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Call For Evidence – An Independent Customs Regime

The Government has announced a 12 week consultation inviting respondents’ views on the Customs intermediary sector, the Simplified Customs Declaration Process (SCDP) and the Transit facilitation.

The freight forwarding/customs intermediary sector has endured a period of unprecedented change and stress over the last 5 years. Reasons include EU Exit, COVID and significant changes to IT systems. Part of BIFA’s role is to represent its members’ views to government and to promote the sector’s importance.   

For quite some time there has been talk of a Single Trade Window, but technology was never advanced enough to allow it to function properly – now it is in all probability. The administrative burden has increased on those trading with our former EU partners.  So, the Government has to offset this as much as it can by simplifying all global trade, including with the EU.

The systems and players who have made the frontier work have served trade well for many years.  These players have facilitated an unprecedented growth in trade levels and successfully coped with the twin challenges of new systems resulting from the UK’s exit from the EU and the disruption due to the COVID pandemic. 

The Single Trade Window (STW) has received significant Government funding – to the tune of £180million, a clear indication of commitment and intent. Currently there is a lack of clarity about its functionality and how it will be used.  At the simplest level it is a portal to allow data to be submitted once and then disseminated to multiple Government Agencies. But many of the discussions indicate that Government feels that a STW could do much more, allowing much wider access to IT systems including multiple filing of data.

On the 7th February 2022, the Government announced a 12 week consultation inviting respondents’ views on:

  • the Customs intermediary sector
  • the Simplified Customs Declaration Process (SCDP)
  • the Transit facilitation

The consultation document makes it clear that the Government intends to look at all aspects of how the frontier works. Plus it challenges the existing players to re-validate their importance to and making the frontier work.  The document clearly states, “This call for evidence (CfE) therefore includes a section to test with business whether the services the UK customs intermediary sector currently provides are easily accessible, high-quality and cost effective.”


BIFA will engage at every opportunity on this subject, but having looked at the Call for Evidence Members will have to respond in person. This is due to its structure and nature of the questions. The document can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/call-for-evidence-an-independent-customs-regime?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications-topic&utm_source=24ec9056-46cb-4759-b739-238f03c3788f&utm_content=daily


Via its Policy team and Regional consultants, BIFA will consult with its Members to understand their views which can be fed back to Government.  However, the Association would encourage all Members to consider replying directly to Government on this subject.


If any Member wishes to discuss this consultation please contact Robert Windsor at r.windsor@bifa.org providing your contact details, a synopsis of your enquiry and the BIFA Secretariat will contact you as soon as possible.


Thank you for your attention with regard to this important matter.

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