Freight News

ERTS consensus is elusive

[ November 14, 2012   //   ]

Operators don’t seem able to agree on how future Customs controls for goods moving to Enhanced Remote Transit Sheds (ERTS) should work, says freight software firm ASM, following a recent survey.

ERTS issues clearly continue to divide the freight community as feedback from its recent ERTS Survey shows both approval and disapproval of the proposed solution.

ASM surveyed all ERTS operators on its database, outlining a proposed solution and asking operators for their responses as part of ongoing discussions with HM Revenue and Customs to agree an auditable mechanism to establish when goods are entered and discharged from the transit system.

ASM chairman Peter MacSwiney said that while he was not surprised that opinion was divided, there were “some emphatic points of agreement”, namely the need to avoid anything that increases workload or delays the clearance of freight, and that any solution should be electronic, not manual. He added: “Overall views also reinforced the position that although the current ‘recognised’ and ‘flexible’ rules have been in place for some time, there is little evidence of widespread tax and duty evasion.”

Customs maintain that though the current system will not stand up to a full EU audit, “so it is clear that change is coming,” he pointed out. But those devising a new solution also needed to recognise that the EU would bring in new customs legislation during 2013.
Customs wants to prevent entries being made against consignments while they are being moved between the transit shed or airline and an ERTS – but this could delay clearance by up to 15 hours, ASM argues.

Customs entries can be made at any other time once the ERTS record has been created, even when the goods are physically still at the airline/transit shed. But ERTS operators would need to closely monitor their ERTS vehicle log to prevent entries being made against those consignments during this movement.

MacSwiney said that ASM did consider whether it could monitor this period with a CCS UK system change but decided it was impossible. “So, the survey asked for views that this period be controlled by the ERTS Vehicle Record underwritten by a change in the ERTS approval to reflect the ERTS operator’s responsibilities.”

Discussions with HMRC are continuing.