9. Section 3: Border industry and port requirements
Infrastructure requirements for Sanitary and Phytosanitary controls
Live animals, animal products, high risk food and feed of non-animal origin and medium and high risk plants and plant products must come through a port of entry with the relevant Border Control Post (BCP), previously known as a Border Inspection Post (BIP). Once the goods arrive, any necessary identity and physical checks will be carried out. A list of Border Control Posts for animals and animal products is published here on GOV.UK and will continue to be updated, as well as a list of authorised Border Control Posts for plant imports here on GOV.UK.
Most Border Control Posts will be positioned within a port or airport to support trade passing through the port. Rest of World goods are already subject to controls which require a Border Control Post and these are already in place at the relevant ports. Ports have been considering what changes may be required to their operating models in order to facilitate the introduction of controls on EU goods. This will primarily be changes to staffing and infrastructure requirements to reflect the check rates outlined in this document. If a port is no longer able to carry out checks on particular types of goods, traders would need to find an alternative route to import their goods into the country. However, it is in the interests of port operators to facilitate the necessary trade where there is demand. Most Border Control Post facilities are complete and ready to undertake checks, or are ready to receive final designation in advance of being required.
The requirement for Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods to enter through a point of entry with a Border Control Post also applies to international rail freight. The Official Controls Regulations only allow import checks to be performed beyond the point of entry in limited and specified circumstances. Defra is in discussions with industry on practical solutions to comply with these requirements for goods arriving via rail through the Channel Tunnel.
New or modified Border Control Posts in anticipation of the Border Target Operating Model regime will need to be designated by the relevant authorities in order to handle checks: Defra/Animal and Plant Health Agency and Food Standards Agency for England; Welsh Government Ministers for Wales; Animal and Plant Health Agency, Food Standards Scotland, Competent Authorities and Scottish Government Ministers for Scotland.
Inspection of plant and plant products can also take place at Control Points. These are designated inland inspection facilities where identity and physical checks can take place under supervision. Goods moved to a Control Points are under customs control and cannot be opened until the inspector (or authorised operator) is present.
Early engagement with the relevant authorities is recommended as there is likely to be high demand for designation in advance of the introduction of controls. Ports which have constructed new Border Control Posts supported by the Ports Infrastructure Fund should continue to engage with their Cabinet Office Single Point Of Contact.
9.2 Inland Sites
Where ports did not have sufficient land to build a Border Control Post to facilitate the introduction of Sanitary and Phytosanitary controls on EU goods, arrangements were made for the Government(s) to construct Border Control Posts at Inland Sites.
The provision of inland Border Control Post facilities in Kent for goods entering the UK through the Short Straits (Port of Dover and Eurotunnel) is being reviewed. A decision will be published soon on the future of both Sevington and Bastion Point Border Control Posts. Facilities will be operational from the introduction of checks in April 2024.
Plans are being developed for Border Control Posts to provide facilities for goods entering the UK through the ports in Holyhead and South West Wales. The facilities in Wales are expected to be operational from October 2024, in line with the timetable for the west coast.
Plans for other Inland Sites may be developed if deemed necessary following further analysis of expected check requirements.
Maps of the current Border Control Posts designated for Sanitary and Phytosanitary controls in Great Britain are set out at Annex F.
Charging arrangements at Inland Sites
It is the UK Government’s intention that there will be charging at Inland Sites to recover operating costs which are necessary to undertake physical inspections at Border Control Posts.
The UK Government has consulted on its proposed methodology and rates to inform charging levels. The proposal is to administer a Common User Charge on each consignment which enters through Port of Dover and Eurotunnel that is eligible for Sanitary and Phytosanitary checks. The charge would apply to all eligible consignments, whether or not they are selected for a Border Control Post inspection. The indicative Common User Charge rate is estimated to be in the region of £20-£43, however final rates will be determined following evaluation of the consultation responses. Supplementary information on charging arrangements at Inland Sites will be published in autumn 2023.
The UK Government continues to work closely with the Devolved Governments on charging policy, and is working towards extending these arrangements to cover other government-run Border Control Posts within Great Britain in the future.
HMRC is also exploring options on how to operate inland border facility services on a commercial basis and will engage stakeholders on these plans as they develop.
Live animal facilities
Live animals imported from the EU are currently subject to checks at their destination, and this will continue until border infrastructure is ready to move checks to Border Control Posts, expected to be during 2024. We will publish supplementary information on arrangements for live animals facilities at inland sites, and potential funding available for additional facilities at ports as these plans are developed.
Other border infrastructure
The changes described in this document to other aspects of the border, in particular the new Safety and Security model, do not have an immediate impact on the infrastructure required at ports. Over the next two years we are also improving our existing nuclear detection capability and infrastructure which will improve the flow of goods through the UK border. We will start to automate our wider detection estate which will further facilitate the flow of goods and enhance security at a number of ports. We plan to expand to more ports and enhance that automation from 2025 onwards. The Home Office has already started to engage with industry on its plans and will run further engagement over spring 2023: it is critical that industry and government work together to deliver innovative detection technology, logistics automation and enabling infrastructure (physical and technical).
