Port of Dover overhauls customs clearance messaging

The Port of Dover has overhauled its customs clearance messaging system to meet new EU freight handling rules.

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The Port of Dover has overhauled its customs clearance messaging system to meet new EU freight handling rules.

The port had been using an customs clearing system developed in-house, called ClearWay, to allow freight handlers to clear imports and exports at Dover. The ClearWay system connected to HM Revenue and Customs’ Chief system.

But substantial changes are now being made to Chief to meet the EU’s Single Administrative Document (SAD) harmonisation rules, drawn up as a prelude to allowing customs declaration data to be passed between EU member states’ computer systems.

Port of Dover has now introduced XML Converters from DataDirect Technologies to handle its customs clearance messaging after realising that the in-house system’s electronic data interchange (EDI) translator could not be developed to meet the new EDI for Administration, Commerce, and Transport (Edifact) standards enshrined in the SAD harmonisation rules.

The system is not considered robust enough to handle new format messages to be sent out by HMRC under the updated Chief system from 1 October.

The port will now use DataDirect’s XML Converters to translate EDI messages from HMRC into the XML format used internally.

Andy Allen, senior analyst programmer at Dover, said: "Once we've got the XML messages, it's great, we can use our existing tools within our .Net framework and off we go."

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