With various uncertainties and changes in prospect, and as we all adapt to a new movement of goods process, it would be sensible to expect the frequency of these physical and /or documentation checks to increase, along with a more structured inspection programme.
If this is something you have limited experience of, it’s only natural to feel some trepidation. However, an understanding of the process, and your role in it, whether you are a business or port authority, goes some way towards alleviating this.

What does the inspection process look like?

Clear communication and co-operation between port authorities and businesses is vital in addressing the practical measures that will ensure these inspections take place in a timely and efficient manner.

Any physical inspections may delay the import / export of goods, so it’s important to factor in considerations such as whether these are perishable.

There are several logistical storage and handling issues to consider. Does the port or harbour have a lay-down area to act as a Border Control Post? Is this clear, accessible and available to use at short-notice?

Does the port have an adequate facility with the associated equipment in place?


You should make sure that all of your shipping documentation is in order, including, for example, cargo summaries, invoices and manifests.

Contingency planning

There are a number of reasons why Government agencies might not give permission for the import / export to proceed ranging from straightforward documentation irregularities or errors, to the import / export of unauthorised goods. Potential actions by Government agencies can include the detention of goods, monetary penalties, payment of the Duty and VAT, as well as criminal proceedings.

The team at Bethan Customs Consultancy have extensive experience spanning HMRC, Border Force and supply chain and logistics. We can support businesses at every stage of the process from guiding through standard inspections and follow-up visits, to liaising with HMRC in ensuring compliance and minimising penalties.

As ever, we are here to help. If you’d like to discuss these changes, and how they may affect your business, please get in touch.

Photos by: Grant Anderson – www.grantanderson.me / @grantandersondotme

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