Export declarations and the National Export System

Freight loaders and the National Export System

Details of your goods must be correctly entered into Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) and be present at ports or other customs-controlled locations before they can be cleared for export. This will happen at inventory-linked ports or will be carried out by customs-approved loaders registered with CHIEF. There's electronic confirmation for both the arrival and departure of consignments.

To receive a successful arrival message, freight loaders must input both of the following:

The receipt of this message means that the goods have been legally presented to customs for export. If a reference is rejected by CHIEF, it's better to create a new entry. However, customs should be informed of any duplication as soon as possible and the original entry must be deleted from CHIEF.

To receive a successful departure message, freight loaders must input the following:

  • UCR
  • location of goods
  • means of transport
  • name of vessel or aircraft
  • date of export
  • flag code for the vessel or aircraft

Loaders should take care when keying in lengthy reference numbers. Any error can delay the progress of the exports. Without all six pieces of departure information listed above, the goods may not qualify for VAT zero-rating.

Locations not linked to CHIEF

Some ports and customs-controlled locations aren't linked directly to CHIEF. If your goods are leaving the UK from one of these locations, the freight loader should first present details of the goods to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) at the National Clearance Hub.

The goods must be accompanied by three completed forms:

HMRC will then input the same details, which are needed when exporting from inventory-linked locations or using CHIEF-registered freight loaders (as above). Form C88 (CAP) CIE must be used for CAP export declarations as additional information is required.

If the declarations are in order, the goods will be cleared by customs for shipment and the form C130EX can be stamped and returned to the loader. When the goods have been loaded for shipment, C130EX can be stamped by the ship's master and returned to customs so that the required departure message can be given.