10. Section 4: Implementation timeline for the Border Target Operating Model
10.1 Border Target Operating Model implementation timeline
The new Border Target Operating Model will require technological and process change across the public and private sector organisations that deliver the border.
After engaging with stakeholders and considering both the implementation challenges they raised, alongside the existing and emerging biosecurity and security threats they highlighted, we have decided to slightly alter the timeline we originally published in the draft version of the Border Target Operating Model. This will give businesses and their supply-chains the time they need to prepare. We have also set out further detail on the timeline for implementing controls on movements from the island of Ireland at ports on the West Coast of Great Britain, which are explained in Section 2.
- Our key considerations when developing the timeline have been:
- the need for effective management of the country’s biosecurity and security risks.
- the need to give businesses sufficient time to implement the model in their systems and processes.
- the need to ensure supply chains have time to adapt and are not disrupted.
- the speed at which we can work with stakeholders to build the systems and infrastructure required under the new model, including the rollout of the UK Single Trade Window.
The three major milestones for introduction of the model (other than for goods moving from the island of Ireland) are:
- 31 January 2024 – Export health certificates and phytosanitary certificates are introduced for medium risk animal products and plant and plant products imported to Great Britain from the EU.
- 30 April 2024 – Documentary checks and physical and identity checks at the border are introduced for medium risk animal products, plant and plant products imported to Great Britain from the EU. The removal of health certification and routine checks on low risk animal products, plants, plant products from the rest of the world as well as reduction in physical and identity check levels on medium-risk Rest of World animal products.
- 31 October 2024 – Safety and Security declarations for EU imports will come into force. A reduced dataset introduced for imports and use of the UK Single Trade Window will remove duplication where possible across different pre-arrival datasets – such as Safety and Security, and pre-lodged customs declarations.
- For goods moving from the island of Ireland, refer to Section 2 of this document
Importers and their supply chains should already be preparing for the first milestone with more time now available to ensure readiness. They should now begin to prepare for the second and third milestones.
- We will publish further detail to support businesses and their supply chains to prepare. We will publish this detail through supplementary annexes to the Border Target Operating Model, and further guidance, that will be published on GOV.UK. A timeline for the publication of this further detail is set out in Annex H. We intend to work closely with importers and the border industry and will create a business readiness group that we will use to continue consultation with businesses on the further guidance and support they require to prepare.
10.2 Timeline for implementation of controls on Irish goods arriving direct from Ireland to Great Britain ports
In line with the introduction of border controls on EU imports set out within the Border Target Operating Model, businesses will face new checks and controls when moving Irish goods (i.e any good which is not a Qualifying Northern Ireland goods) from Irish ports (e.g. Dublin Port and Rosslare Europort) directly to Great Britain (e.g Liverpool port and Holyhead port). As well as implementing the new biosecurity and security controls set out in this Border Target Operating Model on Irish goods moving direct from Ireland to Great Britain, we will also bring in full customs controls for these movements, changing the current arrangements that apply when these goods arrive into Great Britain ports receiving traffic from Irish ports.
We want to work with stakeholders to ensure the introduction of these controls is done effectively.
In line with the wider Border Target Operating Model, on 31 January 2024 we will introduce pre-notification for low and medium-risk Irish animal products, and medium-risk plant and plant products moving directly from Ireland into Great Britain ports. Alongside this, full customs controls will be introduced for goods moving directly from Ireland into Great Britain ports. Export Health Certificates and Phytosanitary Certificates will be introduced for Irish medium risk animal products, plant and plant products moving directly from Ireland into Great Britain ports.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary documentary, physical and identity checks for non-qualifying goods moving from the island of Ireland to Great Britain will be introduced from 31 October 2024[footnote 6] at ports on the West Coast of Great Britain. Safety and Security declarations will be introduced for these goods in October 2024 in line with the wider Border Target Operating Model timelines. This ensures that importers, ports and the authorities have time to prepare for these controls to be turned on, to ensure smooth operations from the outset at these crucial entry points.
Summary timeline for implementation of the Border Target Operating Model
Navigating this section
This section sets out three timelines to help the private sector understand and prepare for future changes at the border.
- A summary timeline setting out how the new Border Target Operating model will be implemented between 31 January 2024 and October 2024 (other than for goods moving directly from Ireland to Great Britain ports as noted above).
- A summary and timeline of the systems changes that occur over the next 2 years in order to deliver the Border Target Operating model.
- A summary roadmap that sets out how all of the Government’s changes at the border ahead of 2025 will positively impact the experience of trading for importers and exporters.
10.3 Systems Roadmap and timeline to deliver the Border Target Operating Model
A high level roadmap of the systems changes required to implement the Border Target Operating Model is outlined below.
