We are delighted to announce our colleague Wing Sze Ko passed BTEC Intermediate Award in Customs Export and Import Procedure.

BTEC Intermediate Award in Customs Export and Import Procedures – British International Freight Association (

We asked her a few questions about the course, please see her responses below:

What did you learn on the course?

”While taking this course I learned many new things. The course covered a wide range of customs related topics on import and export such as customs procedures as well as customs regimes. The course has helped me develop my skills on customs declarations and reporting based on Customs Declaration Service (CDS). This course is important for me to expand my knowledge of UK customs procedures.”

What did you enjoy most about the course?

”The content in the course is enjoyable and educational. The group work, work-based assessments and projects provided are practical and useful. These helped me demonstrate the skills in a real job situation.”

What did you find most engaging on the course?

”I am grateful for the opportunity to attend this course which helped in my place of work immensely. Not only did I gain a lot of valuable insights, but I also developed essential skills in customer communication. The four tutor-led training days offered different assessments and case studies, equipped me with skills and knowledge that I can apply in the real workplace.”


Streamlining Customs Declarations and Tailored Solutions
Streamlining customs and excise procedures is a paramount concern for businesses operating in today’s fast-paced global market. At Atlas Logistics, we specialise in simplifying these complex processes while offering bespoke solutions to meet your unique requirements. We have in-house electronic links to the majority of HMRC locations around the UK and have published these on our website. With unparalleled coverage of UK ports and airports, our team of experienced Customs brokers leverages our cutting-edge software to handle diverse import and export declarations efficiently. Discover how our centuries of combined expertise and tailored services can benefit your business.

Unmatched Expertise and Comprehensive Coverage
Our seasoned Customs brokers possess unrivalled expertise in managing various processes, including IPR, OPR, End Use, BIRDS, EIDR, and warehousing, among others. Whether you need assistance with specific Customs formalities or require comprehensive support, our diverse range of services caters to your business’s unique needs. Thanks to our electronic links to HMRC locations we ensure seamless customs clearance regardless of your geographic location.

Cutting-Edge Technology for Optimal Efficiency
Leveraging our proprietary software, we empower our Customs brokers to handle import and export declarations with utmost precision and speed. Our advanced technology minimises the risk of errors, expedites clearance processes, and guarantees compliance with all relevant regulations. By investing in state-of-the-art tools, we deliver accurate results while maximising operational efficiency, allowing your business to thrive in the competitive international trade landscape.

Operational Excellence at our ETSF HMRC Warehouse
As a testament to our commitment to end-to-end solutions, we operate our own ETSF HMRC warehouse strategically located in Birmingham. This facility provides handling services for goods under Customs control, ensuring flexibility and convenience for our clients. By seamlessly integrating warehousing and transportation services, we offer a streamlined supply chain experience that optimises the handling of your valuable goods.

Expert Consultancy Services
Recognising that every business faces unique challenges, we go beyond our core services by offering consultancy services through our sister company, Atlas Business Solutions Ltd. Our dedicated consultants possess deep knowledge of Customs and Excise regulations, enabling them to provide tailored guidance for your specific needs. From compliance management to strategic planning and process optimisation, our consultancy services offer invaluable insights to help your business thrive in the dynamic world of international trade.

Partner with Atlas Logistics UK Ltd
Atlas Logistics UK Ltd stands as a trusted partner in simplifying Customs declarations and delivering tailored solutions to meet the diverse needs of businesses. With our in-house Customs electronic links to HMRC locations (known as “badges”), we ensure efficient customs clearance and comprehensive coverage of UK ports and airports. Leveraging cutting-edge software and operational excellence, we streamline import and export processes, guaranteeing accuracy, speed, and compliance. Our ETSF HMRC warehouse and expert consultancy services further enhance our ability to provide end-to-end solutions. Reach out to our dedicated team today to experience the benefits of our bespoke services and unlock your business’s full potential in the global marketplace.


As a business owner involved in exports, keeping up to date with HMRC regulations is essential. With HMRC updates regarding CDS Exports, it’s important to know the actions you need to take to ensure your business is ready to make declarations through the Customs Declarations Service.

At Atlas Logistics UK Ltd, we are always staying up-to-date with HMRC updates and regulations. We have successfully migrated to CDS Imports, and we are now ready to help you transition to CDS Exports. In this blog post, we will cover what you need to know about CDS Exports and how we can assist you in the process.

HMRC Updates Regarding CDS Exports.

