AAD:  Accompanying Administrative Document used in EMCS transit of Excise goods.

AAD Reference Code (ARC): The unique reference code for an electronic Administrative Accompanying Document (AAD), this is assigned by its holder’s Member State Administration.

Ad-valorem duty: A duty based on a percentage of the value of the goods.

AEP: Automated entry processing (AEP is the Irish Revenue’s customs declarations system which handles the validation, processing, duty, accounting and clearance of customs declarations in the Republic of Ireland).

Agent: A person authorised to transact business for and in the name of another person or company. The types of customs agents include brokers, commission merchants, resident buyers, sales agents, manufacturer’s representatives.

Agricultural duties: Import and export duties introduced under the common agricultural policy

AI Statement Code: Additional Information Statement Code. This is a 5 character code that is sometimes entered into import and export declaration and provides additional information about goods. 

Anti-dumping duties: Customs duties imposed on imports from specific countries in addition to the normal or preferential duty; such duties may be introduced by countries or economic zones where the export price is below the normal value of the commodity, and usually on if such imports threaten the local Community producers of similar products.

Approved exporter (export procedure): A person who has been authorised to use the local clearance procedure for exports, i.e. goods are placed under the procedure by entry in their records and the customs authorities are notified of the removal of the goods from their premises.

Approved exporter (origin): Someone who makes frequent shipments of products and thus qualifies for preferential origin status and who has been authorised to complete invoice declarations for proof of origin.

Article 50: The formal mechanism for exiting the EU: A clause in the 2007 Lisbon treaty allowing any member state “to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements”. It allows for negotiations to arrange citizens’ rights, the issue of the Irish border and the UK’s final exit bill.

ATR: Anticipated Transit Record.

Authorised consignee: A person that has been authorised to receive at their premises or any other specified place, goods moved under a transit procedure without presenting the goods and the transit declaration at the office of destination.

Authorised consignor: A person that has been authorised to carry out transit operations without presenting the goods and the transit declaration at the office of departure.

Air Way Bill: There are two types of Air Waybills (AWBs) – Master and House. A Master Air Waybill (MAWB) is a document issued by an air cargo  carrier and represents the contract of carriage, as specified by the carrier, between the shipper (which could be the freight forwarder or the exporter) and the carrier. It is also a receipt for the goods being shipped. A House Air Waybill (HAWB) is a document issued by a freight forwarder to the exporter (the consignor/sender) and represents the contract of carriage between them. It is also a receipt for the goods being shipped.

Because a freight forwarder can ship multiple shipments of goods in a consolidation (represented by one Master Airway Bill), one consolidation may have multiple shipments (represented by multiple House Air Waybills) included in it. Therefore, many House Air Waybills can be attached to one Master Air Waybill.

B/L: “Bill of Lading; This is a document issued by a carrier, or their agent, to the shipper and is a contract for the carriage of goods. It can also be a receipt for cargo accepted for transportation, a B/L must be presented in order to take delivery at the destination.

Badge: Goods imported via the major ports and airports in the UK, or cleared into inland UK customs clearance sites, are managed by port community systems, for these, although you can still submit customs declarations using Descartes’ e-Customs software you will also need a port community system identity, otherwise called a “Badge” “Port Badge” or “Chief Badge”. Separate port Badges are required for each inventory linked port, or a single badge can be used at multiple non-inventory locations. 

Bank Draft: Similar to a personal cheque it is an order issued by a seller against a purchaser; usually it directs payment through an intermediary bank. 

Bank Guarantee: Guarantee issued by a bank to a carrier to be used in lieu of a lost or misplaced original negotiable bill of lading. 

Bill of exchange: A non-interest-bearing, written order that is used primarily in international trade. It binds one party to pay a fixed sum of money to another party at a predetermined future date. Bills of exchange are similar to cheques and promissory notes. If issued by a bank, they may also be referred to as bank drafts. If issued by individuals, they may be referred to as trade drafts.

Bill of sale: A legal document confirming the transfer of ownership of named goods to another person in return for monies paid.

Binding origin information (BOI): Written information issued by the customs authorities of the Member States on the preferential or non-preferential origin of specific goods to be imported or exported.

Binding tariff information (BTI): Information issued by the customs authorities of the Member States on the classification of goods in the combined nomenclature or a nomenclature derived therefrom.

BIRDS – Bulk Import Reduced Data Set: Comes into effect in Great Britain on 1 January 2021. This will enable traders and intermediaries to declare a number of low value items in one single customs declaration. 

Bond: A legal undertaking or contract by which a person binds themself to the Customs to do or not to do some act specified by a law or regulation. (May also be referred to as a Customs Bond).

Bonded Goods: Refers to goods stored in a warehouse (operated or approved by Customs), awaiting the payment of duty or the goods are exported or otherwise legally dealt with.

Brexit: “The British exit from the European Union, a phrase created initially in the press and now used to describe the separation of The UK from the European Union. This process was Initiated on 1st January 2020, we are now in the transition period where trade negotiations are taking place and this is expected to conclude on 31st December 2020 (EU Exit)

Bulk cargo: Loose, unpackaged, non-containerized cargo (such as cement, grains, coal, ores, etc.) carried in a ship’s hold, and loaded and discharged through hatchways.

