Simplifying new UK customs rules

In a post-Brexit world, what goods we want to trade remains broadly the same - but how we trade has changed. Customs procedures introduced after Britain’s exit from the EU have added complexity to processes, prompting businesses to find ways to simplify them.

Based in East Anglia, strategically positioned close to the Port of Felixstowe, Deloitte’s Global Trade Bureau (GTB) is supporting its clients with automated customs declarations processes.

Using tech to simplify customs procedures, the Bureau is enabling imports and exports to move across borders seamlessly under new trading rules. It’s providing clients with a cost-effective and efficient way to manage customs compliance and to track and monitor their global supply chain.

Challenges for traders

To import and export goods from and to the EU, regardless of the UK-EU trade agreement, businesses from ‘third countries’ (countries outside the EU) have to fill in customs declarations.

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) provide authorised traders with a way to manage import and export processes for most of these goods at the border.

“With a simple frontier declaration, CFSP-authorised traders can benefit from the release of most third country goods at the border, without the need to submit full details or pay tax or duty,” said Jeffrie Mann, a director at the Global Trade Bureau.

However, the volume of goods that need to pass through and the complexity of managing them means that processing declarations at the necessary speed is challenging for many traders.

“It became clear that many traders didn’t have the capability, capacity or experience to swiftly adapt their processes to enable the continued movement of goods,” Jeffrie continued.

The consequence of failing to manage this? Goods stuck at borders.

Customs warehouses continue to make higher numbers of declarations in line with new HMRC rules – the more we can do to integrate automated processes into customs procedures, the more we can help businesses to keep trade moving.
Jeffrie Mann

Deloitte’s Global Trade Bureau director

Swift movement across borders

To help, the Global Trade Bureau has developed a solution that enables declarations to be filled using an automated process, allowing for swift movement of goods across borders with complex trade arrangements.

“The technology allows for the seamless movement of goods through the port or airport by providing electronic copies of the paperwork to HMRC on a client’s behalf, post-import,” said Jeffrie. “It also works as an administrative system that intuitively raises and files the right documents with HMRC.”

In addition, the system includes a visual dashboard that provides insight into what is happening across complex supply chains, that could be made up of shipping partners, customs brokers, freight forwarders, carriers and other logistics providers.

It provides extra tools for in-house customs and tax professionals to work with their logistics providers to manage risk, improve supply chain security and pinpoint areas for improvement. They can also analyse trade data to make custom duty savings and better understand trade costs.

“As we continue to trade in a digital world, it is essential that every sector has access to technology that crosses time zones and provides information in real-time,” Jeffrie said.

“Customs warehouses continue to make higher numbers of declarations in line with new HMRC rules – the more we can do to integrate automated processes into customs procedures, the more we can help businesses to keep trade moving.”

Our Global Trade Bureau

Deloitte’s Ipswich-based Global Trade Bureau combines over 100 years’ experience in freight, logistics, customs procedures and HMRC compliance.

The Bureau supports global trade activities across EMEA, working with clients with multiple entities across sectors from food and retail to waste management and energy. It makes a valuable contribution to the local area through employment and plans to increase to 100 people by June 2022.

Food for thought

Since 2019 the Global Trade Bureau has been working with one of Europe’s largest multi-national food and drinks processing conglomerates to help it to manage the changes presented by Britain’s exit from the EU.

Specifically, we helped the company to navigate an increase in customs duty, supported a scale-up of its operations to manage larger numbers of customs declarations and helped it to gain greater visibility over its customs compliance operations.

Applying its expertise, the Bureau team found that special customs procedures and reliefs could be used to mitigate increased duty costs and used tech to increase the volume of customs declarations processed through Customs Freight Simplified Procedures.

All in all, this led to a customs duty saving of 2.5 million euro per annum and greater confidence that its import and exports are compliant with new customs procedures, which are tracked through Deloitte’s bespoke management system.


Sunita Ghalley, PR assistant manager
+44 20 7007 6612 | Email Sunita