In addition to the development of technical solutions to support the delivery of the Border Target Operating Model, we will continue with existing systems migration programmes, including migrating users onto Customs Declaration Service (from CHIEF: Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) and Import of Products, Animal, Food and Feed System (from PEACH) in line with publicised timelines and guidance. The rollout of the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) Version 5 will continue with traders submitting transit declarations through this platform from November 2023 in line with existing guidance.
We have also ensured the new model aligns with existing systems like Customs Declaration Service (CDS). We established the 999L code in CDS as a temporary arrangement and, with implementation of the Border Target Operating Model, it is appropriate for its use for imports to end. We will replace 999L with specific and targeted relief codes for import declarations that will be communicated in due course ahead of their implementation from January 2024. Code 999L will remain available for export declarations until January 2025.
Development of the Single Trade Window is already underway. The initial feature release will allow traders to submit Safety and Security entry summary declarations and customs import declarations using either a new web application or STW hosted APIs. The existing S&SGB and CDS APIs will still be available for those traders and software developers who do not wish to use STW at this time.
Other changes to government systems to support the implementation of the Border Target Operating Model are described below.
Implementation of Common Health Entry Documents (CHEDs) pre-notifications: CHEDs will replace the Import Notifications (IMPs) currently required for agri-food imports from the EU. The existing Defra system for pre-notification currently used by traders to pre-notify imports of products of animal origin (CHED-P), live animals (CHED-A) and high risk food and feed not of animal origin (CHED-D) from outside of the EU will be made available for EU imports in line with the schedule outlined above.
Importers of plants and plant products currently using the legacy pre-notification system (PEACH) are encouraged to move to the improved IPAFFS solution, however, trade can continue to use PEACH to pre-notify non-EU imports until they migrate.
Driver messaging: From April 2024, hauliers and drivers moving Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods into the country using the Goods Vehicle Movement Services (GVMS) to clear customs will be notified of inspection requirements and location via the existing Inspection Location Service. In cases where Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods being imported under CTC transit are required to attend an inspection a new IPAFFS messaging service will be utilised. The alerts will be delivered by text or email depending on the contact details provided when the CHED pre-notification is submitted.
Entry Summary Declarations (ENS): Technical work to support the reduced data requirement will start in August 2023 and will be enabled on the Safety and Security Import Declarations API from October 2024. Adoption of the reduced data set is optional and carriers with existing technical solutions can continue to use them without making any changes. For carriers and software providers wishing to use the reduced data set, technical specifications will be made available later in 2023 and more detail will be provided on the HMRC developer hub in due course.
All advance Safety and Security data for Great Britain movements will be risked through the existing S&SGB system, as well as Cerberus. This is a risking capability which will allow users to network and analyse diverse cross modal transactional and contextual datasets in real time, recognising Organised Crime Groups operate across modes and commodities and improving targeting effectiveness.
Further information to support the implementation of the Border Target Operating Model will be issued according to the timeline set out in Annex h.
The systems map on the following page identifies the major government systems operating in the border.
10.4 UK Single Trade Window delivery plan and timeline
A Single Trade Window
In the UK Border Strategy, the Government committed to deliver a world leading Single Trade Window (STW) to help UK businesses take advantage of new trading relationships and enhance the UK’s position as a global trading partner.
The UK Single Trade Window will provide a simplified, secure gateway where traders and intermediaries will be able to meet their border obligations by submitting information to Government in one place.
A key principle for the Single Trade Window is the streamlining of data submissions to make life simpler for users by collecting data once, redistributing it to where it is required and reusing it where appropriate. The Single Trade Window will remove duplication where possible, so Government is not asking for the same data for different purposes repeatedly. This unification of border-related data sets will be visible to users from the first release of functionality and will continue to draw in additional datasets as the Single Trade Window delivers over time.
The Single Trade Window will bring together other border services and provide features that benefit users, such as applying for, and managing, licences to trade. By reducing and simplifying duplicated processes and data requirements, the Single Trade Window will ease administrative burdens and transform user experiences at the border.
The UK economy will benefit too as the Single Trade Window will provide real time data and up to date information for better risk management and safety. This will enable more targeted interventions to speed up the process for legitimate trade across the border.
Preparing to deliver the UK Single Trade Window
The Single Trade Window is a cross-Government programme, delivering benefits to all of the UK. The Cabinet Office owns development of the overall customer journey in line with Border Strategy ambitions. HMRC is the lead delivery department, working in partnership with all agencies responsible for border processes and IT systems, including those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. More than 25 Government departments and agencies have a presence at the border and all are involved in the Single Trade Window’s design and delivery. This collaboration will ensure that users receive a single, unified experience as these agencies will be collectively responsible for the alignment, design and delivery of the legal, policy, operational, technical and service integration activity needed to deliver an effective Single Trade Window.
Preparatory work to deliver the Single Trade Window is well underway. An Invitation to Tender for a Technical Delivery Partner (TDP) was published in November 2022 and closed in January 2023. In May 2023, Deloitte, working with IBM, were appointed to build, deliver and maintain the Single Trade Window. Drawing on their previous experience, Deloitte and IBM have already started to build the necessary IT and technical foundations and will now work across Government, ensuring the service design and delivery of the Single Trade Window is fit for now and the future.
