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From September 2022, HMRC’s CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) platform will be wound down and replaced by the CDS (Customs Declaration Service). Portico’s experienced customs agency team are ready to help you with the migration.

CDS has been developed over several years, in consultation with the border industry. The ambition is to provide a more secure and stable platform that has the capacity to grow, taking account of the increase in declarations following the UK’s departure from the European Union.

It is also more streamlined than CHIEF, with additional features which will make imports and exports easier for UK businesses.

Here at Portico, we have been working closely with HMRC to understand the changes, and to ensure our staff are trained ready for the move from CHIEF to CDS.

Daphne Comber, customs agency manager at Portico said: “We’ve already helped hundreds of businesses with the new UK-EU trade arrangements, and we’re ready to help them on the next stage of the journey as we move over to CDS.

“Our team are fully prepared for the new system, so we’d encourage businesses to make contact with us now in advance of the 30 September. We can guide you through the process ready for a seamless transition, meaning you can keep trading with no interruptions.”

Ahead of the closure of CHIEF on 31 March 2023, the platform will be wound down in two stages:

  • 30 September 2022: Import declarations close on CHIEF
  • 31 March 2023: Export declarations close on CHIEF / National Exports System (NES)

What can I do to prepare?

All UK importers & exporters need to register for CDS through their own Government Gateway portal. This needs to be completed as soon as possible & will allow you to:

  • Get your postponed VAT statements & import VAT certificates
  • Make payments
  • Set up, or change, an intermediary or agent

Sign-up to the Customs Declaration Service – GOV.UK (

What else do I need to know?

Payment methods are also changing.

  • FAS (Flexible Accounting System) is being replaced by CDS Cash Accounts. Once registered with CDS you will automatically be issued with a cash account. You will be able to pay funds directly into your cash account and authorise an agent to act on your behalf.
  • CDS uses a separate HMRC bank account to CHIEF for duty deferment accounts, therefore new CDS Direct Debit Instruction (DDI) is required. Importers who have their own deferment account must set up a ‘Standing Authority’ on their CDS account. This enables your clearing agent to use the deferment account on your behalf.

As an experienced customs agent Portico Customs Agency are able to help with any questions or assistance you may need with the move from CHIEF to CDS.  If you need support, please contact our expert team who can help by emailing or calling 023 9289 0600, then option 4.