New UK customs declaration system: CDS

Getreadyforbrexit –Since 1 October 2022, the UK has replaced the customs declaration system CHIEF with a modern and more secure IT platform, the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). All British declarants must act now.

The replacement will take place in two phases:

  1. After the 30th of September 2022, it will no longer be possible for British declarants to use CHIEF for import declarations.
  2. After the 31st of March 2023, the export declarations via CHIEF will also be discontinued.

Support and an instructional videos page are available to help UK declarants register and operate CDS. Parties who are (partially) unable to use CDS after 30 September or to use a customs broker can apply for a short extension to use CHIEF here.

Make sure your UK counterparts are ready in time for this new declaration system. Otherwise, your cargo in the UK may be delayed. More information is available at Customs Declaration Service.

Temporary closure of Inland Border Facilities

British Embassy The Hague – The UK government announced that the Ebbsfleet, North Weald and Warrington Inland Border Facilities (IBFs) will be closed from 00:01 on 16 August until 23:59 on 19 August 2022. Please read the official communication in various languages indicating the alternative IBFs which will remain open during this period here.




Interview Mammoet Ferry: ‘Niche market that requires specific expertise’

“We are expanding our equipment because of Brexit. In a first step, we went from 400 to 485 trailers and now we are expanding to 600 trailers,” explains Paul Kruisbergen from Mammoet Ferry Transport. The operational director mentions three reasons. “First of all, we require more trailers for the same volume because of Brexit. Due to all the additional formalities, routes take longer. Furthermore, we expect to be able to achieve further growth in the traffic to the United Kingdom. In addition, we started directly serving Ireland from Rotterdam in early 2022.”

Waterbed effect towards unaccompanied transport

Brexit has had a positive impact on Mammoet Ferry Transport. Covid has also helped in that respect. “Our company only does unaccompanied transport. During Covid, we noticed a clear waterbed effect, in which cargo from the Channel routes with a lot of accompanied transport shifted to ports for unaccompanied transport.” Kruisbergen also notes that many carriers for which the United Kingdom was a by-product have exited due to Brexit. “The UK has now really become a niche market that requires specific expertise. Serving it has not become any easier. Not every carrier wants to get involved. That benefits us.” Of course, this does not happen all by itself. “We have recruited nine extra people within the organisation for the administrative processing of orders, feeding the customs systems, etc.”

Scaling up of knowledge

Mammoet Ferry Transport is part of logistics service provider NeeleVat. Through a team of 30 declarants, the company can also handle the entire customs clearance for customers. According to Kruisbergen, scaling up knowledge was the most important challenge in preparing for Brexit. “Dealing with documents was new to almost everyone. That certainly caused some problems in the first months after Brexit. Here, all data is transferred electronically via EDI messages. But ultimately, everyone needs to know what information is required for this. The biggest challenge was to update the knowledge of colleagues, customers and carriers in a short time. We have consistently endeavoured to communicate about this in a clear and straightforward manner. We want to make a difficult process as simple as possible for all parties involved. Both administratively and regarding the actual transport.”

Admission of weakness

Kruisbergen calls the UK postponement of the additional customs rules that were announced for the 1st of July 2022 a sign of weakness. “We were ready, the UK apparently wasn’t. The question is: when will they be ready? Repeated postponements make it difficult to explain to the logistics chain that it is necessary to prepare. So nine times out of ten, that happens at the very last minute.”

Rotterdam as an example

Mammoet Ferry Transport sails from Rotterdam using all ferry companies: DFDS, StenaLine, CLdN and P&O. Kruisbergen is positive about the manner in which the port has set up the required Brexit processes. “Especially the decision to organise the data exchange with all shipping lines through one single system via Portbase works very well. The United Kingdom could take Rotterdam’s approach as an example.” He would like it if the Netherlands were able to link the digital systems even further. “For example, so that the data from an export declaration can be automatically processed in the ENS (Entry Summary Declaration) and from there automatically end up in an import declaration.”

Time and attention prevent mistakes

After Brexit, Mammoet Ferry Transport was also faced with mismatches in the traffic from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands. Looking back, Kruisbergen concludes that in the initial period, Dutch Customs adopted a flexible approach in this respect. The ferry carrier has now managed to largely prevent mismatches between the manifest and the import declaration. “This is mainly due to our systems and EDI link-ups. At the front end, we have devoted a lot of time and attention to the information this requires. Now, we are really reaping the benefits of that.”

Interview Smeets Ferry: ‘Ferry transport has become a completely different game’

“The work has changed completely, with much more administration,” says director Lucien Stötefalk in response to the question as to how Brexit has impacted Smeets Ferry. “Without the correct preparations, you can no longer enter the terminal in the Netherlands and you cannot depart the terminal in the United Kingdom. Ferry transport has become a completely different game.” Smeets Ferry has hired two – three extra people for all that administration. “In this way, we ensure that our planners can continue to properly perform their planning activities.”

