Following Brexit on the 30th of March this year, it appears customs documents will need to be filled out again for goods transported to and from the United Kingdom. Although we are not yet 100% certain that this will be the case, it is better to start preparing for this now. That is why we are giving you the main information you need for preparing these documents.
Apply for an EORI number. This will be mandatory for the import and export of goods to and from the UK.
You must also check whether your customers/suppliers in the UK have already requested an EORI number. UK based companies will need to apply for an EORI number in order to be able to import and/or export goods.
Every shipment must be accompanied by an invoice that clearly states:
Goods Code + description of the goods
Weight and Quantity
If you work with large customers in the UK and organise transports with full freights, your customers can apply to the British customs authority for a specific authorization for 'simplified procedures'.
In that case, your client must first set up a guarantee in the UK for the VAT and the import rights. Once your customer has received authorisation, they will be able to import goods using a simplified declaration. The definitive declaration must be sent before the fourth working day of the month. The payment follows on the 15th day of the month after arrival, via your customer's duty deferment account.
Although anyone can use this simplified procedure, due to the complexity and the requirements, we do not recommend it for groupage shipments.
You can find out more about these 'simplified import procedures' on the British customs website
For phytosanitary goods the formalities are even more complex. Specific documents need to be drawn up and shown for this. For this, please consult the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC).
However, you should know that shipping food and plants will be very difficult after Brexit.
Because a customs document is required for every shipment, and this will need to be checked at the border (which means at the port, in most cases), this is likely to cause long queues of lorries. Even with simplified checking procedures, that could cause big delays when exporting and importing. So, you should take into account in your planning that your goods will be on the road for longer than they are today.