SAD-H Deadline Approaches: BIFA Cautions ‘Don’t Let It be Big Bang After All’

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) is alerting the UK international freight community that it must not sleepwalk into a Big Bang on January 20 2008 when dual-running of the old and new data formats for Customs declarations ceases.

Feltham, United Kingdom, December 23, 2007 --( Failure to migrate to the new SAD-H data format in good time could prove very costly for freight companies and their clients as Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is unlikely to accept entries in the ‘old’, current data format to its central declaration processing system, CHIEF.

Peter Quantrill, BIFA Director General, is keen to point out that as a trade body working to promote the interests of its members and the wider freight industry, it is in no-one’s interest to overlook the implementation of the new format.

“We agree with those BIFA members who opted to become early adopters of this new data format for Customs declarations and who advise that the sooner the switch is made the better. They found that while there are significant differences and new codes to learn and adapt to, it is not particularly difficult to become familiar with the new format. This is especially true of straightforward entries,” says Mr Quantrill.

There is a concern that the longer companies put off making the required switch, the riskier the outcome for the project becomes as it is important to achieve realistic volume testing of the new format while the dual-running of fall-back arrangements is in place.

“It would seem that the hoped-for gradual migration over the three months transition period since last October could turn into more of a ‘big bang’ scenario, unless those who have yet to begin making Customs declarations in the new format switch across quickly. BIFA, HMRC and much of the industry had hoped to avoid this,” Mr Quantrill adds.

HMRC has acknowledged that there have been some teething troubles, such as issues around prohibitions, restrictions and route 1 profiling. However, these should be resolved by the end of the dual-running period, if not well before, and should not be a reason to hang back from the switch. HMRC is also operating its SAD-H helpline/support unit until April 4, 2008 for import or general enquiries, which will give support to those who have switched later to the new format and to CFSP users.

British International Freight Association
Ian Matheson
++44 (0)1689 860660