Global forwarding specialist Rhenus Logistics has produced a handy checklist for international shippers of goods to help them manage their requirements in the run-up to the UK’s scheduled departure from the European Union.
The checklist is aimed at importers and exporters, with its focus on ensuring that traffic flows are firmly aligned with the government's intentions of frictionless trade between the UK & EU, particularly in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit where the UK leaves the EU without a formal agreement.
There are several actions that Rhenus advises shippers take immediately:
• Register for an EORI number: an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number will be required when trading between the UK and the EU, enabling export and import declarations and clearances to be processed in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The UK government has announced auto-enrollment for small businesses, but it makes sense for businesses to take charge of their own arrangements.
• Sign up for TSP: short for Transitional Simplified Procedure, TSP is a self-declaration process which allows UK importers to receive their shipment without the need for a separate frontier declaration.
• Appoint a reputable customs broker: many major logistics companies, including Rhenus, offer this service either directly or indirectly.
• Determine the value of goods: this is necessary for trade statistics and VAT/ duty declarations. There are six methods which should be applied consecutively until the correct valuation is reached.
• Determine the origin of goods: this is key to determining the levels of duty applicable on goods being transported.
Once these are dealt with, shippers should familiarise themselves with the Incoterms. Relevance will increase substantially in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. These set out the responsibilities of buyers and sellers for the delivery of goods under sales contracts.
Next on the list is the provision to the carrier of detailed descriptions of goods, as well as classification of goods, including the use of the correct customs commodity code, also known as a tariff heading. Commercial invoices, licences and certificates should also be supplied, as should details of customs clearance. Finally, setting up a deferment account will help with cash flow and facilitate rapid clearance of shipments by ensuring customs duties are paid in full at the time of import.
Gary Dodsworth of Rhenus UK explained: “While Brexit is set to impose a greater burden of administration and paperwork on importers and exporters of goods, there is nothing on the list that is overly challenging, and much of this work can be done in advance of leaving the EU.
“A reputable logistics partner will be able to help and advise in many of these areas, ensuring the correct permissions and clearances are in place to create a smooth transition to the post-Brexit trading environment, with minimal interruption to shipments. We would advise any importers or exporters who have questions or concerns in any of these areas to get in touch with us straight away.”
The dialogue with customers forms part of Rhenus' overall preparations for Brexit, which has also seen the company invest in its customs and hub infrastructure, with the aim of making the transition to the post-Brexit movement of goods as seamless as possible.
In addition to a dedicated Brexit team, Rhenus has implemented several measures, including close collaboration with customs brokerage businesses, ensuring all customers’ documentary requirements are maintained should the need arise in the UK and across the international Rhenus network.
Customer care and accreditations are also a top priority, with Rhenus recently retaining its AEO(F) accreditation while also applying for authorised consignee status, which includes, in part, upgrading its depots to ETSF (External Temporary Storage Facility) standards.
In anticipation for increased storage demand, Rhenus has invested in its warehousing and contract logistics capabilities, ensuring all customer needs can continue to be met irrespective of external factors.