CDS is on track to replace CHIEF

You may be aware that as of September 2022, CHIEF will be replaced by the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS), but what exactly is this and how does it affect you and your business?

Implementing a new system whilst you’re trying to arrange multiple customs entries per day can be overwhelming, but CDS will be in place for around 6 months, before CHIEF and the National Exports System (NES) close down completely.

There is a lot of information surrounding the new system and what will be changing, but we have everything you need meaning you can continue to get your goods in and out of the country with minimal interruption.

Why the move?

CHIEF has been part of the HMRC Customs process since 1992. It has been a vital part of many shipping business’ daily routine across the UK. However, technological advances mean that it has been unable to keep up any longer. CHIEF has been unable to be adapted any more than it has been over the last 20 years. A new system has been in the pipeline since 2015 and although a new systems operator was found in 2016, the system has taken 6 years to be ready for use.

The CDS is ready to handle multiple technological advances over the next few years and also keep up with the number of customs entries that are being filed on a daily basis.

It is thought that the CDS has been made with consultation of various border industry leaders to handle the rise in declarations that are needed due to Brexit.

What to do before then

There is plenty to learn about the new system, and whilst we’re sure HMRC will roll out regular manuals and training, it is a good idea to register for the system and run a few dummy entries to see what is different.

Registering for the system can be done here.

Is anything the same between both systems?

Well, no. CDS is on a completely different operating system compared to CHIEF.

CHIEF was originally paper-based and so a lot of the rules surrounding it are still based on those rules. CDS is based on data processing and integration rules, making it easier to use and navigate, but there is a lot more information needed per entry. CHIEF used to require 68 boxes to be filled in, whereas CDS has 91 Single use data elements that are required.

The new rules to complete CDS declarations can be found in the CDS Tariff which provides a full breakdown on how CDS works, the sections for import or export declarations, including inventory codes. It is worth noting that the codes for CHIEF are different from the CDS codes and therefore any entries that are used on CDS with the CHIEF codes, will be rejected and vice versa.

It’s a similar story with CPC codes – CHIEF has them as fixed 7-digit numbers that correlate to each goods item. CDS codes are split into two – a 4-digit number which is combined with a 3-digit Additional Procedure Codes (APCs) for a single item, there are 99 of these codes. This means that there are thousands of combinations for PCs/APCs depending on the goods and circumstances surrounding its entry or exit.

Any use of a mix of CHIEF and CDS codes will mean the declaration will be rejected and will need to be resubmitted with the correct information.

What does this all mean for Metoni clients?

We are currently working on getting trained up and registered ready for September so we can continue to arrange customs clearance with little to no disruption to you or your business.

Our systems are compliant with CDS, we know what information we need to get from you to arrange the declaration and that any paperwork we get is able to be stored safely and securely on our system as well as on the customs system. As our client, you do need to make sure that in CDS, we have the authority to complete customs clearances on your behalf, and we are happy to walk you through any stage of the process to ensure this is completed.

Contact us to see how we can help with your customs entries and to find out more about how the change in customs system will affect you. Call us on 0114 442 0216 or email