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HMRC internal manual

Temporary Storage and Approved Depositories

Temporary storage facility: requirements of the facility


  • access must be allowed to all Customs Authorities at any time
  • access to suitable office, toilet and car parking facilities must be provided to the UK Customs Authorities free of charge
  • the operator must make suitable arrangements to ensure that access to the TS facility is given only to those categories of person(s) whose duties necessitate their presence within that specific area
  • the operator must impose suitable checks to preclude unauthorised access and report any evidence of irregularity or unauthorised access immediately to the appropriate UK Customs Authorities
  • the operator must provide details of the facilities operational opening and closing hours/days to the UK Customs Authority prior to approval
  • all TS premises must have adequate company signage on the exterior of the facility to enable UK Customs Authority visiting officers or other authorised visitors to easily identify the TS premises
  • approved Temporary Storage area(s) within the TS Facility must be conspicuously marked internally (and externally where appropriate) to enable Temporary Storage goods to be easily identified, located and for all other goods arriving, leaving or being stored at the facility which are not subject to Temporary Storage controls to be easily identified
  • suitable examination area must be available and include the provision and maintenance of such equipment as may be reasonably necessary to enable Customs Authorities to weigh, measure or otherwise take account of goods
  • prior approval must be obtained from the UK Customs Authorities for any structural and or material changes to the approved premises affecting the approved Temporary Storage area
  • In accordance with Section 25A (3) of the Customs and Excise Management Act the Operator must allow access to the approved TS facility at any time.

Maintenance of facilities

The temporary storage premises must be maintained in a secure manner and in a satisfactory state of repair in order to prevent pilferage. The facilities must also meet the relevant health and safety requirements.

Health and safety

The TS operator must provide safe working conditions when you attend the premises.

This includes safe means of access to containers and vehicles.

  1. working conditions must meet the standards set by the competent safety authorities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  2. the TS operator must provide the Customs authorities with a Health and Safety Risk Assessment specific to the premises
  3. the TS operator must provide access to a suitable office, toilet and car parking facilities free of charge
  4. the premises must be equipped with suitable facilities for storing, unloading, examining and clearing the goods and for examining the vehicles. This must include the provision and maintenance of equipment.

Allowable forms of handling

There are strict limitations on the forms of handling that may be carried out on goods in temporary storage.

EU Regulation 952/2013 Article 147.2  Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 134.2, goods in temporary storage shall be subject only to forms of handling as designed to ensure their preservation in an unaltered state without modifying their appearance or technical characteristics.

Only a minimal amount of handling necessary to preserve the goods in an unaltered state is allowed. This must not be confused with the forms of handling allowable under the customs warehousing regime. This means that even forms of handling such as ironing, pressing or minor repairs are not allowed.

Any temporary storage operator who is found to be using a form of handling must be advised immediately to stop.

Secure area

A secure area must be provided for the storage of any prohibited goods that have been detected.

The meaning of a secure area (known as an ‘Ullage cage) is a secure, lockable compartment/area for the detention and or seizure of any un-manifested, prohibited, suspicious or detained goods subject to UK customs authority investigation. The secure area must be in the physical confines of the outlined approved facility.

Any goods which arrive into a temporary storage facility which are un-manifested or ‘over shipped’ should be placed into the secure area, logged and reported to the customs authorities and stay their pending the arrival of the required ‘paperwork’ and or date to support the goods being in the EU/UK. If operated correctly, having goods placed and duly recorded into the cage may exonerate the Operator from potential non compliance CCP action and or approval revocation.

The condition for a secure area does not specify a minimum or maximum size nor its physical structure other than that it must satisfy the Supervising Officer that it is a secure facility, proportionate taking into account the needs of the commercial operation and that access capability is restricted.

