Import Customs Clearance – Changeover From CHIEF to CDS

As HM Revenue has extensively publicised, their mainframe customs entry IT system. CHIEF, will close for all import customs entries nationally on 30 September 2022 as the system is over 25 years old and has reached the end of its life.

CDS Import Software

The new Customs system that replaces it is named CDS; it is already up and running. Many of the changes that CDS bring are behind the scenes. It brings much more complication and is a much more comprehensive solution than CHIEF, which was limited by its 1990s software.

From a user perspective, the CDS system gives much more functionality than CHIEF, including integration with the website customer portal. Part of this functionality is that you must approve any company that prepares customs entries on your behalf. So if you use K&L Freight and have not ‘approved’ us on CDS, don’t hesitate to contact us for a step-by-step how-to.

Importance of Authorisation

We cannot stress how important this authorisation process is completed in CDS to allow us to handle your imports. For example, suppose you do not complete your set-up for CDS on the website and authorise K&L Freight to complete customs entries on your behalf from 1 October. HM Revenue’s CDS system will not process your customs entries in that case. Consequently, your goods will sit at port incurring storage charges from the port until you do so.

Export Customs

HM Revenue & Custom’s existing CHIEF system will continue to be available for export customs entries up to 31 March 2023, after which CHIEF will be shut down and retired. K&L Freight will cut over to CDS for export entries by late 2022 to ensure a smooth cut-over to the new system. We will notify all export customers later this year regarding their need to register for CDS unless we can Identify if they have already done so.

If you have any international freight needs, K&L Freight will be pleased to hear from you. We can be reached by phone, through the website or at