European Imports and Exports are Changing

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

If you import or export freight to or from Europe, custom declaration processes are changing. The UK customs declaration service has announced that the previously used Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system is being replaced by the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

In order to avoid disruptions and delays of imports, it is important that you familiarise yourself with the new system and the new requirements. Although the transition from CHIEF to CDS for exports will be delayed until March 2023, you should already be following the below steps.

What You Need to Do

To ensure that your goods can be imported and exported without interruption, Acclaim strongly recommends that you familiarise yourself with the CDS HM Revenue & Customs guidelines highlighted below:

Register for a Government Gateway account

Many businesses will already have a Government Gateway account to access their personal or business tax account. You should use this account to access the Customs Declaration Service (CDS).

If you do not have one, here is a link.

You must have an EORI number

Nearly all businesses moving goods in and out of the UK already have an EORI Number. If you don’t have one, please apply using this link EORI.

Register for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS)

Click this link Customs Declaration Service to register. This process can take up to 5 working days.

You’ll need your Government Gateway user ID and password as well as:

–  Your GB EORI number

– Your Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number. This will help you locate it.

– Address of your business held on customs records

– Your National Insurance number (if you’re an individual or sole trader)

– The date you started your business

Paying VAT and Duty

If your customs agent is paying your VAT & Duty on your behalf and then invoicing this back to you, nothing will change to this method.

If you are accounting for VAT using PVA (Postponed VAT Accounting) you will need to access your statement via the Customs Declaration Service. There are other methods than can be used to pay your VAT and Duty, they are listed below. You can view your balance and payments in the Customs Declaration Service Financial Dashboard, as well as grant and amend standing authorities for your payment accounts.

Using your Own Duty Deferment Account

You will need to make sure you have completed a new direct debit instruction as the Customs Declaration Service uses a separate HMRC bank account to CHIEF, as well as re-authorising Transland to use your deferment account. This is done in the Customs Declaration Service Finance Dashboard.

Other Payment Methods

Cash account – The current Flexible Accounting System will be replaced with new cash accounts for Customs Declaration Service declarations. You can use your cash account to pay duties due for your goods when you make your declaration.

Immediate payment You’ll need the Customs Declaration Service Immediate (CDSI) reference number that you were given when you made your declaration. It will begin with the letters ‘CDSI’, followed by 12 numbers and letters.

For more detailed information on the key differences between CHIEF and the CDS, you can visit the official HM Revenue & Customs website.

Further Enquiries About the CDS System

We highly encourage clients to reference the above steps to ensure that your imports and exports are declared to customs correctly and not held at customs, delaying your shipments.

If you have any further questions regarding CHIEF or CDS, our team will be happy to assist you and address your queries. Contact us at or give us a call 023 8086 0722.

About Us

Established in 1993, Acclaim Logistics is an independently owned and managed freight carrier, with a fleet of over 40 vehicles and a large network of approved international freight forwarders. We offer a range of domestic and international distribution services, ranging from same day deliveries to full artic loads, and are members of both of the Palletways and Palletline pallet networks.

To join our team or enquire about our logistics services, contact us on: 023 8086 0722 or email: