The New Customs Declaration Service (CDS) Explained

Online Seminar 


HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has begun a phased launch of the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). CDS is replacing the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system, with some early users submitting declarations on CDS since August 2018.

CHIEF currently processes declarations to facilitate the international movement of goods between the UK and third countries. CHIEF will continue to run for a time to aid the phased transition to CDS.

Where has CDS already replaced CHIEF 

All declarations for Great Britain-Northern Ireland (GB-NI) movements are being submitted to CDS since 1 January 2021.

Since 31 October 2021, CDS is also used for all goods movements from Rest of World (RoW) countries, i.e. countries outside of GB and EU, to NI.

When will CDS fully replace CHIEF 

With its phased implementation already on the go, CDS is further replacing CHIEF in the following stages: 

· From 30 September 2022: all import declarations will be declared on CDS

· From 31 March 2023: all export declarations will be declared on CDS 

Why CDS is replacing CHIEF

CHIEF is one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated electronic services for managing customs declaration processes, but it’s nearly 25 years old and can’t be easily adapted to new requirements.

The decision to replace CHIEF with CDS was made before the EU referendum, however CDS is scaled to handle the increases in the volume of declarations that have resulted from the UK’s exit from the EU.

If you are currently importing goods from EU or RoW countries into GB, or exporting goods from GB to EU or RoW countries, then you or your freight forwarder will be using CHIEF to:

· complete declarations for goods entering and leaving GB through ports and airports

· calculate and pay the correct duty and taxes

· complete customs information electronically

These functions will be available on CDS but there will be differences with the new service.

Now that the UK has left the EU, one of the many changes is that every movement of goods in or out of GB requires a customs declaration, as the UK is a '3rd country' from the point of view of the EU. HMRC are very clear that the accuracy of customs declarations are the responsibility of the importer or exporter and not that of their agent, who would normally be acting in the in the capacity of 'direct representative'. 

This seminar will deliver a full update on CDS.

It will feature:

  • an overview of CDS
  • a walkthrough the first type of declaration made via CDS
  • details of new information that may be required from importers, and by their freight forwarders in order to complete a declaration on their behalf

This event is essential for freight forwarders and customs agents, but also for any exporting/importing businesses that want to know more about how customs declarations are done on their behalf, and those who are considering completing their own customs declarations post-Brexit.


Our professional export training is now live online

Venue: Videoconference via Zoom

Date: 28 February 2023

Time: from 9.30am to 12.30pm

Online discounted cost: 


Regular Customers / Chamber Members £312 +VAT

Non-Regular Customers / Non-Chamber Members £342 +VAT


Please click here to reserve your place.


Click here to see our booking terms and conditions.