HMRC has announced that they will work with all exporters, to ensure they are ready to make declarations through the Customs Declarations Service by summer 2023. From September 2023, all export routes should be open for making declarations. This includes export declarants who use a mix of routes including the Goods Vehicle Movement Service or inventory linked locations, export declarants that only use inventory linked locations, export declarants that use Designated Export Place (DEP) movements, and export declarants that currently use National Export Service (NES) web service and will need to move to the new export declaration online service.

How Atlas Logistics UK Ltd Can Help You Transition to CDS Exports.

At Atlas Logistics UK Ltd, we are committed to ensuring that the transition to CDS Exports is as smooth as possible for our clients. We have a team of export brokers who are experienced in dealing with export regulations and will guide you through the process.

We are currently testing the new software internally, which will ensure that we are ready to make declarations through the Customs Declarations Service by the deadline. Our team of export brokers will ensure that you are fully informed about the actions you need to take, and we will provide you with signposting to relevant guidance.

We understand that navigating through new regulations can be a daunting process, but with Atlas Logistics UK Ltd, you don’t have to do it alone. Our team of experts are always available to answer any questions you may have and to provide you with the support you need.


With the deadline for CDS Exports fast approaching, it’s important to act now to ensure your business is ready. As your logistics partner, Atlas Logistics UK Ltd is here to assist you every step of the way. We have the expertise, knowledge and experience needed to make the transition to CDS Exports a seamless process. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help.


The Windsor Framework was unveiled on Monday 27 February 2023, to address the Northern Ireland import protocols of goods from the UK. The negotiations were spearheaded and agreed by the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen with the intent of facilitating trade between the UK, Northern Ireland and the EU. The Prime Minister stated the deal “removes any sense of a border in the Irish Sea”. 

The deal will in essence remove any sense of a border in the Irish sea to facilitate commercial trade with greater ease. The Prime Minister has stated that the deal ensures “customs bureaucracy will be scrapped. It means food retailers like supermarkets, restaurants and wholesalers will no longer need hundreds of certificates for every lorry”. 

Trade Routes 

The deal will in essence remove any sense of a border in the Irish sea to facilitate commercial trade with greater ease. Presently, under current processes goods entering Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom must be checked at ports prior to gaining access into the Republic of Ireland. The introduction of the Windsor Framework deal will see two new routes of goods being imported into Northern Ireland, known as green and red lanes. 

Green Lanes – Goods shipped from Great Britain, which are staying in Northern Ireland will use the green lane at Northern Irish ports. These shipments will require minimal paperwork and will see less scrutiny on screening – only trusted traders will be allowed to use this scheme and transport lane. 

Red Lanes – This is for goods which will be transported from Northern Ireland into the European Union. Which will not see a change in customs procedures and documentation for the foreseeable future.

Parcel simplifications – This includes consumer to consumer, and business to consumer parcels under certain limitations. There will no longer be a requirement for any customs formalities or documentation. 

Agri-food – This refers to retail products for end consumption within Northern Ireland, which will be able to move from Great Britain with minimal certification requirements and documentation. 

Medication – Drugs that have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will now be accessible in Northern Ireland with minimal certification requirements and documentation. 


Windsor Framework enables Northern Ireland to be exempt from certain European Union VAT and excise rules. However, this deal will not end EU law in Northern Ireland nor the ultimate oversight of EU judges in limited circumstances. The deal will introduce a new ‘Stormont Brake’, with a clear process through which the Northern Irish Assembly can apply a brake on changes to EU goods laws, after which the UK Government may use a veto. 

The President of the European Commision added that there are also mechanisms intended to avoid the Stormont Brake being deployed, involving extensive consultation with stakeholders in Northern Ireland before changes are made to EU law, as well as consultation with the EU on planned regulatory changes by the UK. 

The Prime Minister has declared that the only EU laws applicable to Northern Ireland are the “minimum necessary” to prevent hard border with the remainder of Ireland, which will safeguard Northern Ireland’s position in the European Union as well as its peoples rights nationally in respect to trade movements. 

In essence, the framework will allow Northern Ireland to zero rate VAT, other changes include:

  • Removing the limit on the number of reduced and zero rates in Northern Ireland
  • Establishing new categories that can be applied for VAT purpose where goods are consumed within Northern Ireland 
  • Exempting Northern Ireland’s businesses from a range of European Union rules – including an exemption for businesses needing to register for VAT under a 2025 EU Directive
  • Establishing a brand new mechanism, enabling the UK and EU to look at future EU rule changes and make further legally binding changes to resolve any distortive impacts that new EU red tape could cause

For further information please see the below.


