Customs Declarations – The Challenge

20 July 2020


Currently, only UK businesses exporting to and importing from outside the EU need to complete customs declarations. At the end of the “transition period” on the 31 December 2020, the volume of customs declarations is expected to increase by almost 500%, to 255 million per year. As 50% of UK firms who export and import only trade with the EU at present, it is estimated that more than 200,000 businesses will need to complete customs declarations for the first time, and get to grips with tariff classification numbers, customs valuation, customs procedures and more.

In the context of a rapidly changing trade environment - Brexit, the resulting exponential growth in imports and exports, and the implementation of the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS, the replacement for CHIEF) - ChamberCustoms has been developed to provide quality of service, full assurance, and transparency of costs to traders.

Trained and ready

Qualifying as a certified customs broker requires many hours of intensive accredited training, adding up to weeks in total. Our dedicated ChamberCustoms service manager Ioanna Orfanidi is authorised to complete export and import declarations and has been fully trained to understand and correctly use the 98-chapter Trade Tariff, comprising thousands of unique classification code numbers, and over 420 customs procedure codes.

Three essential tips

  • If you’re not going to outsource this, then create a dedicated compliance department within your organisation, to handle customs-related matters effectively. Many companies try to leave the compliance function to non-specialists (logistics, shipping or even finance!). A focussed specialist or team should enable you to avoid serious fines and disruptions, caused by non-compliance.
  • Grab hold of the HMRC Customs Grant Scheme opportunity, for which the UK government recently announced an additional funding of £50 million. This scheme allows businesses to get a full refund for customs procedures training costs, up to £2,500 per trainee per training course. This is an enormous help offered for businesses to best prepare ahead of Brexit.
  • Because customs and compliance work is so technically complex, I recommend businesses that are new to international trade (or who don't have long-term experience in compliance-related matters) should always seek advice from experts in order to avoid unnecessary costs and delays, and ensure their international transactions are processed smoothly.


From trusted trade specialists Chamber International, ChamberCustoms is a fully-managed customs declaration service for UK importers and exporters, and is available to both direct to businesses and through UK freight forwarders, ensuring that customs clearance is accurate, timely, and avoids additional costs through delays or errors. 

With direct links to the HMRC Customs handling system and all inventory-linked ports, we can ensure that your goods, no matter where they enter or leave the UK, will be cleared for onward transportation smoothly.

ChamberCustoms delivers:

  • The highest level of compliance and assurance for exporters and importers
  • Confidence on tariff and data entry to remove fiscal risk, backed by the technical expertise of Chamber International
  • A wealth of international trade experience and expertise

By Ioanna Orfanidi (pictured right), Customs Broker at Chamber International. 

Contact us for further details and enquiries.


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    Ioanna Orfanidi – Customs Administrator