Speed ​​is of the essence in ferry transport. In any case, the turnover rate has decreased due to Brexit, notes Stötefalk. Smeets Ferry is compensating for this through the purchase of a hundred extra trailers, partially also to accommodate growth. “Furthermore, we have critically assessed which cargo we do and do not want to transport. We have completely stopped with groupage. The risk of delays is simply too great.”

Good information essential

Smeets Ferry does not handle customs clearance or pre-notifications via Portbase at the terminals. The company leaves that up to the customers themselves. “However, it is very important to us that the customer provides that information correctly. Customs requires that the cargo be described in a specific manner (packaging, number of packages, weight). Not doing so might result in problems, especially when importing into the Netherlands. If the data in the manifest and the import declaration do not correspond, a mismatch arises which means a lot of administrative hassle afterwards. Shortly after Brexit, this was a major issue; now, we have a minimal number of mismatches.”

“In view of the current shortage of drivers, we cannot afford for a truck and trailer to unnecessarily stand still,” continues Stötefalk. “Therefore, customers know that if they fail to provide the correct documents in a timely manner, we will uncouple the trailer and pass on the costs to them. If we notice no improvement with such a customer after a while, we part ways. Fortunately though, these are exceptions.”

Automation helps

Due to Brexit, Smeets Ferry has also continued to further automate. “Our planning board system now automatically shows when everything for a trailer has been green-lighted and it is permitted to enter or leave the terminal. Previously, we had to continuously log in to Portbase for this information and, on the British side, to Destin8. That used to take one employee 5-6 hours every day, but now this is performed automatically.”

Rapid transport via Rotterdam

All transports of Smeets Ferry to the United Kingdom run via the port of Rotterdam. Stötefalk was part of the Get Ready for Brexit project team, in which all the links in the chain joined forces in preparation for Brexit to ensure continued rapid transport via the Dutch ports. “I think that the manner in which we collaborated as the Dutch business community was quite unique.” That is not to say that everything always goes without a hitch though. “GVMS/GMR sometimes cause problems on the British side, the customer enters an incorrect or incomplete number, there is a malfunction at Customs… those situations are always tricky to solve. We need our extra people for that as well.”

By opting for Rotterdam, Smeets Ferry is spared recent problems such as those on the Dover – Calais route. “The main challenge is terminal capacity. Trailers should not unnecessarily stand still there. Otherwise, things will grind to a halt. We have emphatically encouraged the terminal to pass on costs for this, so that the customer starts moving.”

Difficult first months

Looking back, Stötefalk concludes that the first months after Brexit were difficult, but that the situation has now significantly improved. “The volumes transported were considerably lower in the initial period. Customs clearance also caused delays. After years of preparation, still not all parties were prepared yet. Thanks to the measures we have taken, we quickly managed to get thinks back on track at Smeets Ferry. With the hundred additional trailers, the total comes to 500 and we want to achieve further growth.”

Postponement of further UK customs rules until end 2023 – The United Kingdom (UK) has postponed the introduction of customs rules announced for 1 July 2022 and beyond. In concrete terms, this means that for the time being, businesses do NOT need to prepare for:

  • Mandatory security declarations for all cargo – ENS
  • Certification for most veterinary and phytosanitary cargo
  • Checks on this veterinary and phytosanitary cargo at Border Control Posts
  • Certification and checks for all dairy products
  • Certification and checks for all remaining veterinary cargo

The UK government has announced its intention to publish a new regime for import controls in autumn 2022. This will be done in a Target Operating Model. Following this, a start will be made with the implementation at the end of 2023.

You can read the official statement of the British government about the postponement here. A translation of this information for the business community can be found on

Please note! All existing customs regulations in the UK remain in force.

New approach to import controls to help ease cost of living

Cabinet office – The remaining import controls on EU goods will no longer be introduced this year, the government has announced today. Instead, traders will continue to move their goods from the European Union to Great Britain as they do now. Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, and the recent rise in global energy costs, have had a significant effect on supply chains that are still recovering from the pandemic. The government has therefore concluded that it would be wrong to impose new administrative requirements on businesses who may pass-on the associated costs to consumers already facing pressures on their finances. The change in approach is expected to save British importers at least £1 billion in annual costs.

Read the full article in the press release of the Cabinet office.

Interactive map shows potential UK Border Control Posts

Get Ready for Brexit – From 1 July 2022, the UK will start checking veterinary cargo entering the country from the EU. This will take place in designated Border Control Posts (BCPs). The preparations are in full swing, but the concrete designation of BCPs still has to take place. To help you prepare, the Major Ports Group (MPG) has published an interactive online map of the potential location of BCPs in the UK. This map is continuously updated and revised.

View the interactive map with UK Border Control Posts

No rights can be derived from the content of the map.

Additional security data (ENS) also mandatory for exports to the UK as of July 1 – From the 1st of July 2022, it will be mandatory to provide UK Customs with safety and security information in advance for all goods coming into the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union. This is done by means of a so-called Entry Summary Declaration (ENS). Such an ENS has already been mandatory for imports from the UK to the EU since the start of Brexit.

