BT collaborates with CCS-UK for air freight
The new electronic fallback system will prevent meltdown in the UK’s air cargo industry of a prolonged outage of HMRC’s vital customs handling.
The air cargo industry plays a major role in the UK economy; according to a report issued by the Airports Commission in 2015, around 40 per cent by value of UK’s trade outside the EU is transported by air, with the total value of tradable goods through UK airports exceeding £140 billion in 2014.
The new CCS-UK capability is designed to prevent the catastrophic impact of a major system failure, which would cause cargo backlogs and mayhem at UK airports, and cost the economy tens of millions of pounds.
‘CCS-UK Fallback’ allows authorised traders to continue processing customs export declarations in the event of any significant system outage, and receive automatic fallback clearance to ship goods without delay. Import entries will also receive fallback clearance, avoiding the backlogging that would result from manual customs clearance. Designed by BT for CCS-UK, the fallback system – once triggered - will function for up to 30 days; as soon as CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) returns to normal operation, CCSUK Fallback will transmit all stored entries for processing in the normal way.
The new service is unique to the CCS-UK community and is being provided at no additional cost to its users.
BT (which built and operates CCS-UK), and the CCS-UK user group (which represents the user community) have spent three years working on CCS-UK Fallback, collaborating closely with HMRC and the industry to develop the solution.
Says Steve Parker, Head of Customs for Europe, DHL and Chairman, CCS-UK User Group, “With growing air freight volumes through our major airports, the advent of Heathrow’s third runway, potential additional pressures on Customs systems following Brexit and an ageing HMRC computer system scheduled for replacement in the next few years, there has never been a greater need for the added resilience that this new feature will deliver.”
In addition to providing protection from unplanned outages, CCS-UK Fallback will also smooth the eventual transition from CHIEF to its replacement (CDS), enabling the air cargo industry to continue functioning as normal in the event of any teething problems with the new hardware or software. Colm O’Neill, Managing Director, Major Business and Public Sector at BT, adds, “BT’s technology facilitates the import and export of goods into and out of the country “
(L to R) David Bowen (Director of Contract Management, BT Business and Public Sector), Laura Lucking (Deputy Director, Customs - HMRC) and Steve Parker (Chairman, CCS-UK User Group) at the BT Tower.