The Single Trade Window will be introduced through a series of strategic releases, each one adding greater functionality and delivering an improved user experience, whilst incorporating feedback from earlier iterations. The Single Trade Window will ultimately become the single entry point for users to submit border data to border agencies.
HMRC is procuring Software as a Service, which uses cloud-based technology. This approach will provide greater long-term flexibility and configurability, minimise technical resource requirements and enable us to respond and adapt according to industry needs.
The Government is learning from other Single Trade Windows around the world and planning how the platform can be future proofed as part of our exploration phases. This international insight, combined with our detailed work with industry on design, will help us to shape a Single Trade Window that is world leading and meets the specific needs and opportunities that the UK border presents.
While it is being developed, the Single Trade Window will sit alongside existing systems and channels for submitting border data. The time and cost saving benefits of interacting with the Single Trade Window will help encourage border users to adopt its use in advance of the Government formally transitioning to it as the sole point of data entry.
Designing the Single Trade Window with border users
To deliver a successful Single Trade Window that meets user needs, the Government recognises it must work with industry to design and test the service. This will ensure that user needs and existing systems and processes are well understood and that the system works well for those interacting with it. Significant consultation, user research and engagement has already been carried out to understand user needs. These will be continually refined and updated as delivery progresses. The Government will work across departments and industry in designing and delivering the Single Trade Window.
Engagement: Extensive stakeholder engagement has taken place with trade representatives, industry experts and border specialists through established forums where Government and border industry are already working together. The Government will continue to regularly engage directly with businesses, such as large traders, hauliers and small businesses, to ensure their diverse needs are understood.
The Single Trade Window Programme has mapped audiences, channels and contacts across Government and continues to gather wide-ranging insight from subject matter experts to feed this into design considerations. Regular engagement enables Government to gain a deep understanding of customers’ experience at the border and how they operate now, which ensures the design of the Single Trade Window is based on customer requirements and will meet future needs. The Government will ensure customers and businesses who trade across the border know how the Single Trade Window will work for them and any actions they need to take ahead of implementation.
Consultation: In addition to extensive stakeholder engagement, the Government published a policy discussion paper, which detailed a number of key policy and design choices for the Single Trade Window and received over 30 written responses. It followed this with detailed engagement with a range of businesses, industry and border intermediaries, including commissioning independent qualitative research via interviews with 57 small businesses involved in importing or exporting goods to or from the UK.
A public consultation on the design and legislation of the Single Trade Window received 51 written responses from a range of key stakeholders, and two further consultation-related events were attended by over 50 participants. Analysis is ongoing and a formal Government response to the consultation will be published in 2023.
User research: User research will inform the design of the Single Trade Window and the functionality that is available with each strategic release. Research with users so far, which focussed on their needs for our early releases, has identified a number of features border users would welcome, including a new free-to-use interface for:
- carriers to complete Safety and Security (S&S) declarations and create Goods Movements Reference Numbers (GMR) for multiple consignments
- traders to self-complete customs import declarations
- Intermediaries completing Safety and Security and customs declarations on behalf of traders
Co-design: Co-design is an approach to designing with, and not for, the people who will use the Single Trade Window. It is core to the success of the Single Trade Window and the Government has already started engaging with users and industry in this way.
Co-design will influence the timing, sequencing and detail of functionality to ensure the service truly benefits users. The Government is aware of the multiple requests for IT transformation placed upon the border industry and will endeavour to align activity wherever possible. Co-design will help develop cross-government, end-to-end customer journeys built around how traders actually operate, including with others in the supply chain. It will consider how to deliver new features and services in the best way; for example, by sector, location, or mode of transport, to maximise system confidence and user take up.
Co-design will be run and validated over time with different users depending on their role in the customer journey and what is required in each strategic release. Industry representative bodies are a key group Government will continue to engage with to ensure user requirements are fed into the design process.
Single Trade Window architecture
User research – and learning from Single Trade Windows worldwide – has already shown that the majority of the trade community want to continue to use third party software to complete their border transactions. The Government will work closely with software developers and the technology sector to design Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that enable third party software to interact with the central Single Trade Window service.
The Government recognises that some traders will want to submit their information without requiring specialist software, so the Single Trade Window service will also include a User Interface (UI) to allow them to do so. Initially a UI would provide a single route for users to submit customs declarations and will allow traders, intermediaries and carriers to submit Entry Summary Declarations (ENS) for Safety and Security (S&S) and to create Goods Movements Reference Numbers (GMR). This means that users would no longer need specialist software to submit declarations.
Development of these solutions will use best in class ‘as a service’ technologies to build a flexible solution and architecture that will evolve to meet the future needs of users. The Government will provide technical specifications to software developers as early as possible to allow time for development. The Single Trade Window will ultimately provide a secure, scalable, and robust platform to service high volume transactions and deliver critical national services.