Who is responsible for submitting the ENS for exports to the UK?

The UK government has made the following subdivision for the submission of the ENS for cargo from the EU to the UK:

  • For unaccompanied transport, the ferry operator bears responsibility for the ENS
  • For accompanied transport, the transporter (or the party acting on their behalf) bears responsibility for the ENS

The British government explains all the requirements that the ENS must meet in a webinar with accompanying presentation:

Read the presentation Watch the webinar

How do the Dutch ferry operators deal with this?

Attention transporters! In practice, the above means for transport via the Dutch ferry operators:

  1. CLdN will take care of the ENS for both accompanied and unaccompanied transport. Additional security data can be provided via the booking portal. Implementation is optional from mid-May. Obligatory submission of extra security data starts 1 July.
  2. DFDS applies:
    1. For accompanied and unaccompanied transport via temporary storage, DFDS provides the ENS. Additional security data can be provided via the booking portal. Introduction will start on 1 July.
    2. For accompanied and unaccompanied transport via prelodgement, the carrier (or someone acting on his behalf) is responsible for the ENS. As a carrier you will have to fill in extra security data in GVMS as from 1 July.
  3. P&O Ferries applies:
    1. For unaccompanied transport via temporary storage, P&O Ferries provides the ENS. Additional security data can be provided via the booking portal. Information on optional introduction will follow. Obligatory submission of extra security data starts 1 July.
    2. For accompanied and unaccompanied transport via prelodgement, the carrier (or someone acting on his behalf) is responsible for the ENS. As a carrier you are required to fill in extra security data in GVMS as of 1 July.
  4. Stena Line applies:
      1. For unaccompanied transport via temporary storage, Stena Line provides the ENS. Stena Line is already asking you for the required extra security data via the booking portal.
      2. For accompanied or unaccompanied transport via prelodgement, the transporter (or someone acting on his behalf) is responsible for the ENS. As a carrier, you must then fill in extra security data in GVMS as of 1 July.


Ferryoperator Unaccompanied transport
via temporary storage
Unaccompanied transport
via prelodgement
Accompanied transport
via temporary storage
Unaccompanied transport
via prelodgement
1. CLdN ENS via ferry operator ENS via ferry operator ENS via ferry operator ENS via ferry operator


ENS via ferry operator ENS via transporter (or someone acting on his behalf) ENS via ferry operator ENS via transporter (or someone acting on his behalf)
3. P&O Ferries


ENS via ferry operator ENS via ferry operator not applicable ENS via transporter (or someone acting on his behalf)
4. Stena Line


ENS via ferry operator ENS via transporter (or someone acting on his behalf) ENS via ferry operator ENS via transporter (or someone acting on his behalf)


Please consult the websites of the ferry operators for more information.

Important for transporters! Pre-lodgement model requires notification in GVMS prior to departure – For cargo that you are transporting to the UK conform the pre-lodgement model, you as a transporter must always take action before you proceed to the Dutch ferry terminal. This is what you need to do:

  • In the British Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), you must link the declaration made in the UK to your trailer. You do this using the MRN(s) provided to you by the UK importer or their representative.
  • You specify the Goods Movement Reference (GMR) that is subsequently generated by GVMS when you make your ferry booking. Only if the ferry terminal has the GMR when your trailer arrives can your cargo continue without delay following its arrival in the UK.

Read here how you can obtain a GMR for each shipment 

One-time registration in GVMS
In order to be able to use GVMS for pre-lodgement shipments, you must submit a one-time registration as a carrier with the British government.

Convenient help for proper use GVMS
The British government offers various convenient manners to help you on your way with GVMS.

Inspection in the UK yes or no
Before arriving in the UK, you can easily check whether your cargo is subject to inspection via this convenient website of the UK government. All you need to do is fill in the GMR of your cargo. One click and you know where you stand. If inspection is indeed required, the website, which is available in thirteen languages, will also help you on your way.

UK government also helps you on your way! – Like the Dutch government, the British government is also making every effort to optimally inform you about all the new requirements that are applicable to transport to and from the United Kingdom.

Keep business moving website
Lots of up-to-date information about the current and future rules for import and export in the UK is available at the UK government website Keep business moving.

24/7 Gov.UK Helpline for Urgent Border Crossing Issues
Is your cargo stuck at the border? For urgent enquiries, you can call the UK Customs Helpline (HMRC) 24/7: +44 300 322 9434, option 1.

For all other questions regarding imports into the UK – including registration in the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS) or obtaining a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) – the helpline number is +44 300 322 9434, available Monday to Friday from 08:00 until 22:00 and on weekends from 08:00 to 16:00.

Handbook for carriers
Through a Handbook for Carriers the UK government provides transport companies with a comprehensive reference guide detailing the rules for all different types of RoRo transport (accompanied and unaccompanied) between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Further options for questions
The British government (Gov.Uk) offers several ways to ask your questions. See the overview here.