Completing customs declarations can be difficult without the necessary understanding of harmonised commodity codes, licensing, changes to legislation and much more – here at Atlas Logistics UK LTD we have a team of highly trained staff equipped to process customs clearances both for import and export. Collectively we complete approximately 3000 customs clearances per month. 

There are many variations of export declarants: 

  • Goods Vehicle Movement Service with some inventory linked locations movement 
  • Only inventory linked locations movement 
  • Designated Export Place (DEP) movement software
  • Export declarants using the National Export Service (NES) web service 

The Customs Declaration Service, otherwise known as the CDS supports the processing of import and export declarations when moving cargo to and from the United Kingdom. The British International Freight Association (BIFA), has received an update from the HMRC pertaining to the CDS export dates which we uncover below. 

In January of 2023, a letter was sent to all freight forwarders completing export declarations with key dates and updated processes; this has since been updated slightly. Here is all of the key information and dates you’ll need to know, 

Starting from late February 2023 

The HMRC will be contacting export declarants who are only utilising the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GMVS) with software or the current National Export System (NES) online service to explain how freight forwarders can make export declarations on the CDS via their software or online portal. 

Commencing Summer 2023 

The HMRC will now be branching out generally and working with all export freight forwarders to ensure you are aptly prepared for the transition to the CDS system by sending out guides and other relevant materials as well as making these available online. 

As of September 2023

The HMRC will be reaching out to all export declarants using any route will now be available on the CDS system and should be replacing any previously used export declaration software or service. 

BIFA has stated that the remainder of the information highlighted in Monday’s announcement remains the same, and they are making every effort alongside calls to action to ensure a swift transition into the export CDS system. Here at Atlas Logistics UK LTD we are happy to announce we were amongst the first family business owned freight forwarding companies to have introduced the import CDS system within our company. 

We have already started planning our transition into the export CDS system. Our previous experience with the CDS software will ensure a smooth transition and enable our access to the customs database. This will provide our customers with a swift import or export customs clearance service, to and from all UK ports and airports. 

For a FREE quote, click here, or give our team of dedicated professionals a call:  

Birmingham: +44 (0) 121 783 6564

London: +44 (0) 0208 893 7880  

We look forward to hearing from you! 


The Chinese New Year is a major festival celebrated predominantly in China, but also widely across Asia. As this festivity is based on lunar cycles it does not occur on a fixed date. This year the festivities of the Chinese New Year commence on January 22nd 2023 with the traditional Spring Festival and end on February 5th with the Lantern Festival. The first days of Chinese New Year for the next three years are as follows, 

2024: February 10th – Year of the Dragon

2025: January 29th – Year of the Snake

2026: February 17th – Year of the Horse

The lunar new year is a well known period in the freight industry where we tend to notice a slower impasse of trade, due to the two week closure of China and other Eastern nations celebrating this festivity. At Atlas Logistics UK LTD we aim to continue supplying our customers with excellent logistic solutions via sea, air, road and rail to/from China and East Asia.  

As a company, we enjoy celebrating the lunar new year as we were formed during the year of the Ox, in 2009. In Chinese culture, the Ox is appreciated for its patience and honesty – qualities we are proud to be associated with. As we enter into 2023, we look forward to the year of the rabbit. The rabbit symbolises longevity, peace, and prosperity, therefore we predict this year to be one of hope and increased business as we hop onto the right foot.

Our membership of the World Cargo Alliance (WCA), gives us immense global reach and provides us with substantial leverage to negotiate competitive rates, suitable to your cargo and transport needs. For a free quotation contact us today by clicking here.


The International Chamber of Commerce published new Incoterms® 2020 that came into effect from the 1st of January 2020.  The ICC originally published Incoterms® in 1936 and have continually made updates to reflect the changes to the Global Trade environment.  It’s important that all parties involved in trade clearly understand the changes and how they apply to their part in the global supply chain.

Incoterms® play such a vital role in the world of global trade.  Incoterms® 2010 or Incoterms® 2020 may seem complicated, but it’s imperative that buyers and sellers clearly understand how they work and their own obligations along the supply chain.  This blog is to be used in conjunction with Incoterms® 2020 chart found on our accreditations page (@Jed Marshall – can you put a link to it here?)

Please note the content of this blog and the chart are only for general information purposes and should not in any circumstances be considered bespoke legal advice or professional advice.

What are Incoterms®?

