Date: 02.07.2020

Brexit ‘customs chaos’ looms

In June 2020, an EU Select Committee report found that frictionless UK-Ireland border through the use of technology may not be possible, as they only have the capacity to mitigate rather than to eliminate friction arising from customs checks and processes.

The new customs declaration system (CDS) has already been behind schedule, and was not ready by the time the UK left the EU in October 2019. 

The reason for the delay is that software developers have had to focus on the old Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (Chief), upgrading its processing capacity, to ensure it would be able to cope as a contingency post-Brexit.

HMRC has extended the migration timelines for moving from Chief to CDS, and will run both systems in parallel for longer than originally planned.

It is best practice to keep on top of the import declarations from 1 January, to avoid building up a big back log and compliance and administrative burden.

Metro systems can automatically create a comprehensive record of every import, to give you an accurate fiscal liability total and submit accurate declarations, when you are ready

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is intended to allow export trucks to declare goods ahead of reaching the border, allowing for smoother traffic flow, particularly at busier ports such as Dover.

However, HMRC has yet to begin the build of the IT system, MPs have been told, by the head of EU Exit at the Port of Dover. “We’re still at the stage of making sure the definition and the specification of the system is correct so it’s built with a fighting chance of doing what it’s needed to do.”

“The French customs have tested their system. They’ve done it a couple of times and established that the data flow worked. The challenge is to make sure the lorries go where they’re told to go, but there are ways of achieving that. I am certain that the GVMS system will similarly be tested, but it needs to be built before it can be tested,” he said.

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is intended to help goods flow across Britain’s borders and cut queues, but industry groups said they were only notified about the system in the past fortnight.

An 89-page consultation document circulated by the Government to trade groups said operators would have a choice of a “pre-lodgement” model – where trucks carrying goods could file their paperwork electronically away from the port – or temporary storage where there was warehouse space.

A page for detail on the import process and pre-lodgment model was left blank.

A Government spokesman said it will publish a model for new border operations next month. “We are continuing our preparations for the end of the transition period and the introduction of new border controls, including by providing £84m to grow the customs intermediary sector to encompass EU trade after 2020.

Metro’s Brexit task team are currently reviewing all processes in relation to European and global trade in line with government announcements and policy releases. We urgently recommend you contact Chris Carlile or Grant Liddell in order to avoid the consequences of being unprepared for the changes that will happen in the next 6 months.

Grant Liddell – 07817 477926