Bulk Carriers: Vessels designed to carry dry (such as grain, cement, fertilisers, etc.) or liquid (oil, petroleum, methanol, Wine, etc.) bulk cargo.

C21: C21 is the HMRC reference of the form historically completed for a Customs Clearance Request (CCR/ICR/ECR). A Customs Clearance Request is a request for the release of goods from an inventory-linked location (port or airport) that does not require a formal customs declaration. It facilitates the clearance of computerised inventory control records. 

C&F: Obsolete, but heavily used, term of sale meaning ‘cost and freight’ – A Seller pays for cost of goods and freight charges up to destination port. replaced with CFR

C&I/CI: Cost and Insurance – The price will include the cost of the goods, the marine insurance and all transportation charges but not the cost of the ocean freight to the named point of destination.

C88’s: Customs entry also know as SAD

Carrier: The person or company transporting goods, in charge of or responsible for the operation and the means of transport. 

CCS-UK: Cargo Community System UK- CCS-UK is a customs approved Community System Provider (CSP). A CSP provides electronic inventory control computer systems that connect to CHIEF and CDS (the national computer systems for HMRC) and electronically monitors and processes the import and export information of goods in temporary storage facilities at inventory linked ports and airports. There are five CSPs in the UK that cover a variety of inventory linked ports and airports and CCS-UK is one of them. CCS-UK is used for air cargo exports and imports at most UK airports. To use CCS-UK, subscribe to it on the CCS-UK website and purchase a ‘badge’ (an electronic login) which will give access to their system.

CCT / Common Customs Tariff: Applies to the import of goods across external borders of the EU and is common for all EU Members. The rates will however differ depending upon the product and where it comes from.

CDS, Customs Declarations Service: Customs Declaration Service – The UK’s HMRC software for the electronic filing of Customs Declarations, The CDS system is planned to replace the older CHIEF system in the near future. The CDS System may be the preferred option for the Northern Ireland Customs Declarations as it can cope with multiple tariffs.

Certificate of origin: A specific document identifying the origin of the goods, on which the authority or body empowered to issue said certificate states that the goods originate in a specific country. This certificate may also include a declaration by the manufacturer, producer, supplier, exporter or other competent person (WCO)

CFR (named port of destination): Cost and Freight means that the seller must pay the costs and freight necessary to bring the goods to the named port of destination, but the risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as any additional costs due to events occurring after the time the goods have been delivered on board the vessel by the seller is then transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods pass the ship’s rail in the port of shipment. Where the Customs Value is based on CIF, the cost of overseas insurance must be added to the CFR Value. CFR terms of trade are generally used for sea or inland waterway transportation.

CFSP (also known as SCDP): Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (also known as Simplified Customs Declaration Procedures)

Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) (otherwise known as Simplified Customs Declaration Procedures (SCDP)) are alternative customs procedures designed to get goods through a border as speedily as possible by allowing the submission of a simplified customs declaration at the border, rather than a fully detailed declaration. By the 4th working day of the month following the submission of the simplified declaration, a supplementary declaration with the full financial and statistical details of the import must be submitted to HMRC and the import duties must be paid. This allows businesses more time to gather and submit accurate information to HMRC and more time to pay import duties. e. There are two types of CFSP procedures – EIDR (Entry In Declarant’s Records) and SDP (Simplified Declaration Procedure).

CHIEF: Customs Handling Import and Export Freight

Chief Badge: Goods imported via the major ports and airports in the UK are managed by UK port community systems, for these, although you can still submit customs declarations using Descartes’ e-Customs software you will also need a port community system identity, otherwise called a “Badge” “port Badge” or “Chief Badge”. Separate port Badges are required for each inventory linked port, or a single badge can be used at multiple non-inventory locations. 

CIF (named port of destination): Cost, Insurance and Freight means that the seller has the same obligations as under CFR, but with the addition that they also have to procure marine insurance against the buyer’s risk of loss or damage to the goods during the carriage. The seller contracts for insurance and pays the insurance premium.

CIP ( Named place of destination): Carriage and Insurance Paid To (…named place of destination). The seller transports the goods to the port of export, clears Customs, and delivers them to the carrier. The seller pays transportation and insurance costs to the named place of destination. The title & risk pass to the buyer once the seller delivers the goods to the carrier. CIP terms of trade are used for all modes of transportation.

CITES: Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Clearance into Home use: The Customs procedure which covers imported goods that enter into free circulation within the Customs Territory upon the payment of any import duties and taxes that are chargeable and the finalisation of all necessary Customs formalities are completed.

CN22: Form for goods Mailed abroad to the value of £270

CN23: Form for goods Mailed abroad greater than the value of £270

COD: Cash on Delivery, a transaction whereby goods are paid for in cash or by certified cheque immediately upon receipt by the purchaser; or may refer to Carried On Docket relating to pricing.

Collect freight: Freight charges as shown on a Bill of Lading or an air waybill that are payable to the carrier at the port of discharge or the final destination. The consignee will not have to pay for the freight charges if the cargo does not arrive at the final destination.

Combined nomenclature (CN) : A list of goods descriptions based on the Harmonized System, for the Common Customs Tariff, external trade statistics, and other Community policies 

Commodity codes: Dependent upon the customs code (or commodity code) used for your goods will determine which taxes and regulations apply to them, the right code for the goods must be used.

