Ioanna Orfanidi

Ioanna Orfanidi heads up Chamber International's new ChamberCustoms service and is a qualified customs broker.

A major new customs brokerage service to help importing and exporting business has been launched by overseas trade specialist, Chamber International, to coincide with new border arrangements announced by the UK Government.

ChamberCustoms can now draw up and submit customs declarations, including VAT and duty liability, which will be needed for trading with the EU, as well as the rest of the world, after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

Currently, only businesses exporting to, and importing from, outside the EU have to do this. In future, due to Brexit and regardless whether the UK negotiates a new trade deal, the number of customs declarations is expected to increase by almost 500% to 255 million per year from January.

Analysis suggests that, from the start of 2021, a total of 202,081 UK businesses will need to complete customs declarations for the first time, as about 50% of all UK importers and exporters trade only with the EU. They will have to complete the declarations and quickly get to grips with tariff classification numbers, customs valuation, customs procedures and more, because no other workable solution has been found.

The HMRC-compliant service has been launched nationally by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), using its network of accredited Chambers of Commerce, because the UK has an estimated 45,000 shortfall in trained specialists to cope with the expected huge surge in demand.

Chamber International’s service, which is available straight to businesses and through UK freight forwarders, has direct links to the HMRC Customs’ handling system and all inventory-linked ports.

The service is headed by qualified customs broker, Ioanna Orfanidi, a bachelor of English-Russian and International Trade who speaks English, French, Spanish, Greek and Russian. She has gained certification following comprehensive training, which included mastering the 98-chapter Trade Tariff, comprising thousands of unique classification code numbers, and more than 420 customs procedure codes.

Ioanna Orfanidi said: “The coronavirus pandemic has starved firms of cash and focused them on short-term survival, derailing their Brexit preparations. The end of the transition period is fewer than 24 weeks away and they should now be thinking about customs declarations with some urgency.

“The government turned to the Chamber Network to increase capacity beyond shipping and forwarding agents, who normally prepare customs entries, to meet the predicted surge in demand.

“We’re the only customs broker in the country to offer direct links to all sea, air and road ports and terminals in the UK and, as international trade, which will be crucial to re-vitalising the global economy as the pandemic subsides, involves long-term planning, businesses need to start thinking about this now.”

Chamber International, which is planning a 45-minute webinar on the new post-Brexit customs regime this autumn, helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters throughout the UK with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost-effective.

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
Share Article