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HMRC Inland Preclearance Operations: Releasing Cleared Goods - Process update

Further to the HMRC email on 17 December 2019, detailing the proposed change to the way in which HMRC releases cleared consignments after Inland Pre-Clearance operations, to confirm the new arrangements.

HMRC are making these changes to improve the visibility that shipping lines have of their container/consignment movements and their ability to collect their commercial fees from importers subject to IPC action.

HMRC have taken on board feedback from various shipping lines and trade body representatives, and the following approach will be implemented from 31 March 2020, giving shipping lines a period to prepare for the new arrangements.

From 31 March, a 'PIN' will be issued by HMRC to the shipping line for each consignment, once examinations are concluded and any duty/import VAT liabilities paid/secured. The line then uses this PIN to retrieve the consignment. The shipping line can then arrange collection and subsequent release to their client. Collection must be made within 5 working day of being notified by HMRC that the goods have been cleared.

HMRC will always release the PIN to the Shipping line and not to the importer or any other third party. If a line does not wish to take responsibility, they should pass the PIN to their client to arrange collection. However, if the shipping line does pass the pin on, collection still must be made within 5 working days.

Failure to collect the consignment within the specified period will automatically trigger disposal proceedings in accordance with Article 198(1)(c) of the Union Customs Code. A warning letter will be issued to the shipping line giving 14 days to collect.  A further reminder will be issued 7 days later and then at the end of the 14-day period we will issue an abandonment letter.

At this point, unclaimed containers will be returned to our storage facility in Castle Donington and the shipping line will be notified to come and collect it. To avoid disposal proceedings, we encourage shipping lines to arrange for collection immediately after they have been told goods have been cleared.

The purpose of this change is to restore the parties to the position they would have been in had the goods been examined in the port.

HMRC will not be able to extend the time given for collection under these arrangements, and the disposal process will start if the container is not collected in time.

Once the goods are cleared for release, what then happens to the goods is a commercial matter between the declarant and the shipping line.

The current process remains unchanged until 31 March.

If you have any further queries, please contact us at:


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