UKWA (United Kingdom Warehousing Association) has warned that the movement of excise goods around the UK and throughout Europe could grind to a halt if the forthcoming introduction of the Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) encounters significant ‘teething troubles.”

EMCS is a computer system which will link over 150,000 traders in 27 national administrations across the EU. It has been developed to capture and process information relating to all movements of excise goods in duty suspension within the European Union. It replaces the current paper Administrative Accompanying Document (AAD) and paper W8 for intra UK duty suspended movements.

It comes into effect on January 1 2011. From this date all traders must use EMCS for the movement of duty suspended excise goods within the EU.

In theory, from January 1 next year, EMCS will capture and process AAD information online, validate data and allow real time notification of dispatch and receipt of duty suspended excise goods. Authorised warehouse keepers, Registered Consignors, Registered Consignees and Temporary Registered Consignees will exchange messages online containing specific consignment and movement information with their trading counterparts throughout the EU.

Testing of the new system is scheduled to begin on December 20 – less than two weeks before the EMCS goes live and this, UKWA contend, leaves little time to check the readiness of the UK to channel EMCS messages. Furthermore, with each EU Member State charged with developing its own national EMCS application system (which will be linked to all other Member States through a central domain, maintained by the European Commission) doubts remain over the preparedness of some countries.

Roger Williams, UKWA’s chief executive officer, comments: “It seems incredible that with the wide variety of participants affected by such a fundamental change to the way excise business is done across the EU, we strongly feel that a longer testing period is needed to ensure that any problems with the system are addressed before the go live doubt.”

‘While we are assured by HMRC that the project is on course, it doesn’t require great foresight to envisage a situation where the movement of excise goods around the EU or parts of the EU would be rendered virtually impossible if the system does not function properly.”

“We would urge the HMRC to consider delaying the launch of EMCS to such time as it is clear that any ‘glitches’ in the system have been addressed.”

With over 600 member companies, the United Kingdom Warehousing Association is the UK’s only trade association dedicated to serving the vitally important warehousing and logistics sector. Established in 1944, the Association’s members control nearly 100 million square feet of warehousing space from nearly 1300 locations across the UK. Although originally established as a trade body for the third party warehousing sector, the Association now embraces all companies that operate a warehousing or distribution facility. Membership is not restricted to those companies based within the borders  of the United Kingdom.


Roger Williams,

Chief Executive Officer

Tel: 0207 836 5522


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