Data, the supply chain and collaborative filing
The Single Trade Window is a fundamental enabler for a range of ambitious Government border transformations. These may include supply chain data integration into the UK border model and incorporating findings from the Ecosystem of Trust pilots into our design process. Government recently conducted pilots with industry which featured 6 consortia, each of whom trialled innovative ways to record and submit data available from actors in the supply chain, whilst testing the potential benefits available to all parties.
In its public consultations, the Government sought stakeholder views about how the Single Trade Window could take high quality goods data directly from businesses’ commercial supply chain management systems in an automated way, with the aim of receiving data from as far upstream in the supply chain as possible. This would be data which businesses already have available for day-to-day operations and would place no additional burden. The use of supply chain data is intended to be part of later strategic releases of the Single Trade Window. The development of new functionality will be informed by user research and co-design to identify what types of supply chain data could be provided and how this could support the reduction in administrative burden.
In addition, the Government will consider how the Single Trade Window will further improve user experience at the border by enabling users to better collaborate to meet their obligations. It will explore how multiple actors in the supply chain could input data into the same declaration based on their own knowledge and responsibilities, reducing the burden on one individual to manually collate data from another. For example, enabling a trader to provide their information in an easy way, so an agent can draft the remaining information and submit it on behalf of the trader whilst providing the trader with the visibility to check the status of submissions.
In some instances, different Government declarations require data that is similar in nature. For example, both Customs Import Declarations and Safety and Security Entry Summary Declarations require data on category of goods, weight, type of packaging, and means of transport being used. It is intended that these collaboration features within the Single Trade Window will help to reduce the duplication for users wherever possible, by providing organisations with the option to collaborate on completing declarations and sharing applicable data.
Border users have consistently told us that future facilities for sharing supply chain data need to ensure data would only be shared securely with applicable parties.
The design of the Single Trade Window will take these user needs into account when developing functionality. We are considering how best to enable collaborative filing but anticipate that collaborative filing will allow users from the same organisation to edit declarations, subject to role-based permissions set by the organisation’s administrator. It would not allow users from different organisations (in the supply chain) to unilaterally edit declarations but may allow them to see a subset of information, depending on the circumstances. The exact scope of data to be shared is subject to protecting commercial data from being exposed to users without a clear need. Only relevant data will be shared. Users have said they want to be able to:
- see the content and status of data submitted on their behalf on a free to use User Interface, including an audit history;
- reuse data from one submission in a subsequent submission;
- edit/amend data if they work for the same organisation, with a clear audit history.
Data collection and the use and sharing of data would be implemented with a goal of facilitating efficiencies, for the benefit of traders, industry and Government. Including:
- data collection and sharing across Government to reduce duplicative data entry;
- data sharing to support Government decisions about which goods to check;
- data sharing from departments and agencies with HMRC to support messaging to traders via the UK Single Trade Window;
- data sharing with third parties, where this would enable potential features, such as reusing data already held by Government or from other sources to reduce the data requested from businesses;
- allowing multiple actors to input data into a single declaration, licence or certificate;
- Data sharing and integration with the UK’s Community Systems Providers (CSPs), who remain a key element of the data and systems landscape at the UK border.
Responsibilities for providing correct data (liability)
The commercial relationships to facilitate trade are varied and complex. Different actors in the supply chain have responsibility for submitting data to Government. When the Single Trade Window is introduced, these legal responsibilities will remain but many of the design features will enable organisations to share data between different organisations if desired. Where traders or intermediaries opt to use these capabilities, it will be essential that everyone is clear who is responsible for the data being communicated.
User feedback has been clear that it is important they can control access securely to any data they are providing, and that liability is made clear throughout the process.
The Single Trade Window Programme has identified design features that could help to facilitate this process. These include:
- visibility of a clear audit trail for all data submitted and by whom;
- sharing of data between organisations (if desired);
- the ability to assign access to data on a per declaration basis;
- controls to prevent editing declaration data provided by other organisations with whom an organisation is sharing data;
- clear guidance explaining the legal responsibilities at every step of the process;
- Commercial parties will still be able to form their own relationships outside of the Single Trade Window.
Commercial parties will still be able to form their own relationships outside of the Single Trade Window.
Delivering the Single Trade Window
The Single Trade Window will be introduced through a series of strategic releases, each one adding greater functionality and delivering an improved user experience. Build activity has already started, although the pace and scope of development will be dependent on delivering suitable legislation to enable sharing of data across HMG. Subject to these dependencies, the Single Trade Window could be fully operational in 2027. We will provide a more detailed update for stakeholders on plans for implementing Single Trade Window in the Autumn.
The scope and functionality of each Single Trade Window strategic release is subject to ongoing review. The delivery timeline is being informed by user insight, extensive engagement activity, legislative requirements and existing system readiness implementation timelines across Government. The programme will test each strategic release in a controlled environment with users to gather feedback and improve the functionality by adding features and making refinements before starting to make it publicly available. The Government will ensure industry is engaged and able to contribute to developing plans as delivery partners.
