean there are known steps that can and should be taken. Last year showed us that organisations that trained their staff and prepared through test environments before the deadline were far less impacted by the change in system. The broader industry should learn from this and start testing and preparing now. The repercussions of being unable to submit valid and compliant declarations include cargo delays, increased costs and frustration for customers and staff. However, affordable and user-friendly tools and solutions are readily available to help mitigate disruption. We would urge any traders dealing with export declarations to do their homework and be as prepared as they possibly can be.”

To assist traders in managing the transition and ongoing declaration submissions on the government’s CDS system, CNS developed its Customs Declarations Management System (CDMS) cloud-based solution. The solution streamlines the process of filing CDS-compliant export declarations, providing users with a secure and intuitive interface. The system is purpose-built for CDS and incorporates features to expedite data input, improve compliance, and guides users directly to the HMRC website to identify what data needs to be provided, saving input time and improving compliance.

Extensive system testing, both internally and externally, has been conducted since early 2022. In fact, the CNS product team recently celebrated 100,000 declarations through the system, demonstrating its scalability and reliability, and proving its positive impact on customer experience. Reducing the time spent on trial and error and resubmission is another critical factor. CDMS has been designed to only require the data that is needed for a specific declaration type and includes market-leading features to explain error codes in natural language.

For those users integrating their own systems with CDMS via the CDMS Application Programming Interface (API), CNS offers an instant update facility to validate commodity codes, ensuring accurate tax and duty rates, along with error diagnosis and other features.

“The feedback from customers is that our CDMS solution made their life a lot easier last October and they believe that we ultimately saved them time and money. We understand increased costs and slimming margins are always a key factor and we can’t protect against all eventualities. But the reassurance of knowing you are as prepared as you can be, may put end customers at ease and may even help you sleep better at night – which is something we think is pretty important in our extremely stressful industry,” Bradley concluded.


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