One Month Left for Importers to Move to Single Customs Platform

Customs Handling Import and Export Freight

Published Aug 30, 2022 2:05 PM by The Maritime Executive

Businesses importing goods only have a matter of weeks left to move across to the UK’s new streamlined customs system.

Import declarations must be submitted through the new Customs Declaration Service from 1 October this year when it takes over from the Customs Handling Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system for import declarations.

HMRC is writing to all declarants and traders affected by the change to urge them to access the help available now and move to the Customs Declaration Service.

Businesses with customs agents should check they are ready to use the Customs Declaration Service. Those without a customs agent must set themselves up to make their own declarations using software that works with the system.

Julie Etheridge, Director of Programme and Operational Delivery for Borders and Trade at HMRC said:

“There is only a month left until businesses must use Customs Declaration Service for imports. Businesses who are still waiting to move need to start the process now or face possible disruption to their business. 

“Those concerned about moving across to the Customs Declaration Service should work with a customs agent who is ready to use the system and can make declarations on their behalf.”  

The Customs Declaration Service was launched in 2018 and import declarations when moving goods into the UK have been made through it since then. The service will replace the 30-year-old CHIEF system, representing a significant upgrade by providing businesses with a more user-friendly, streamlined system which offers greater functionality.

This marks the first step towards the government’s vision of a Single Trade Window, which will have considerable benefits for businesses through reduced form-filling, better data use across government and a smoother experience for users. 

To help all businesses and agents prepare for the Customs Declaration Service, declarants are being contacted by phone and email to inform them of steps they need to take. Further information is available on GOV.UK, including a Customs Declaration Service toolkit and checklists, which break down the steps traders need to take. Traders can also register or check they have access to the Customs Declaration Service on GOV.UK and access live customer support services for additional help.

There is more information about using the Customs Declaration Service on GOV.UK.


  • Businesses who make import declarations from inventory linked ports should use Community System Providers systems. You can find updated guidance to ensure imported good are not delayed at ports. 
  • CHIEF will close for export declarations on 31 March 2023, with businesses being required to use the Customs Declaration Service to send goods out of the UK. 

The products and services herein described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.