In addition to the detailed validation between Government and the Single Trade Window’s Technical Delivery Partner, the timeline will respond to user feedback and delivery progress and align with wider Government-led border changes such as the continued development of the Customs Declaration Service.
The functionality that will be introduced and the timing of each strategic release will be informed through Government’s engagement with industry and individual years may see multiple strategic releases delivered within them.
Building STW foundations
- The initial focus will be on building the foundations of the Single Trade Window that will enable future strategic releases and scaling of services via our iterative approach. In addition to introducing this foundational technical capability, whilst available to all, the functionality available in the first public release may particularly benefit small, infrequent and new traders, intermediaries and carriers who complete customs import and Safety & Security (S&S) declarations.
It is envisaged that the first strategic release will aim to offer functionality to enable:
- users to make Entry Summary Declarations (ENS) for Safety and Security (S&S) and customs import declarations through User Interfaces (UI) to enable the collection and reuse of presubmitted data on behalf of traders to reduce their admin burdens
- multiple users from the same organisation to input information for one trade submission meaning the right person will provide their information once, which will in subsequent releases then be able to be reused in declarations related to the same movement (like reusing information from a pre-lodged import declaration in a Safety and Security declaration)
- the cloning / editing of previous submissions to expedite drafting
- users to check the status of their goods as they move across the border
- use of the guidance service
- access to the trade dashboard for a summary of drafted declarations, status of submitted declarations, any actions and optional notifications related to their, or their supply chains’ activity.
- users to take advantage of Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) integration
- collaboration to share information to facilitate a single goods movement
- RoW Safety and Security (S&S) declarations to be made via Application Programming Interfaces (API) (once their software is updated to reflect the new Single Trade Window)
- reusing trader identification data and declaration data where already held by the Government or within the user’s Single Trade Window account.
Users will be able to access step by step guides, short videos, and a range of other material tailored to their experience level and situation to help support them through their submissions and check the status of their goods crossing the border. Embedded guidance will help direct users to engage with intermediaries where appropriate to support them in managing their border obligations.
Once early functionality is released, traders will be able to start using the Single Trade Window to complete some import and Safety and Security declarations. The Government recognises some traders might only move to the new system when it provides all of the functionality they need, and when convenient, which means usage is expected to grow over time. Customers will still be able to meet their customs obligations using existing processes and systems whilst the Single Trade Window is being developed.
Expanding core STW functionality
Once these foundational capabilities are delivered the Single Trade Window will expand to offer increased functionality that will include exports, excise and transit movements as well as trusted trader visibility.
A key Single Trade Window principle is to allow users to submit data once and in one place. The Single Trade Window will receive and redistribute this data to where it is required, meaning multiple users will be able to input information for a trade submission, which will then be reused in subsequent declarations related to the same movement.
The additional functionality developed will aim to include the:
- reduced data set for Safety and Security (S&S) import declarations and Exit Summary Declarations (EXS) for both non-EU and EU goods;
- ability for traders to submit export customs declarations, import and export excise declarations, and import and export transit declarations;
- ability to submit transit declarations;
- apply and verify valid licences;apply for Permits and Authorisations and for Government to respond to applications and manage Authorisations throughout their lifecycle.
Completing the Single Trade Window Vision
Further releases will incorporate feedback from earlier iterations of the Single Trade Window and will aim to introduce new functionality covering Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, enabling international interoperability, data analytics and use of supply chain data. These features will bring the Single Trade Window closer to the single gateway experience for border users, and further expand the use of unified data, provided once, to address multiple submissions
Specific functionality the Single Trade Window will aim to include:
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) exports:
- Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) imports of live animals which can be completed using a User Interface and/or via Application Programming Interface (API);
- The ability to track consignment movements depending on supply chain data availability;
- Remaining non-Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) declarations such as CITES, Organics, marketing standards and unregulated fishing;
- Data provisions from commercial supply chain systems.
Further strategic releases will be informed by co-design, user research and progress of earlier releases, whilst the delivery timeline will be kept under review.
11. Section 5: Improving the border for exporters
11.1 Supporting exporters by improving our import model
The Border Target Operating Model aims to improve the efficiency of goods movement and trade flow across the UK border, benefiting both importers and exporters. This comprehensive strategy will achieve its objectives through multiple approaches:
- Introduction of Sanitary and Phytosanitary controls will assure our trade partners about the quality of the UK’s exports, by putting in place robust biosecurity and food quality standards. This will support around £20bn of food and drink exports from the UK each year.
- The technology that will deliver the new import model will also support exporters. Specifically the UK Single Trade Window will create a single digital front-door for exporters in the same way it will for importers, making it faster and easier to complete border requirements for exports.
- The new model uses technology and policy in a way in which few countries do. By showing that more data-driven approaches to risk can be used to secure our border the UK will be able to demonstrate to trade partners how their own import processes can be improved. Over time, and by influencing through multilateral fora, we therefore hope that UK exporters will benefit from similar simplifications implemented by our trade partners.
