Smooth Sailing – Customs Planning Advice for Port Authorities

Exporting support Bethan Customs Consultancy

As things stand, it’s full steam ahead for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31st December 2020. This will have significant implications for port authorities in relation to the customs procedures and documentation required for goods being imported and exported.

Customs entries

Previously free circulation goods were allowed to move within the EU with no tax or duties payable. However, all EU states will now be classed as a third country, and vice versa. As such, port users should be aware that customs entries will be required for all cargo, and may be required to show that the goods comply with EU standards.

Port authorities should also consider whether they have the correct approvals in place to allow commercial businesses / customers to import and export goods through the port?

It’s also worth checking whether port users have the relevant Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) numbers. EORI should be held by all UK and EU businesses looking to import and export goods, from / to each other. Previously EORI numbers issued in the UK would have been accepted in the EU. However, post 31.12.2020, there will be GB EORI and EU EORI numbers. Therefore, all businesses within the supply chain should ensure they have the appropriate EORI.

Temporary storage facilities

All goods being shipped to the EU will require a pre-shipment security declaration before departure, potentially delaying vessels loading/departing. Consideration should be given to whether goods will need to be temporarily stored within the port site.

Any such storage facility must be approved by Border Force, meeting their specific criteria for security purposes, and allowing goods to be examined and customs cleared with minimal disruption.

Import and export documentation

While draft legislation in relation to exports is in place in the UK, the EU’s full expectations will be revealed in the final trade agreement.

So it’s vital to be prepared for changes to UK requirements. The likelihood is that port users will need to liaise more with HMRC in order to progress the clearance of goods. More documents will be required when importing and exporting goods going forward – for example, goods being exported to the EU will require documentation proving that they meet EU standards.

Port approvals

Businesses which currently hold approvals within the EU for importing and exporting may find that these no longer apply in the UK. There is still some uncertainty regarding how the situation will be resolved, but there is the potential that these approvals could be invalid once the transition period ends. Going forward, the onus will be on businesses to ensure their approvals remain valid.

Access to Government agencies

Something else to bear in mind – Government agencies are more likely to be visible within port areas post 31st December 2020, including HMRC, Border Force, Police, Trading Standards, Food Standards, Fishery authorities.

If you’d like to discuss these changes, and how they may affect your business, we’d be happy to have a chat. You can get in touch with us at: info@bethancc.com.