Common Carrier: A for hire transportation company providing a service to the general public at published rates.

Common transit: When you move goods between or through EU and common transit countries you can use the Common Transit Convention (CTC). This will allow you to move your goods quicker because customs declarations are not required at each border crossing, only pay customs duties when the goods reach their final destination and complete some customs procedures away from the border.

Community Customs Code: This provides for 8 customs procedures: release for free circulation, transit, customs warehousing, inward processing, processing under customs control, temporary importation, outward processing, and exportation.

Community transit: Customs procedure that allows goods to be moved from one point in the EU Community to another.

Compensating products: Relates to Inward/outward processing relief. 

Compliance Management: The application of procedures and practices that are designed to manage compliance with Customs laws.

Consignee: a person entitled to receive goods.

Consignment note: Drawn up by the shipper this is a document accompanying goods. It acts as proof that a contract for carriage has been concluded as well as describing its content. It also serves as a receipt when goods are collected from the shipper and delivered to the recipient.

Consignor: A person entitled to send goods.

Consolidation: Two or more shippers or suppliers consignments will be Consolidated into one shipment. Container load shipments can also be consolidated for one or more consignees.

Consolidator: A person or firm performing a consolidation service for others. The consolidator takes advantage of lower full cargo (FCL) rates, and savings are passed on to shippers.

Container Terminal: Area in port designated for container storage

Control copy T5: A declaration and undertaking that is used to cover goods imported into, exported from or moving within the customs territory of the Community, they are subject to proof of compliance with the conditions provided for or prescribed by a Community rule for their use and/or destination.

CoO: Certificate of Origin

Countervailing duties: These are customs duties imposed on imports from specific countries over and above the normal duty; such duties might be added when there is a subsidy granted by the exporting country on those classification of goods.

CPC – Customs Procedure Code: This is your reason for importing or exporting, expressed as either a seven digit number or a six digit number and one letter. … At the very least it is a short written statement and must be present on your customs declaration that clearly explains the purpose of your shipment.

CPEI – Customs Procedures with Economic Impact: These procedures; customs warehousing, inward processing, processing under customs control, temporary importation, outward processing, all require an authorisation and in some situations an evaluation of their economic impact.

CPT (…named place of destination): Carriage Paid To… means that the seller pays the freight for the carriage of the goods to the named destination. The risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as any additional costs due to events occurring once the goods have been delivered to the carrier is then transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods have been delivered into the custody of the carrier.

CSFP: Customs Simplified Freight Procedure

CSP: Community Systems Provider

A CSP provides electronic inventory control computer systems that connect to CHIEF and CDS (the national computer systems for HMRC) and electronically monitors and processes the import and export information of goods through temporary storage facilities at inventory linked ports and airports. There are five CSPs in the UK that cover a variety of inventory linked ports and airports. These are:

1) CNS (system name Compass) – used mainly for maritime container and Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) traffic for various UK seaports and ETSFs as well as some airports and couriers.

2) CCS-UK– used for air cargo exports and imports at most UK airports.

3) MCP (system name Destin8) – used for maritime container and Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) traffic at over 100 UK seaports.

4) Descartes (system name Pentant) – used for road, air and ocean imports and Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo)shipments at Dover and a variety of smaller ports.

5) DHL Aviation– used by DHL for their own air shipments.

To get access to a CSP, subscribe to it on their website and purchase a ‘badge’ (an electronic login) which will give access to their system.

Cumulation: Rules that allow components and processing in certain partner countries to be considered for the acquisition/maintenance of preferential origin

Customs: The Government Service which is responsible for the administration of Customs law and the collection of duties and taxes and the responsibility for applying other laws and regulations relating to the importation, exportation, movement or storage of goods. 

Customs clearing agent/broker: A person/company that arranges the Customs clearance of goods on behalf of others and who deals directly with the Customs for and on behalf of another person/company. (WCO)

Customs controls: Regulations adhered to by the Customs authorities of the Member States with the aim of ensuring that the customs rules and other applicable trade provisions are adhered to, e.g. examining goods, documents or accounts, or carrying out investigations into the carriage of goods.

Customs debt: The obligation on a person/company to pay import or export duties under the provisions of the Community Customs Code and the Common Customs Tariff

Customs Declaration: The form completed and submitted to HMRC for both imports & Exports normally electronically, with data e.g. covering goods description, value. See also ICS/EMCS/NCTS-T1,T2 etc/CHIEF/CDS/C88/ETS

Customs Duties: The duties laid down in the Customs tariff to which goods are liable on entering or leaving the Customs territory. (Kyoto Convention)

Customs formalities: All activities which must be completed in order to comply with the Customs law.

Customs seal: A fastening that is affixed to goods, in accordance with certain Customs procedures (Customs transit, in particular) generally to prevent or to draw attention to any Unauthorised interference with the sealed items.

Customs Territory: A geographic area, covering two or more countries, which share the same custom regulations. Under Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, Northern Ireland and Great Britain will remain part of the same customs territory – although Northern Ireland will need to continue to follow EU custom rules.

Customs union: The merger of two or more customs territories in a way that customs duties and non-tariff barriers are eliminated between the members of the union for all trade, and a common customs tariff along with common rules for non-tariff barriers are introduced for all trade with countries outside of this union.