Put simply, Incoterms® are the selling terms that the buyer and seller of goods both agree to during international transaction process.  These rules are accepted by governments and legal authorities around the world. Understanding Incoterms® is a vital part of International Trade because they clearly state which tasks, costs and risks are associated with the buyer and the seller.

The Incoterm® outlines when the seller’s costs and risks are transferred onto the buyer.  It’s also important to understand that not all rules apply in all cases.  Some encompass any mode or modes of transport.  Transport by all modes of transport (road, rail, air and sea) covers FCA, CPT, CIP, DAP, DPU (replaces DAT) and DDP.  Sea/Inland waterway transport (Sea) covers FAS, FOB, CFR and CIF.

Why are Incoterms® vital in International Trade?

Incoterms® are referred to as International Commercial Terms.  They are a set of rules published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which relate to International Commercial Law.  According to the ICC, Incoterms® rules provide internationally accepted definitions and rules of interpretation for most common commercial terms used in contracts for the sale of goods’.

All International purchases will be processed on an agreed Incoterm to define which party legally incurs costs and risks.  Incoterms® should be clearly stated on relevant shipping documents and commercial paperwork.

Please feel free to read the Incoterms® 2020 pdf and should you have any questions or wish to seek guidance call one of our team on +44 (0) 121 783 6564 or email

One of our experienced team will be on hand to help however we possibly can.


April 1st 2017 saw the introduction of the new carrier alliances which will last for the next decade or so.  The previous four shipping alliances have gone to be replaced by just three.  The new alliances have been formed due to several key factors.  Back in 2008 many of the major liners started investing in bigger container ships.  These ships entered the market with lower running costs and thus some core lines were able to offer lower than their competitors on given trades. To stay competitive other carriers then began investing in these larger more economical vessels so resulting in an over capacity on many routes.  Other factors that helped decide the creation of the new alliances included the fall of Hanjin Shipping, unprecedentedly low rates throughout 2016 and a high number of mergers throughout the ocean shipping industry.  The new carrier alliances represent nearly 80% of the global container capacity and are currently divided as below:

The 2M Alliance – Maersk, HMM, Hamburg SUD & MSC

The Alliance – NYK, MOL, K Line, Yang-Ming & Hapag Lloyd (with UASC)

The Ocean Alliance – CMA-CGM, Evergreen, OOCL, APL & Cosco Shipping.

So, what sort of effect will these new mergers have on the current schedules and availability offered to shippers?  Schedules will be more fixed and less likely to change once the new alliances are settled in.  Some ports are seeing an increase in the amount of calls they receive, whilst others are seeing a reduction.  For example, Singapore prior to the new alliances received 29 calls per week, this will increase to 34 now the new alliances have kicked in.  On the other hand, both Hong Kong and Port Kelang will see a reduction in the services it receives from the alliances.  Hong Kong from 15 to 10 calls and Port Kelang 11 to 5 calls.  As a consequence of the services being shifted there also appears to have been a short-term capacity issue, such as the route back to Asia from Northern Europe.  Being able to get space and competitive rates has been proving difficult for many freight forwards and shippers for some time but is now showing signs of easing.   In regards to speed of service a high percentage of routes will have a faster transit time.  Asia – Europe will be 60% faster whilst transatlantic will have 47% of its lanes faster.   All this said there will still be space in the market for the smaller independent liners and specialist carriers.    Atlas Logistics UK Ltd is well placed for access to all the global liners both import, export and cross-trade.   Just contact us if you have any questions or requirements in this area.


The EU celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on March 25th, which signified the start of the European Blocs formation.  Leaders from 27 of the 28 member states were present to renew their commitment to the EU with the exclusion of the UK which started proceedings on March 29th to leave the community with the triggering of Article 50.  Article 50 is part of the Lisbon Treaty which was signed on the 13th December 2007 by the then 27 member states.  The Lisbon Treaty was created for two reasons, as a replacement for the Constitution Treaty which in 2005, the French and Dutch voters rejected, and due to the enlargement of the size in EU membership in 2004, the community needed to reform the working of the European Union.

So now that Article 50 is invoked the difficult navigation of the process to formally leave the European Union for the United Kingdom starts.  So, what happens now?   Where does the United Kingdom go from here?  The United Kingdom have two years to negotiate a separation deal before our membership ceases in 2019 and with this in mind the government published The Great Repeal Bill White Paper on 30th March outlining the governments approach to converting many of the existing EU laws into UK domestic law. These should be integrated into UK law by the end of 2017, so they will not be a point of negotiation with the EU.  These laws include for instance worker’s rights and some environmental law.  There will be separate bills for customs and immigration.  The UK has to abide by the EU laws and treaties throughout this negotiation phase but cannot be part of any decision making within the EU.

