‘Major incident’ affecting CDS and GVMS declarations leading to disruption for Ro-Ro freight

Thu 1 Feb 2024
Posted by: William Barns Graham
Trade News
Worker In Front Of Freight Crates

Update 1 February 15.10: In an email, HMRC have now said the issue with exchange rates within the Customs Declaration Service has been resolved.

HMRC says that if a trader has had a declaration rejected today (1 February) between midnight and 12 noon (00:00-12:00) and the goods have been permitted to move to their destination without attending an Inland Border Facility (IBF), turned away from an IBF or released from an IBF or temporary storage port, then the trader will need to submit a replacement ‘arrived’ non-inventory linked declaration as soon as possible. 

The email adds that officials are working "hard to release" any goods still at an IBF or temporary storage port.

The government has warned of a “major incident” impacting declarations submitted on the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) and the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS), leading to disruption for roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) freight entering Britain. 

An ongoing software issue on CDS means that some declarations are not being automatically processed by GVMS in the normal way, leading many trucks to be diverted to inland border facilities (IBFs) to have their declarations manually processed, rather than being able to travel immediately from the port of entry to their destination point.  

Government reports that an “issue with GBP rate conversion” is causing customs values to be absent in submitted declarations, even if traders have correctly submitted these. This error in CDS is preventing a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) being automatically validated in GVMS upon arrival in GB.  

The major consequence of the customs value being absent is that duty liability on affected imports is not being calculated, leading to the need for vehicles to be diverted to IBF until the issue is resolved. 

As an interim measure, HMRC is advising declarants to resubmit their import declaration in GBP, though this will require some manual conversion calculations. 

Significant update 

Anna Doherty, a senior trade and customs specialist at the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), said this was a “significant” incident which will impact ro-ro freight entering Britain and have a knock-on effect on several just-in-time deliveries.  

However, she was clear that the incident has nothing to do with the introduction of new documentary requirements for imports that were bought in yesterday via the government’s new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM). 

“This is a significant disruption and we advise traders to continually review the IOE&IT and government websites for updates. 

“As import entries for goods arriving via GVMS locations are pre-lodged ahead of the goods arrival, these entries will be the most impacted. 

“This is primarily an issue with CDS software and not user errors. It might be that an update to remove the 999L waiver code for imports may have inadvertently caused this issue with the Exchange Rate Service (XRS) within CDS. Though as today is the first day of the month, the rates would have been updated anyway. 

“It should be noted, however, this is not linked in any way to the new BTOM SPS rules that were introduced yesterday, but is an IT issue with CDS.” 

Government advice 

The government is continually posting updates about the issue here.  

The Joint Customs Consultative Committee (JCCC) wrote to industry today to advise that, until the currency issue is fixed, traders can “resubmit their declaration using GBP” to avoid disruption. 

“Remedial action is currently being investigated and tested before being implemented,” it said.  

IOE&IT will update members on this development in this article and via its Daily Update bulletin.