Customs value: The value of goods according to the customs rules for the purpose of applying ad valorem duties

Customs warehouse: A designated place where imported goods are stored under Customs control without payment of import duties and taxes. Might also be called a bonded warehouse or Excise warehouse.

DAP: Delivery At Place

DAP is a trade Incoterm that determines that a seller agrees to pay all costs and suffers all potential losses of moving goods to a specific location. Once the goods have arrived at the location the buyer takes responsibility for them and pays all import duties and taxes.

DDP (…named port of destination): Delivered Duty Duty Paid (…named port of destination). This form of trade refers to a door-to-door service. The seller is responsible for all costs involved in delivering the goods to a named destination and for clearing Customs in the country of import. The title & risk passes to the buyer when the seller delivers the goods to the destination, the seller bears the entire risk of loss until the goods are delivered to the final destination. 

Debtor: Any person liable for payment of a customs debt

Declarant: Any natural or legal person who makes a Customs Declaration or in whose name such a declaration is made. (WCO)

Declaration on arrival/departure: Any declaration that is required to be made or produced to the Customs authorities upon the arrival or departure of a means of transport by the person responsible for the means of transport or his agent and containing the necessary particulars relating to the means of transport and to the journey, cargo, stores, crew or passengers. (WCO)

Deconsolidation point : Place or location where loose or other non-containerised cargo is ungrouped for delivery. (ETSF/ITSF Customs Warehouse ICD)

Demurrage: A charge made by a shipping company or a port authority for failure to load or remove goods within the time allowed

DEP: Designated Export Place.

DG Cert: Dangerous Goods Certificate

A Dangerous Goods Certificate is a document that must accompany hazardous goods during transit. 

Drawback: The amount of import duties and taxes repaid under the drawback procedure. (Annex F, Kyoto Convention) it is one of the two variants of the inward processing procedure under which the import duties are paid at release for free circulation and refunded when the processed products or the goods in the unaltered state are re-exported. Many free-trade agreements don’t allow drawbacks if a preferential proof of origin is issued.

Drawback procedure: When goods are exported this is the Customs procedure that provides for a repayment (total or partial) to be made in respect of the import duties and taxes charged on the goods, or on the materials contained in them or consumed in their production. 

Dual-use Export Controls: The ‘dual-use’ label in international trade covers sensitive goods, services, software and technology that have both civilian and military applications. Pre-Brexit, most exports between EU member countries did not require licences, with the exception being for military items or dual-use goods listed in Annex IV of the EU Dual-Use Regulation 428/2009. 

From December 31, 2020, the date that the UK officially ceased to be part of the European trading bloc, shipments of dual-use items to EU countries will require export authorization in line with the British Export Control Order 2008. To help businesses comply with this, the Export Control Joint Unit, which administers and enforces the UK’s system of export controls and licensing, has published the Open General Export License (OGEL) for dual-use exports. 

Going the other way for exports from EU nations to the UK, businesses are advised to seek guidance from the relevant EU licensing authority at the individual state level. This is the same treatment with regards to sensitive exports to non-EU countries. 

DUCR: Declared Unique Consignment Reference

Duty relief: Duty relief is provided for outward processing of goods

e-AAD: Electronic Administrative Accompanying Document

ECR – Export Clearance Request:  An Export Clearance Request (also referred to as a C21 clearance) is a request, sent electronically to HMRC, to release export goods that do not require a formal customs declaration.

Economic Operator: An economic operator can be an importer, exporter, freight forwarder or declarant. 

EFD: Full Export Declaration

EIDR – Entry in Declarant’s Records: (EIDR) previously known as the Local Clearance Procedure (LCP), allows economic operators to release goods to a customs procedure without the need to provide a full customs declaration at the point of release using a simplified data set via an entry in their electronic commercial records. A supplementary declaration may be required at a later date providing the full fiscal and statistical information. When you declare your goods to a customs procedure by EIDR, you may need to notify HMRC that this has taken place.

EMCS: Excise Movement Control System

Entry Summary declarations (ENS): these are Security filings

EORI number: Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number

An EORI number is a unique number, allocated by HMRC, to a business that moves goods between Great Britain or the Isle of Man and any other country (including the EU). It begins with the 2-character country code of the issuing country and normally incorporates the VAT number of the business, followed by a 3 digit suffix.

EPU: Entry Processing Unit (Customs Control Point)

ERTS: Renamed to ETSF/ITSF

ERN –  Entry Reference Number: An ERN is used to identify a customs declaration in CHIEF. It consists of a 3-digit EPU (Entry Processing Unit)number, a 7 character entry reference number and the date of entry. For example 120-235680X-23/11/2022.

ETA: Estimated time of arrival

ETD: Estimated time of departure

ETSF: External Temporary Storage Facility – Many companies are now looking at setting up their own External Temporary Storage Facility (ETSF) to mitigate potential delays through UK customs. ETSF’s are often located further inland away from the port or frontier. RoRo (Roll-on Roll-off) traffic can exit the port quickly and the customs declarations can be conducted at the ETSF avoiding unnecessary delays. From July 2021, all Temporary Storage Facilities must be inventory linked.

EU: European Union (EU 27)

EU27: EU27 countries of the European Union excluding the UK

eurozone: The Euro area comprises 19 EU Member States which have adopted the Euro as their common currency and sole legal tender.