The first major step for the EU is on the 29th April 2017 there will be an EU Summit where the leaders start to discuss the withdrawal.  They should agree that a mandate is passed by the European Commission to negotiate with the UK.  Shortly after this negotiating guidelines will be published by them.  Negotiations can then start between the two sides.  Speculation is rife the EU will want a divorce bill agreed by the UK prior to any negotiations.  Current figures for this are varying from £3 to £50 billion pound’s sterling.

Other key areas of negotiation include but are not limited to, what happens to the rights of British people living in other EU member states and of the EU citizens currently in the UK, cross border security arrangements and intelligence sharing, whether we can enter a free trade deal with our own trade deals internationally rather than access the single market, fishing rights within EU waters and what happens to the unspent EU funds the UK has contributed?  These negotiations could further be hindered by both the French presidential elections in May 2017 and the German parliamentary elections at the end of September 2017.

The UK aims to have the negotiations completed by October 2018 then The Houses of Parliament, European Parliament and European Council all need to vote in agreeance of any bill.  Within the European Council at least 20 countries with 65% of the EU population need to approve this deal.  If not then it is back to the negotiating table. There is a two-year deadline on this, so if no agreement has been made this period can be extended but only if all 27 countries agree.  If not then at midnight on March 29th 2019 the UK will cease being a member of the EU and will formally withdraw.

So after all this is it possible for the UK to re-join the EU at a later date should it see fit?  In reference to Article 49 of the Lisbon Treaty states “Any European State which respects the values referred to in Article 2 and is committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the Union.”  On this basis, it is not out of the question but all the current member states at the time must agree to it.


The Lisbon Treaty –; 

BBC News – 


As much of the World celebrates the Lunar New Year we thought it timely in our February blog to mention a little of the impacts on global trade and specifically the supply chain. Prior to this celebration, it was very evident in the media about ships being full, cargo being delayed and liners omitting ports of call because of congestion at some Far East ports, especially those in China.

The start of a new year herald’s great excitement, and with The Year of the Rooster that is no exception. The Rooster is almost the epitome of fidelity and punctuality under the Chinese zodiac. For ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing was significant, as it could awaken people to get up and start their working day. Whilst the Far East enjoys some fantastic celebrations and pageants as we saw in Hong Kong, where it coincided with its 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region this year; we should all be ready to get up early and kick start 2017 with vigour.

Much money is spent celebrating these events and making it special. For example, in Hong Kong the Lunar New Year pyrotechnics display was one of the most anticipated events during the whole holiday. Almost 24,000 shells being fired from three barges in the harbour to mark The Year of the Rooster. The 23-minute display cost about HK$8 million, paid for by sponsors “Unique Timepieces by Halewinner”, according to the Home Affairs Bureau of Hong Kong.

Many suppliers and manufacturers in the Far East will be enjoying the celebrations back at home with their families. However, all this time of celebration does pose difficulties for global trade, as does any national holiday period the World over. Supply Chains are now built to cope with these annual events but that does not stop it causing challenges. Early February is already showing signs of vessels being full. The knock-on effect to this will be the airlines are full too, so planning in advance to avoid any costly and avoidable headaches is key to minimising the effects on your logistics.

Origin factories will come back to work within a few days, then the rush will be back on to move freight and so the annual cycle begins again. It is hugely exciting and with many changes around the World, being the first to seize on new opportunities is paramount. Exploring every option is the key to the success of any business. In the logistics sector, we have solutions for sea, air, plus air/sea services via the Middle East and now the new rail services through the Old Silk Route to import goods specifically from China to the UK.

Recently the first freight direct train service from China to the UK arrived in London on Wednesday 17.1.2017 completing its 18-day trip. Some 34 containers packed with mainly clothes and other high street goods completed the 7,456-mile (11,999km) journey. After setting out from the Chinese industrial city of Yiwu on 1.1.2017, the East Wind train crossed Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France before passing under the Channel and arriving at the London Euro rail freight hub, close to the River Thames.

With the myriad of options available to the supply chain and the challenges of 2017 which will no doubt bring some real success for many, it is a good time to celebrate The Year of the Rooster with great vigour. Be ready to rise to the opportunities of 2017 and don’t forget you can reach out to Atlas Logistics UK Ltd for bespoke solutions on any of the items discussed in this blog.

And as they say in China for this new lunar year, 祝来年好运,并取得更大的成就。 — “Good luck and great success in the coming new year.”