Issue 4 2021 - Freight Business Journal


CDS rollout remains a challenge

Things may have been quiet on the CDS front, but a lot of work has been going on behind the scenes, writes Association of Freight Software Suppliers (AFSS) chairman, Steve Bartlett.

Now that the EU Exit dust has settled, soſtware developers are now under pressure from Government to accelerate moving

their customers (CDS). But to

the new Customs Declaration Service


challenges remain before large scale migrations away from the legacy CHIEF system can happen. Towards the end of 2019,

HMRC together with AFSS and other trade bodies agreed a joint, achievable plan for migration from CHIEF. Traders would start to be migrated to CDS throughout 2021, as soſtware developers would have most of 2020 to thoroughly test their applications. However, the decision to use

CDS for Northern Ireland from 1 January, the late delivery of core CDS functionality, compounded by the impacts of EU Exit and COVID-19 meant that was unachievable. One of the key issues faced by

developers is the sheer quantity of work required because of EU Exit. Soſtware companies are having to manage changes to several existing systems, and interface to brand new ones. (GVMS, ICS NI, NCTS, CTC, S&S GB and ICS2, to name a few) and this has taken priority over CDS work. The recent postponement of the move to full customs controls to the end of 2021, while welcome in terms of allowing more time to implement solutions, only delays the implementation of these required soſtware changes

into the peak Christmas trading period, which will inevitably cause disruption to the trade. In terms of CDS itself, there

remain issues to overcome before widespread migration can happen. In its current state, CDS is not yet fit for purpose. It has not experienced significant load testing to give us the confidence that it will be able to scale up to the 380 million-plus declarations it will need to process. In addition, critical functional requirements to make CDS usable do not have a confirmed delivery date. This includes fixes to the Exports process, which does not work

migrating traders to CDS as ‘like wading through treacle’. Setting up a trader takes too much time and resources for all concerned. If large scale trader migrations are to happen, the process needs to be much smoother and far more rapid. Ongoing support has faced

some issues. Soſtware developers with live customers on CDS have experienced long delays in getting responses and resolutions to live issues. Of wider concern are traders’

motivation and ability to migrate to CDS, even if their soſtware was ready to do so. Clearly, EU Exit and Covid-19 are not helping, but a CDS entry takes nearly four times as long to complete as a CHIEF entry. Whilst in the longer term this will reduce through familiarity and implementation of process automation and soſtware robotics, this additional time could deter traders. Government needs to think how to incentivise migration to CDS. But even with these AFSS and

challenges, its

currently. Concerns remain over HMRC’s readiness to migrate traders to CDS in large volumes. Soſtware suppliers have the

described process of

members are fully committed to the implementation of CDS. Like HMRC, soſtware developers have invested significantly in CDS and have no desire to maintain connections to two key declarations systems in the long term. HMRC has been very inclusive in its consultation with the AFSS so far, and we want to see this engagement continued, so that we can jointly agree a

migration plan, just as we did at the end of 2019.

AFSS membership grows

AFSS itself meanwhile is pleased to have ten new companies join within the last 12 months, bringing the total to 42. Interest in membership continues


grow as soſtware developers see the benefits of being part of our association. Members benefit from representation at


government and HMRC level, are given the opportunity by HMRC to contribute and help shape future processes and systems, as well as attend AFSS-run networking events with other members. Our

recognition by HM

Government was enhanced last year when we were invited to give evidence at two Parliamentary Select Committees on EU Exit. With so many changes

to regulations

now having an impact on soſtware and system developers it is important that the views and opinions of the industry can be conveyed to those legislating the changes. AFSS is actively engaged in

the Border Delivery Group’s 2025 Border Strategy and the ‘Single Window’ concept, as well as HMRC’s 2030 Strategy. Traders also benefit by using AFSS members as this gives assurance that the member is reliable and follows a published code of

Albacore were established in 1992 to provide IT services to freight industry customers. We work with brokers, handlers, forwarders, transport and fulfilment

operators throughout the UK. We understand the unique time pressures and compliance

requirements that freight industry businesses face. We have a large and continually growing customer base that ranges from start-ups to corporates. Our mission remains to build long term business relationships through the provision of secure and hassle free solutions. We provide user support, server support and connectivity services

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support to users through telephone and remote access methods, coupled with pro-active actions taken from continuous monitoring of customer servers and comms solutions. All parts and onsite labour are included in our all-inclusive packages to provide a wraparound fixed cost support and business continuity model. We work with all the major soſtware houses and our time-served

knowledge and ability to assist with the wide range of solutions and connectivity used within the industry sets us apart from other IT providers. Our dedicated helpdesk provides technical support and takes

ownership of customer issues in office hours as well as operating a 24/7 on-call service. Should on-site assistance be required, we offer a 4 hour on-site response. We design and implement IT solutions incorporating cloud,

privately hosted and on-premise servers, networking, soſtware that runs on PC, Apple and Android hardware and meets every business need. Some of the specialised services we supply include:

• IT Support and maintenance of hardware and soſtware • HMRC and CSP communication links • Entry soſtware agnostic public or private cloud hosted servers with CSP connectivity • Web services (domains, email, websites) • Internet/Firewalls/Networking/Wireless • Backup and Disaster Recovery solutions • Protection from Malware/Ransomware/SPAM/Phishing • Collaboration and voice calling using Microsoſt Teams • Unlimited consultancy from our team of highly experienced IT professionals Feel free to contact us for an onsite evaluation and let us help to move your IT forward.

Tel: +44 (0)23 8073 7100 Email: Web:

conduct. Contact details for AFSS and our member companies

including links to their own web sites can be found at www.afss.

THE UK’S LEADING TMS PROVIDER TO THE MULTIMODAL INDUSTRY • • 0845 834 0345 FARGO AD 60 X 277_AW.indd 4 03/06/2019 14:34

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