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Importers should consider DIY approach to customs, says software specialist

[ March 30, 2021   //   ]

Large importers should consider setting up their own ETSF (External Temporary Storage Facility) to minimise Brexit disruption, says supply chain technology firm, Descartes.

Goods arriving into the UK can be moved to the site such as the business’ own premises or a distribution centre where the customs formalities can be managed electronically, effectively moving the customs border to its own premises. Declarations can be pre-lodged ahead of the goods arriving, as long as it is an approved ETSF solution. An inventory system to group goods at truck level could further strengthen the ETSF so that once a truck physically arrives at the site, the system will trigger the clearance of all its consignments so they can be appropriately managed. 

An ETSF system gives visibility and audit records to HMRC and Border Force so that if they do want to put a hold on any consignment, the site operator knows instantly which goods are awaiting paperwork or physical inspection – and these can also be conducted at the operator’s site.

Even for products that still require clearance checks at the border such as meat and dairy, performing as many clearance checks as possible inland speeds up the process, Descartes argues. 

Import customs declarations from the EU will be required from July 2021. Safety and Security filings for goods moving from the UK to the EU  have been a major cause of disruption for freight companies, as customers are required to submit the shipping instructions up to two hours before arrival and, from 1 January 2022, they will also be required from road carriers bringing goods into the UK from the EU.

In addition, traders, hauliers and carriers moving goods through a UK port using Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) are now required to register with the HMRC for the service in order to transport goods through customs. The extra red tape and permissions needed can cause unnecessary delays and disruption if organisations are not successfully registered.

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