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Customs Declaration Service News

Customs Declaration Service (CDS) Export Timelines Update

According to HMRC, after 30 March 2024, businesses should make all export declarations through the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), as they do for import declarations.

Ongoing delays have persisted while HMRC and inventory linked port systems operators have been testing the dual running process. Dural running will facilitate the temporary period when CHIEF and CDS export declarations will be processed concurrently.

Businesses will be given three months after HMRC tells them they can migrate. However, there will also be a robust exceptions process in place following the initial three months.

Migration Timelines

HMRC expect the following:

From January, export declarations for goods using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) through GMVS locations (e.g. Eurotunnel & Dover ferry) can be made through CDS, providing the following does not apply:

  • There is a chance goods could be rerouted to an inventory linked location; or

  • You use a temporary storage facilities; or

  • You use a designated export place..

From early February, export declarations for goods submitted through inventory linked airports (e.g. Heathrow, Manchester, etc.) should be submitted through CDS, providing there is no chance your goods could be rerouted to an inventory linked maritime location.

From early March, export declarations for goods submitted through inventory linked maritime locations (E.g. Felixstowe, London Gateway, etc.) are due to be submitted through CDS. By this point, all export declarants should be able to start submitting all export declarations through CDS.

Inventory linked locations are those ports and airports that have customs control systems linked to HMRC systems, allowing for quick electronic clearance of goods on arrival at the port.

HMRC will contact businesses directly to confirm further details of timetables around when migration will commence.

Next Steps to Prepare

HMRC recommends if businesses have not already done so, they should carry out the following steps to prepare:

Subscribe to CDS to submit export declarations. Declarants who have already subscribed for imports do not need to do so again.

Access the free Trader Dress Rehearsal (TDR) service to practice submitting declarations in a safe test environment. Just Trade Customs Module permits users to access TDR for testing purposes.

HMRC will continue to provide support for businesses making export declarations through CDS.

Information about Transit Accompanying Document Movement Reference Number (TAD MRNs) and Master Unique Consignment References (MUCR) usage

HMRC has recently updated guidance on the use of TAD MRNs and MUCRs to support the move to CDS for exports.

On TAD MRNs, all declarants and hauliers that complete Goods Movement References (GMRs) may follow the 'Create a good movement reference number' guidance on GOV.UK to make sure that you are not making errors and that you are using Declaration Unique Consignment References (DUCRs) correctly when submitting export declarations involving GVMS locations.

On MUCRs, HMRC has explained how to properly complete the customs export formalities - namely, creating the export declarations, associating, and closing the MUCR for the goods that you export or whoever does this on your behalf.

For further information on making customs declarations to CDS, please get in touch with Just Trade at

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