Active Products transition to new Customs Declaration Service with Descartes


One of the UK’s many SME importers, Active Products (UK) Ltd, has successfully become an early adopter of HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) new Customs Declaration Service (CDS), following advice and support from Descartes Systems UK Ltd.

Formed in 2003, Active Products is a privately owned company that has been supplying a diverse range of products, spanning lighting, automotive, building, gardening, leisure and household ranges to DIY, Superstore and Mail Order companies as well as the wholesale sector. The company operates a bonded warehouse, which allows it to defer duty and VAT payments on imports. It was for this reason, combined with the available resource within the business, that Descartes suggested Active Products would benefit from the early transition.

Donna Ray, Office & Finance Manager, Active Products (UK) Ltd, commented: “As a small business, we have undoubtedly benefited from the individual support we received in migrating to CDS early. As a long-standing user of Descartes eCustoms platform, we were grateful for being selected and consider their guidance invaluable in the process.”

Since early 2019, Active Products has been using Descartes’ eCustoms system for its CDS import declarations, as part of the migration from HMRC’s legacy Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. Following the technical release of CDS in August 2018, Descartes worked closely with HMRC to prepare Active Products as one of their first three traders for making the first declarations using the new system. Since its go-live, Descartes has continued to help ensure Active Products remains compliant with CDS upgrades and future releases.

“We’re pleased that our eCustoms software has helped Active Products UK achieve compliance with the requirements of CDS ahead of the curve,” said Pól Sweeney, Vice President of UK Sales and Business Management at Descartes. “We take our responsibility to both larger and smaller traders very seriously. Despite CHIEF and CDS running in parallel, all organisations will need to address the changes between the systems, which are not only technical but also around the rules of completion and data required to comply with the EU Union Customs Code. Our proactive approach can help ensure all organisations make the transition to CDS in a seamless manner.”