Requirement of electronic inventory

The approved Temporary Storage facility must be physically equipped with a Customs approved IT record keeping/inventory system which must have an approved Anti-Smuggling Net (ASN). This system must be able to and be used to:

  • provide electronic entry of all Temporary Storage goods entering into the facility (stock account records)
  • provide electronic inventory control of all Temporary Storage goods whilst in the facility
  • provide an electronic record of all activity relating to Temporary Storage goods, particularly arrival, out turn, discrepancies, examinations, sampling, movement within the facility and or any other authorised activity
  • provide electronic notification and receipt of the removal of goods after customs clearance
  • provide an electronic log of the actual time goods remained within Temporary Storage whilst in the facility
  • transmit electronically all customs declarations for cargo in the Temporary Storage area within the appropriate timescales
  • produce a system generated hard copy clearance advice and unit releases
  • provide an electronic notification record of all movements to, from or between TS facilities

Please note remote management of Temporary Storage facilities or the Customs approved IT record keeping/inventory system is not allowed. Customs Authorities must have access to records at the facilities at all times.

Below are the current operators approved as Community System Providers (CSPs):

  • Cargo Community Systems UK (CCS-UK)
  • Community Network Services (CNS)
  • Maritime Cargo Processing (MCP)
  • DHL
  • Pentant

The design and functionality of these CSP systems is closely controlled by HMRC departmental resources called CSP Liaison Officers (CSPLOs). Any queries on these systems including training should be addressed with the CSPLOs.

A shed identifier code and also a CHIEF freight location code will be allocated to each individual TS facility. By using these codes on CHIEF declarations it will enhance the capability to target individual Temporary Storage facilities by location code and Shed ID and allows Customs Authorities to perform risk assessments required.

Traders wishing to use their own records must comply with the same specifications requirements of a CSP.


Our authority to require records to be held detailing the arrival, storage and removal of goods is contained in EU and national law.

Customs Trader (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1995 SI 1995/1203 Regulation 3, Regulation 3 A Customs trader who receives, prepares, maintains or issues a record consisting of an item described in Schedule 1 relating to a business within the meaning of section 20(3)(b) of the Act shall

(a) in the case of a received record, keep and preserve it

(b) in the case of an issued record, keep and preserve a copy of it

(c) in the case of a record that is prepared or maintained and which has been received or which is not issued preserve it

    1. Regulation 9 Any record (including a copy of a record) required by or under these Regulations to be preserved for a period of four years or such lesser period as the Commissioners may require, starting on the day that the obligation to preserve arises
      1. EU Regulation 952/2013 Article 148.4 The records shall contain the information and the particulars which enable the customs authorities to supervise the operation of the temporary storage facilities, in particular with regard to the identification of the goods stored, their customs status and their movements
      2. Customs Traders (Accounts and Records) Regulations 1995 Regulation 8 Where a customs trader is required by or under these Regulations to keep a record, he shall do so at the time when any information that is by virtue of these Regulations to be recorded is first known to him or as soon as possible thereafter
      3. The Temporary Storage Operator must retain all records relating to any Customs operations for no less than four years for customs purposes and six years for VAT. Should any operator fail to meet this requirement they may be subject to a Customs Civil Penalty.
      4. Once goods have arrived at the temporary storage premises the Operator must enter details of the goods in a Stock Account Record. The Supervising Officer must be satisfied that this record contains sufficient information for goods to be adequately controlled in Temporary Storage. It is recommended that the Stock Account Record contain the following information - this will still apply where information is provided by direct electronic transmission of the manifest through the national CSP inventory systems
  • air way bills, shipping number, its origin and destination if goods arrive by air
  • a brief but accurate description of the goods (for example general terms like groupage are not acceptable)
  • number of packages and weight (gross and or net)
  • customs status of goods for example T1, T2, T2L
  • registration numbers of the vehicles carrying the goods
  • date and time of goods physical arrival at the temporary storage premises
  • registration number of vehicles carrying goods to the premises
  • any irregularities found following scrutiny and comparison of the manifest and summary declaration
  • details of when, where and to whom the irregularities were reported
  • details of any detained, prohibited, suspicious or un-manifested goods
  • details of any goods that have been altered in any way
  • details of when (date and time) the goods were assigned to a customs approved treatment or use, and the procedure involved
  • details of which goods have not been assigned to a customs procedure or use for example seized goods
  • details (and a copy) of when the authority to remove the goods was received from Customs
  • any movement of the goods, from/to
  • time limit left following removal