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HMRC internal manual

Oils Technical Manual

Imports of mineral oil: Bulk importations - normal procedure at discharge


  • Imports are normally made into approved wharves (see WHFA Wharf Approvals); and
  • import accounts are taken by traders’ staff in approved calibrated storage tanks.

Arrival notifications

These should contain:

  • details of the import vessel
  • estimated time and date of arrival
  • description of the oil and quantity for discharge; and
  • be accompanied by an advice detailing owner’s name and intended disposition of each parcel of oil.

Control applied at discharge

Trader always:

  • controls landing of oil and measures quantity and temperature; or
  • arranges for quantity and temperature to be measured and taken account of by a third party, e.g. independent arbiters who supply a certificate of outturn.

The Control Team;

  • will, using a systems-based approach, assess the trader’s control of their import procedures and dependent on the revenue risks observed, impose either physical and/or documentary checks, e.g. checks on pipelines, valves, connections, including the pump house, jetty and shipping records, as may be appropriate.

Note: Product may have to be removed from duty-suspension tanks while product is also being unloaded from ship into those approved tanks. Before such concurrent receipts and removals in the same tank(s) begin, the trader must advise the officer, and undertake to follow the procedure agreed beforehand with the Department (or specify any variant from that procedure which a particular cargo makes necessary) including:

  • closure of the valves on delivery lines stopping removal from the tank temporarily while the tank is dipped, both before and after receipt of product from the ship;
  • recording of any cumulative reading from delivery meters if used immediately before the tank is dipped prior to the receipt, and immediately after it is dipped following the receipt; and
  • separately recording such deliveries, and ensuring addition of that total to the import account.


  • The importer (or warehousekeeper) is to provide a calibration table for each tank or vessel used to store imported oil in which the import account is to be taken;
  • holding capacity in that table is to be expressed in litres and the tank calibration is to be set at 2 millimetre intervals; and
  • the use by the trader of automatic measuring devices (such as automatic tank gauges and temperature probes) is to be encouraged to raise the import account.

(For further information, please see Notice 179, Part 4 together with the section on ‘Measurement’ HCOTEG170000 in this guidance).