Examination of goods: the physical inspection of goods by the customs  will be to check the nature, origin, condition, quantity and value of the goods are all in accordance with the details provided on the Goods declaration form.

Excise duty: A tax on goods that are manufactured locally / A tax on quantity, not value)Generally levied on alcohol, tobacco, energy products (oil, gas, etc), vehicles or “luxury” products.

Export: The customs procedure of taking Community goods out of the customs territory.

Export duties: Export charges due against goods being exported

Export entry: a declaration utilised by the government into which the goods are taken in order to collect data and to ensure compliance with their legislation. In some countries it may also be used to collect export duties/taxes.

Export licence: A government document which permits the ‘Licensee’ to engage in the export of designated goods to certain destinations.

Exportation: The act of taking any goods out of the Customs territory.

Exporter: The person/company on whose behalf the export declaration is made and who is also the owner of the goods or has a similar right of disposal over them. It may also be the person who is partner of the export contract, the holder of an export license or who is entitled to export refunds

External Tariff: An import tariff applied equally by each country participating in a customs union, e.g. the EU might impose a common external tariff on imported whisky from Japan.

EXW ex-Works (named place): The seller makes the goods available to the buyer at the seller’s premises. The title & risk pass to the buyer at that point, including payment of all transportation and insurance costs from the seller’s door. The EXW price does not include the price of loading goods onto a vehicle. EXW terms of trade are used for many modes of transport.

FCA-Free Carrier: FCA is a trade Incoterm that determines that a seller of goods is responsible for the delivery of those goods to a destination (normally an airport or freight terminal) specified by the buyer. Once delivered, the buyer will then take responsibility for the goods for the rest of the journey.

FOB – Free on Board: FOB is a trade Incoterm that applies only to transport by sea or inland waterway. It determines that a seller is responsible for loading the purchased goods onto a ship, and all the costs associated. Once the goods are safely loaded onto the vessel, the risk transfers to the buyer who assumes responsibility for the goods for the rest of the journey.

Free Circulation: When goods are imported into the UK they must be brought into free circulation. Free circulation means that customs have cleared the goods, any duties and taxes have been paid and the goods can then be sold or used in the UK.

Freeport: Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply. 

Free Trade: A free trade agreement is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to exports and imports. Goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies or other restrictions being applied. 

Free zone, free warehouse: A territory or premises situated in the customs territory where import duties and commercial policy measures are suspended for non-Community goods, and Community goods can already benefit from measures requiring their export.

Freight: Goods transported in bulk by truck, train, ship or aircraft.

Freight Forwarder: A freight forwarder is an intermediary (a middle man) who manages the movement of goods on behalf of the cargo owner. They are experts at dealing with all the complicated administrative work that comes with moving goods from country to country, for example they liaise with ports, airports and carriers and complete customs documentation.

FSD –  Final Supplementary Declaration: An FSD is a requirement of customs simplified procedures (CFSP/CSDP). At the end of each month a final supplementary declaration has to be submitted summarising the activity of that authorisation. It includes the number of supplementary declarations submitted during that month as well as the number due to be submitted. It also includes the number of any supplementary declarations submitted late (related to previous months).

FTA: Free Trade Agreement

FWB: The FWB (Freight Waybill) is a message containing an electronic copy of a Master Air Waybill and is sometimes used in exports.

GSP: Generalised System of Preferences

GMR – Goods Movement Reference: A reference produced by the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) relating to a specific journey by a specific vehicle, detailing the goods being imported or exported in it.

Goods Release: The act whereby the customs authorities make goods available for the purposes specified in the customs procedure under which they are placed.

Government Gateway: The Government Gateway is a central place for registering to use online Government services. The User ID and password that will be received as part of the sign-up process will give access to many of HMRC’s digital customs services.

GVMS: The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is intended to facilitate movements via RoRo ports by reporting vehicle details and customs declaration references for goods being carried prior to arrival at the port of export. This is intended initially from 1st January 2021 to be used for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland (and limited circumstances from Northern Ireland to Great Britain) as well as for all goods moving under Transit from the EU. From July 2021 this will be extended to movements between GB and EU on both imports and exports via certain GB ports, primarily RoRo locations. The aim is that for goods arriving at ports operating GVMS, a pre-lodged or pre-arrival declaration (or Transit) would be required along with any Safety & Security declaration before any goods travel to the port of export and that GVMS will be used so that Hauliers, Port operators and carriers can use a single GVMS Reference to process on arrival and departure of a vehicle or trailer so that on arrival in NI or GB the majority of goods will be able to flow without further intervention.

Hand baggage/Carry: Hand Carry – Merchandise in Baggage (MIB) usually as carry on to an aeroplane.

Hard Border: A border controlled by any sort of infrastructure, or customs officials, police, or military personnel.

Hard Brexit: unofficial description used by the media to describe the prospective relationship between the UK and the EU after a No-Deal withdrawal from the EU. It usually refers to the UK leaving the EU and the European Single Market with few or no deals (trade or otherwise) in place, meaning that trade will be conducted under the World Trade Organization’s rules, and services will no longer be provided by agencies of the European Union.

Haulier: A person or business employed in the transport of goods or materials by road.