We are committed to working with our trading partners to support British exporters and following publication of this draft Border Target Operating Model, the UK Government will discuss and test the proposals set out with our key trading partners.
11.2 Building on our existing support for exporters
The UK’s departure from the EU changed the way British traders export to the EU. The UK Government recognised the need to implement strategic support for exporters and published a refreshed Export Strategy: Made in the UK, Sold to the World, in November 2021, further evolving the support for exporters and building on the UK’s independent trade policy to deliver jobs, higher wages and increased productivity to every part of the UK.
The Export Strategy is a 12-point action-led plan. It provides a framework, centred on businesses, for those wishing to begin their exporting journey or expand and enter new markets. It aims to address the barriers to trade that exist, which includes the costs of exporting, lack of knowledge, constraints in capacity, and lack of access to contacts or networks.
Our ‘Race to a £Trillion’ of exports annually by 2030 represents a whole-economy and whole-of-Government ambition and requires the private and public sectors to work in partnership helping businesses of all sizes, sectors and across all parts of the UK to realise the benefits of international trade.
Access to large global markets means firms are more likely to invest and innovate – driving growth across the UK. Through our independent trade policy we have secured trade deals with 71 countries and the EU, worth over £800 billion in trade in 2021. We’ve recently achieved accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an agreement with countries across the globe, and with a combined Gross Domestic Product of £9 trillion in 2022. Our Free TRade Agreement (FTA) with Australia has now come into force, New Zealand to follow, and significant negotiations continue with India. We are helping UK business to grasp the benefits and opportunities opened up by the deals we have done.
This is coupled with tackling market access barriers, ensuring British businesses can access new trading opportunities across the world. The UK Government has resolved around 400 market access barriers, across more than 70 countries, in the last two years. Our global network is unlocking export opportunities worth more than £20 billion by resolving a ‘hit list’ of around 100 priority trade barriers around the world.
Through the Export Strategy, the UK Government’s export support services are being transformed, using data and digital approaches to create a fully integrated export support system, centred around the Export Support Service. An expanded digital offer provides the information to help businesses sell in any given country. Whether there is a Free Trade Agreement, or a business wants to understand the specific rules to export goods, our improved market guides on Great.gov.uk, and the Check How to Import and Export Goods tool will provide the appropriate information to them.
The Learn to Export self-serve platform supports businesses to develop their exporting capability by helping them learn how to sell abroad, find the best country for their product and develop personalised international export plans. For more extensive support, the UK Export Academy is aimed at businesses looking to build their capability to export and understand the gaps in their knowledge. Through the foundation, masterclass and opportunities courses, businesses are given the right knowledge to be able to strategically plan their exporting activity.
UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, plays a pivotal role in fostering prosperity by guaranteeing that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance. It accomplishes this mission sustainably and at no net cost to the taxpayer. By unlocking essential financial resources, UKEF empowers enterprises to secure export contracts, fulfil orders and get paid for their exported goods.
No matter the size of the business, how much is exported or where in the UK the business is based, the Export Support Service is the first point of contact for all UK businesses to get answers to questions about exporting their products or services on issues such as paperwork required, specific rules for particular countries or information on potential new markets. The service can also help businesses navigate all the export services offered by the Department for Business and Trade and services offered by other government departments, helping companies find further support about trading with other countries.
The UK Export Academy is aimed at businesses looking to build their capability to export and understand the gaps in their knowledge. Through the foundation, masterclass and opportunities courses, businesses are given the right knowledge to be able to strategically plan their exporting activity.
For small or medium-sized businesses with the greatest potential to export, we offer tailored support through our dedicated International Trade Advisors and International Markets Advisors. The International Trade Advisors Service, currently available in England, are experts in delivering one-to-one exporting advice, brokering business-to-business- partnerships and helping UK business deliver exports to overseas markets. The Export Support Service International Markets teams are based overseas, supporting businesses with in-market expertise. They provide guidance and market intelligence to help a business enter a new market, introducing them to potential buyers and connecting them with a vetted network of in-market commercial providers. DBT has established new Nation Teams in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast to help bring DBT’s support closer to businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We work closely with the Devolved Governments, business organisations, businesses and other key partners to improve the availability of support to businesses ensuring that DBT support is available to all companies in the UK.
11.3 Improving Border processes for exporters
We are making some specific improvements to border processes for exporters alongside introduction of the Border Target Operating Model.
Creating a single gateway for all export processes
When fully operational, the UK Single Trade Window will enable all information required to import and export goods to be submitted to border agencies through one system. By the end of 2024, subject to technical discovery and legislation changes, exporters should be able to make export declarations through the UK Single Trade Window alongside management of the authorisations and licences needed to export some goods.
Further functionality to support exporters will be released in phases as outlined in Section 4 of this document.
