Delegates at seminars held this week were told that whilst HMRC’s CHIEF computer system for submitting customs declarations in the UK has served the trade well in the quarter century since it was introduced in 1994, now is the time to move on. Speaking about its impending replacement, delegates were advised that Customs Declaration Service (CDS) would redefine the relationship between forwarders and customers. In effect the sector is moving from a transaction-based system that calculated duty, VAT and other taxes to a customs management system that creates a comprehensive trade facilitation environment. The seminar was one of a series ahead of August's phased launch of the CDS, arranged jointly by Agency Sector Management (ASM), the British International Freight Association (BIFA), and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) designed to offer advice and guidance to businesses affected by the implementation of the new CDS system. The seminars have been jointly arranged by the above mentioned organisations in response to concerns about the readiness of the new system, and to provide companies with the opportunity to fully understand what CDS is, why it is being introduced in a phased manner over a period of time, what the most significant changes are and how these will impact their businesses. As Robert Keen, Director General of BIFA noted “The fact that all seven seminars are oversubscribed shows that our members realise that the move over to CDS marks the biggest change to impact the processes by which Customs declarations are managed since the introduction of CHIEF, which it replaces.” Peter MacSwiney Chair of ASM added “It’s also important for forwarders to engage with their software suppliers and to carry out a review of what changes may be needed. Last, but by no means least, consider what training your staff will need to be able to use the new system successfully.” About BIFA The British International Freight Association (BIFA) represents UK companies engaged in the international movement of freight by all modes of transport. A not-for-profit organisation, BIFA is funded by subscription and run by its members for members. It operates with a full-time Secretariat, which administers and manages the Association’s affairs. BIFA provides an effective and proactive organisation dedicated to improving standards of professionalism within the logistics and supply chain industry.