HMRC – His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs: HMCR is the tax authority of the UK government responsible for collecting taxes and enforcing customs, amongst other duties. 

HS: Harmonized System

IAR – Inter Airport Removal: The customs process of moving import goods from a temporary storage location at one airport to another temporary storage location at a different airport.

IATA Code – The International Air Transport Association Code: An IATA code is a unique 3-letter code used to identify an airport. For example, the IATA code for London Heathrow is ‘LHR’.

ICD: Inland Clearance Depot

ICS – Import Control System: If you import goods from outside the EU, you’ll need to use the Import Control System to tell customs that your goods are arriving before they leave the country they’re coming from for safety and security purposes. For the UK a new system GB Safety & Security will replace the current EU ICS System.

Import and Export Declarations: The are SAD and NES declarations made to UK’s HMRC

Import duties: Customs duties payable on imported goods, as well as import charges laid down under the common agricultural policy and specific arrangements for processed agricultural products

Import goods: Goods placed under a suspensive procedure and goods that have been released for free circulation under the inward processing drawback system.

Incoterms – International Commercial Terms: Incoterms are a set of 11 internationally recognised 3-letter trade terms. They describe the practical arrangements for the delivery of goods from sellers to buyers and allocate the obligations, costs and risks between the two parties. They are produced by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). 

Inventory Storage – (see also External Temporary Storage Facility) To link a computerised inventory system to HMRC you will need to join an approved Community Systems Provider. Approved providers are

  • Cargo Community Systems UK
  • Community Network Services
  • Maritime Cargo Processing
  • Pentant

Inward processing: A procedure allowing the import of goods for the purposes of processing and re-exporting them. The import duties are either suspended, together with commercial policy measures (suspension system), or initially paid and refunded at re-export (drawback system).

Inventory linked port or airport: Inventory linked ports or airports are locations that use an electronic inventory to control the movement/release of cargo. Customs declarations for cargo at these locations contain a reference to the associated inventory record and clearance of the declaration automatically updates the inventory record, allowing for the release of the goods.

IPR: Inward Processing Relief

ISD: Supplementary Declaration for Imports

JCCC: Joint Customs Consultative Committee, trade representation and Consultative Groups

Licence: Some controlled goods need a licence to import or export such as firearms, rough diamonds, fishery products, and some types of fertiliser, plants and medicines.

Manifest: For maritime and air transport, it is the document listing the cargo on board the transport. The document may be used for customs purposes, subject to prior authorisation, when it contains the necessary particulars, in particular with regard to the customs status of the goods and their identification.

Maritime: Maritime is a term used to describe anything related to the sea, to ships and to shipping.

MCP – Maritime Cargo Processing: Maritime Cargo Processing is a customs approved Community System Provider (CSP). A CSP provides electronic inventory control computer systems that connect to CHIEF and CDS (the national computer systems for HMRC) and electronically monitor and process the import and export information of temporary storage facilities at inventory linked ports and airports. There are five CSPs in the UK that cover a variety of inventory linked ports and airports and MCP is one of them. MCP’s inventory control computer system is called Destin8. Destin8 by MCP is used for maritime container and Roll-on-Roll-off (RoRo) traffic at over 100 UK seaports. To use Destin8, subscribe to it on the MCP website and pay for a ‘badge’ (an electronic login) which will give access to their system.

Member State Administration: Country Government of an EU member state

MFN – Most Favoured Nation: under WTO agreements all counties should be treated equally, a country should not grant certain countries special rates – this would become a most favoured nation

Modernised Customs Code: Regulation (EC) No 450/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2008 (Official Journal L 145, 04.06.2008, p.1. ). This Regulation lays down the general rules and procedures applicable to goods brought into or out of the customs territory of the Community. The code aims to facilitate trade by simplifying and computerising customs procedures and ensuring the interoperability between the IT systems of the customs administrations, while ensuring a high level of safety and security at the external borders. It was adopted in 2013

MRN – Movement Reference Number: An MRN is an 18-character customs identification reference that is generated by CDS (the national computer system for HMRC) each time an import or export declaration is accepted by CDS. The reference is unique, forming the primary key (main reference) of a customs declaration.

MUCR – Master Unique Consignment Reference: A MUCR is a 35 character main reference allocated by a trader to an import or export consignment of goods and entered on relevant customs declarations. For imports, it represents the key to an inventory record and is the mechanism whereby the declaration is inventory-linked. For exports, it represents a consolidation (or grouping) of one or more DUCRs (Declaration Unique Consignment References). For example, if a container contains a number of consignments from different exporters, each of which has a DUCR, rather than having to quote individual DUCRs, a single Master UCR (MUCR) can be quoted to refer to all the consignments in the container. Inventory systems etc can advise CDS (the national computer system for HMRC) that each of the Declaration UCRs (DUCRs) are associated with a single Master UCR (MUCR). Subsequently they then only need to quote the MUCR to refer to all the declarations.

Multimodal: Multimodal means moving goods from origin to destination using more than one mode of transport. This could be by rail, ship, barge, truck or ship of any combination of those. Several different carriers can operate each part of the journey under one contract or bill of lading, meaning that one company is responsible for the goods for the entire journey.

NCTS – New Computerised Transit System: a system of electronic declaration and processing that traders must use to submit Common or Union Transit and Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) declarations electronically.

