The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has confirmed that elements of the online CDS eLearning course that it launched in Autumn 2021 to help prepare BIFA members and others to operate HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will start to be incorporated into the trade association’s other online live customs training courses from this month.

“There has been a great response to the CDS eLearning course since it was launched. In response to feedback from the 200 plus delegates who have taken the course, we decided to start adding content including useful CHIEF/CDS correlation tables, to our other customs-related training courses,” explains executive director Carl Hobbis, who manages BIFA’s training activities.

He adds: “Despite having to deliver our entire portfolio of courses online in 2021, it was an excellent year for the trade association’s training programmes.

“Over 1,000 learners were trained during our video conferencing sessions and a further 1,000 plus have completed our various eLearning courses.

“They say that success breeds success and this month will see the appointment of an additional full-time trainer to our training delivery team.

“Feedback from delegates on the CDS eLearning course, reveals that nearly 60% of learners would prefer face-to-face sessions, but the new variant has put a stop to the reintroduction of the classroom sessions that we had just started to implement, which is disappointing.”

The CDS eLearning training launched in September 2021 and was developed by BIFA in conjunction with leading Customs software firm Agency Sector Management (ASM) to educate users on the main differences between CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) and CDS.

Since its introduction, the course has had over 200 enrolments and provides hands on tuition, practical exercises and a technical resource, finishing with an assessment.

BIFA director general, Robert Keen adds that the trade association took the initiative and worked with ASM to create a relevant training course to help BIFA members understand and implement the different working methods involved with the new system, which HMRC announced would replace CHIEF in a phased transition ending in April 2023.

He says that the CDS eLearning course is suitable for anyone completing Customs declarations and covers the main differences between CHIEF and CDS to enable users to submit Customs declarations for exports and imports via the new system no matter which software supplier is used.

The course consists of eight modules, which offer an introduction to CDS; as well as the data elements required, and the UK Trade Tariff and customs procedure codes. Other modules cover commercial relationships, arrangements and valuation; methods of payment and authorisations; as well as documents, certifications and authorisations indicators.

Simulation exercises and an assessment will enable all delegates to check their knowledge and understanding about future import and export declaration processes, putting into practice what they have learnt on each module.

Keen concludes: “Whilst dual-running of both systems will continue, we know enough about the new CDS system to be confident in offering a training course to BIFA members and others that provides cost effective and invaluable advice and information. It is designed to help them to prepare for when CDS will serve as the UK’s single customs platform at the end of March 2023.”

Companies interested in BIFA’s new CDS eLearning course can find out full details here:

To register interest e-mail