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How to take NCTS 5 in your stride

Updated: Nov 7, 2022


There are some great common-sense improvements in the latest incarnation of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) for goods in transit. The changes are so brilliant and obvious you’ll ask: what took them so long?



Phase 5 (NCTS5) continues as a global computing standard, sticking to the Common Transit Convention (CTC) and it’s not a quantum leap away from Phase 4 of NCTS, the version you - and everyone else in the world - are already using.


NCTS5 will save a lot of time because it has made three small changes, to infuriating anomalies, that will have a massive impact. For one, it won’t make you cancel and start again, if you need to amend pre-lodged declarations. That’s an immediate bonus.


The next system update is a ‘TAD overdue’ too. Under the new NCTS5 way of doing things, the Transport Accompanying Document (TAD) can be presented in digital format, on your smartphone or tablet. You can still print out and carry papers for the driver to present with the goods at Customs, if you want. But now you have the option to do both. Using the phone will be so much more convenient and user friendly. This is a small step for the computer system but a giant leap for the lorry queue.


The third welcome change is the new Office of Incident customs role. This means that if there’s an incident during the goods’ journey it can be reported and the declarant instantly notified. This is a welcome and timely intervention, so much better than today’s practice, which delays the bad news until someone is disappointed at their final destination and it’s often too late to rectify the situation.

There is no need to take action now but please look out for regular updates.

Here’s a schedule of action.

  1. Relax. You have until Nov 30, 2023, so schedule brief monthly IT lessons.

  2. Plan the material for these incremental updates.

  3. Just Trade will inform you of any new features as they materialise.

  4. JT will then brief you on using them.

  5. Learn what data you need to provide, and how the messaging systems work.

  6. If you use an app to access NCTS, its developer has the specs to upgrade it.

  7. Look out for our new free web portal into the Government Gateway.

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