NCH: National Clearance Hub – open 24/7 as a Fiscal Control Centre for UK Customs

NES: New Export System/National Export System – Export Declaration

New computerised transit system (NCTS): Electronic data interchange system which was introduced as the transit declaration and is due to replace the traditional paper procedure in the Community as well as in the EFTA countries (Iceland, Norway, Switzerland), can be used for Internal and External Union transit procedures. Used to transfer data and communicate with customs authorities.

Non Inventory linked: A non inventory linked port is a port that does not use an electronic inventory system to monitor and control the movement/release of cargo. A customs declaration for cargo at these ports requires manual release of the goods once the declaration is cleared.

Northern Ireland Protocol: New Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland and Political Declaration relating to trade between the UK, Northern Ireland and The EU and relates to the border between the Republic of Ireland (in the EU) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK).

Origin of goods: Origin is the “economic” nationality of goods in international trade. It is necessary to determine the origin of goods as any duties and/or equivalent charges or any customs restrictions or obligations applicable to them will depend on their origin. This is often important for the components of larger items, e.g. motor car engines.

Outward processing: This is a customs procedure allowing the export of Community goods for processing abroad and the re-import of the processed products under total or partial duty relief

Packing list: This indicates how the goods for export are packed, identifies the contents of the boxes and provides the volumes, weights and dimensions of each parcel in the consignment. Required by Customs when goods are exported or imported, and it must be able to be produced and seen.

PCC – Processing under Customs Control: A procedure allowing goods to be imported under suspension of import duties and commercial policy measures for the purposes of processing and subsequent release for free circulation at a more favourable import duty.

Pentant: Descartes Pentant is a leading Community System Provider (CSP) in the UK, providing a secure and reliable link to H.M. Revenue & Customs’ CHIEF System for Carriers; Freight Forwarders; Port, Wharf, Terminal, and Inland Freight facility operators; Fast Parcel Operators; Warehouse and Distribution centres. Pentant Badges are suitable for both inventory and non-inventory clearances at Dover, and all non-inventory ports. (See Chief Badges above).

PHA – Port Health Authorities: Port health authorities are usually the UK local authority (the organisation officially responsible for all public services and facilities in a particular area) where a port or airport is located. They have a responsibility to protect the public, environmental and animal health of the UK. Some are specially created local authorities for seaports where the port area is covered by more than one local authority. These authorities carry out a range of health controls at the UK borders. These include checks on imported food, inspecting ships and aircraft for food safety and infectious disease control, as well as general public and environmental health checks.

Phytosanitary Certificate: A phytosanitary certificate is often required when importing or exporting any agricultural products. These documents verify that plants or plant products being shipped have been inspected and are deemed free from quarantine pests according to the importing country’s phytosanitary regulations

Point of unloading: The location/point of delivery where goods are unloaded or signed for..

Port Badge: Also known as a “Badge”. individual Port Badges or “identities” are required for each inventory linked port, or inland UK customs clearance site, and their related Port Community System (See CSP above) it is for these systems that you will need a port badge.

Principal: The person who places goods under the transit procedure, even if this is done by an authorised representative.

Processing operations: Covers the working of goods, including assembling them or fitting them to other goods, the processing of goods, the repair of goods, including restoring them and putting them in order. Usually used for the temporary import of goods for repairs prior to being re-exported once fixed.

Proof of origin: Proof that the goods fulfil the origin requirements laid down may be required

PVA – Postponed VAT Accounting: VAT registered businesses can sign up for PVA so that they can account for the VAT due on imported goods in their quarterly returns instead of paying the VAT at the time of arrival of goods into the UK.

Quantitative restrictions: Specific numerical limits on the quantity or value of goods that can be imported (or exported) during a specific period.

Quota: The quantity of goods that may be imported into a country without restriction or imposition of additional duties, relates to specific goods.

Re-exportation: Customs treatment of non-Community goods that are taken out of the customs territory.

Release: The act whereby the customs authorities make goods available for the purposes specified in the customs procedure under which they are placed.

Registered baggage: Baggage which, once registered in the departure airport, is neither accessible to the traveller during the flight nor at the stopover if there is one. This luggage is carried in the baggage hold of the plane

RoRo: Roll-on, Roll-off. Refers to vehicles, usually Heavy Goods Vehicles, entering and exiting a ferry using their own wheels.

Rules of Origin: The process of identifying where components in a finished product (such as a car) originate from and whether any duty (tax) needs to be paid. – refer to Origin of Goods

SAD – Single Administrative document (C88): A Single Administrative Document or SAD (also known as form C88 in the UK) is the main customs form used in international trade to or from the European Union’s Customs Union. Traders and agents can use the SAD to assist with declaring import, export, transit and community status declarations when electronic systems fail and manual processing of declarations is required.

Safety & Security declarations: Import Control System / Entry Notification System

Seal: In international shipping, all containers must be secured (sealed) with at least one seal before a shipping line will allow it to be shipped. A seal is a tag with a number secured around the lock of a shipping container after being loaded. A seal on a container cannot be opened without cutting it. Because it can only be removed once, the container will remain unopened until it is delivered to the buyer. Each seal should be identifiable by a series of numbers and letters. This is called the seal number. When the container has reached its destination, the buyer should verify if the seal number is the same as the one listed in the Bill of Lading. The supplier is responsible for entering the correct seal number(s) during shipping instructions. An unbroken seal proves that the container has not been contaminated or had things removed from it.