Removing Safety and Security requirements for low risk export movements
In July 2022, we introduced a number of easements (GB) to reduce burdens on hauliers and carriers. These included:
- Removing Safety and Security requirements for empty units being exported under a transport contract;
- Removing Safety and Security export or import declarations for merchandise in baggage (i.e. commercial goods with a value above £1,500 carried by their owners in vans);
- Removing Safety and Security declaration requirements for outbound goods when they have been transhipped and are leaving via a different port. This applies as long as the goods are put into transit within 14 days of arrival and are moved under a single transport contract, with the import Safety and Security declaration still available and accurate.
As set out in Section 1 of this document we are removing the requirement for Safety and Security declarations from some further types of outbound movement: outbound fish, outbound transit movements and certain outbound freeport movements leaving Great Britain.
Remote export health certification for Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods
Feedback from certifiers has highlighted a lack of certainty regarding when it is permissible to certify goods remotely in line with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons’ principles of certification. This lack of clarity can cause unnecessary delays for exporters. We have worked with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to enable Official Veterinarians to address these concerns. Existing, UK-wide guidance clarifies when Official Veterinarians, in limited or exceptional circumstances, can issue health certification for some goods without having to attend the site.
The remote issuing of health certificates is limited to consignments listed on Defra’s Remote Certification Guidance. Use of remote certification is possible for a limited set of goods (including shelf-stable products such as milk powder) where the certifier is familiar with the production establishment and processes, has access to up to date records and the product is identified in a way that means substitution is not possible. Full guidance outlining the conditions that permit a consignment to make use of remote certification is available here.
12. Section 6: Changes to the passenger model
We have had feedback from stakeholders that is helpful to set out plans for changes to the movement of goods across the border alongside plans for changes to the movement of passengers. This section sets out changes to the passenger model for immigration checks which are separate from customs declarations and checks.
The 2025 UK Border Strategy set out our commitment to build the most effective border in the world and we have reaffirmed our commitment to improving the experience for passengers.[footnote 7] We will make crossing the border quicker and drive better security, immigration, and prosperity outcomes for the UK, whilst also improving the cost effectiveness of Border operations. We will achieve these benefits through better use of data, more advanced risking and detection capabilities, and increased use of enhanced automated solutions at the border.
When integrated into the overall border operating model this will enable us to more effectively manage the flow of people and goods. We recognise there is no ‘one size fits all’ model, and we will work in partnership with industry to develop solutions that work for air, maritime and rail travel.
Development of these solutions will be underpinned by three core principles:
a. Universal Permission to travel requirement
- Everyone who wishes to come to the UK will need permission to do so before they travel.
- This permission will be in the form an eVisa, for those required to obtain a visa for the purpose of visits, transit or longer stays in the UK for work, study or other residence, and an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for those who wish to visit or transit the UK but are not currently required to obtain a visa or who do not have an immigration status.
- British and Irish citizens will not need to obtain a permission but will demonstrate their entitlement to travel to the UK by showing their passport, if travelling from outside the Common Travel Area.
- For those coming or returning to the UK, having been granted leave to enter or remain, their permission to travel to the UK will be their immigration status as evidenced by an entry clearance, biometric residence document, other physical document or, increasingly, a digital status.
- Carriers will be required to check that all passengers have a valid permission to travel before they travel to the UK, and we are providing a range of different interactive systems to help carriers carry out these checks
b. Increased use of Automation:
- For most passengers, automation (currently provided by e-gates) will be their only point of contact at the border, resulting in less queuing and more resilience to multi-arrivals.
- Solutions will be developed in partnership with industry for cohorts of passengers or locations where automation is not possible within current means.
- A More Intelligent Border:
- Passengers of specific interest, based on an understanding of everything we know about them, will be referred for examination to a Border Force Officer (BFO).
- Improved risking capabilities will identify previous unknowns to protect the UK against terrorist attacks, serious cross-border crime, and abuses of the immigration system.
- Integration of Government and carrier Information Technology systems will enable the provision of better advanced data.
- Together these measures will allow Border Force officers to focus effort on the most value adding activities and enable us to embed a customer-centric culture in our work.
12.1 The Passenger Process
The Figure 6 outlines the process passengers will follow, navigating a simpler system with clearer rules and completing shorter more intuitive application forms. They will be able to access world leading customer support as they plan to come to the UK.
12.2 Industry engagement
The UK Government acknowledges that for this model to be a success it must work closely with industry to ensure effective implementation. The Home Office is taking a structured approach to engaging industry on Borders Transformation, which began with a roundtable between the CEOs of leading industry partners and the Home Office in November 2022.
Throughout 2023, the Home Office will continue with a structured round of engagement to improve collaboration – from keeping partners better informed of areas of development within Government that will impact port operations, to areas where we may wish to partner on the co-design of specific solutions in pursuit of shared goals.
This work will ensure that change activity is developed against a clear end-state, developing the best possible solutions, ensuring readiness within Government and industry with realistic lead in times for delivery, and recognising the nuances and unique requirements of different ports and operators.