Sensitive goods: A range of goods for which the Community guaranteeing associations have withdrawn the TIR guarantee

SFD – Simplified Frontier Declaration: A Simplified Frontier Declaration (SFD) contains the minimum amount of information needed to be submitted at the frontier to enable import release of the goods. It can only be used by a trader authorised to use simplified customs declaration procedures (SCDP/CFSP).

Shed: A shed is a warehouse managed by an air carrier where goods are stored.

Simplified procedures: Relates to Authorised Economic Operators and is any procedure that simplifies the process of submitting declarations to HMRC – AEO speeds up application

Status 1: A term used in the CCS-UK air freight import inventory system that refers to the date and time at which the number of packages physically received for a shipment first matched the number expected according to the documentation.

T1: The status of goods moving under transit. T1 refers to goods that are not in free circulation within the EU. Movements of goods starting in Great Britain will almost always have T1 status. Movements of goods starting in Northern Ireland will be treated as T2 goods if they are in free circulation, or T1 goods if they are not in free circulation.

T2: The status of goods moving under transit. T2 refers to goods that are in free circulation within the EU. Movements of goods starting in Northern Ireland will be treated as T2 goods if they are in free circulation.

TAD (Transit Accompanying Document): The TAD accompanies the goods where a transit declaration is processed at an office of departure by the NCTS. Copies A and B of the TAD replace copies No 4 and No 5 of the SAD. The TAD corresponds to the specimen and notes in Appendix III, Annexes D3 and D4 Convention/Annex 45a IPC.

TARIC: Integrated tariff of the Community, held in a Commission database containing EC import and export measures applicable to specific goods, such as tariff suspensions, tariff quotas, tariff preferences, anti-dumping duties, quantitative restrictions, embargoes, export

Temporary Admission: Having a Temporary Admission authorisation will allow traders to keep their imported goods in the UK for up to 2 years before being re-exported. They will not be required to pay import duty or VAT on these goods.

Temporary storage: There are two types of temporary storage facilities:

1) An External Temporary Storage Facility (ETSF) is an approved place situated outside the appointed area of an approved port/airport where chargeable goods may be held until they are assigned to a customs approved treatment or use.

2) An Internal Temporary Storage Facility (ITSF) is an approved place situated within the appointed area of an approved port/airport where chargeable goods are held in temporary storage until they are assigned a customs approved treatment for use. ITSFs may also be used for the storage of goods subject to export control. An ITSF can also be a point of first presentation to customs and goods can be directly re-exported from an ITSF.

TIN – Tax Identification Number: This is an identifying number used for tax purposes 

TIR carnet: Document facilitating transit, serves as both a customs declaration and as a guarantee in countries that are a contracting party to the TIR Convention.

TIR carnet holder: The company authorised by Customs to use TIR carnets

TIR Convention: The Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets, 1975

TIR guarantee: The amount of the security (money) covering the duties and taxes at risk. The TIR Convention recommends the amount of the guarantee should be $50,000 per TIR carnet. The EU Community has fixed the amount at 60,000 EURO per TIR carnet

TradePhlo: TradePhlo is a convenient and efficient cloud-based platform designed for submitting customs declarations with ease. This application simplifies the process of submitting your customs declarations, making it hassle-free and accessible from anywhere. Find out more on 

Trade tariff: refer to commodity codes, duty and VAT

Transit Shed Operator (TSO) : Company who owns/runs shed at airport e.g. British Airways,

TSS – Trader Support Service: UK Government service to help traders moving goods to NI including the filing of Customs Declarations where traders are unable to do this themselves.

UCC – Union Customs Code: The Union Customs Code (UCC) is a key element of the ongoing actions to modernise EU customs. It provides a framework for customs procedures and rules in the EU customs territory adapted to modern communication tools and modern trade realities. The key principle for the UCC is that all customs declarations should be electronic. It also aims for the harmonisation of customs procedures across the member states, to increase the safety and security of goods and to streamline processes.

UCN – Unique Consignment Number: A reference, allocated by a CSP inventory system, that uniquely identifies a consignment of goods held in a maritime temporary storage inventory.

UCR – Unique Consignment Reference: A reference, usually allocated by a consignor (sender), that uniquely identifies a consignment of goods.

UKBF: United Kingdom Border Force

ULD: Aircraft Unit Load Device – A standard-sized aircraft container unit that is used to facilitate the rapid loading and unloading of aircraft all ULD’s have compatible handling and restraint systems. 

UN/LOCODE – United Nations Code for Trade and Transport Locations: The UN/LOCODE is a geographic coding scheme developed and maintained by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). UN/LOCODE assigns codes to locations used in trade and transport for places such as seaports, rail and road terminals, airports, Postal Exchange Office and border crossing points. 

UVI – Unique Vessel Identifier: A unique reference number used to identify registered ships.

VAT – Value Added Tax: VAT is a UK tax which applies to most goods imported into the UK.

VAT Postponed Accounting : UK VAT-registered persons can account for the VAT on UK imported goods on their VAT returns, paying and recovering import VAT on the same VAT return.