Good news (…almost)

The postponement of Brexit to 31 October 2019 comes as a relief to all stakeholders who work with the United Kingdom. The next six months will give us extra time to prepare for Brexit, whether for infrastructure around ports or for training of additional customs officers.

However, if the British Parliament reaches an agreement on the exit arrangements, it is possible that Brexit will take place before that date and we need to be prepared for that possibility. In February we wrote to you to explain the first steps to be taken and we remind you of the following main points:

  • Get your EORI (Economic Operator Registration Identification) number by connecting to the customs website: This is your personal number and it will be needed every time you export/import goods to or from the United Kingdom.
  • Approach a Registered Customs Representative (better known as a freight forwarder) who will take care of your customs declaration. The Registered Customs Representative will help you complete the necessary formalities and give you information on the documents to be provided to the carrier. Please note that some products are subject to plant health or veterinary inspections and require marketing authorisation and specific labelling. Ask the customs representative questions about your products.
  • Each shipment must be identified by an MRN (Movement Reference Number). You can obtain this number from your freight forwarder. You will be required to give us the number when you hand over the goods, along with the barcode that will be given to you at the same time.

As a transport partner, CHANNELFRET INTERNATIONAL will complete your declaration with the vehicle number, which will allow customs to identify your shipment and to track it as it crosses the Channel. If the procedure is properly followed, and if the nature of the goods allows, customs clearance may be carried out during the Channel crossing. Two videos published by French customs explain how customs clearance will take place during the crossing of the “smart border”. You can find them by clicking here:

Border crossings will be further facilitated when we obtain AEO status in the coming months. Approved companies have priority at border crossings because they are trusted by the customs department.


Where do we stand today?

Despite the three years since the referendum in 2016 and bearing in mind that an exit without an agreement has always been a real possibility, preparations for that possibility are still not complete. On the French side, the customs department has planned to hire 600 to 700 additional officers who will be deployed throughout the country, but they are not yet operational. The work of the British authorities is focused mainly on the storage capacity of heavy goods vehicles heading for the continent in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The British government has not made any statements on the subject of customs officers but has announced significant work to avoid the total blockage of motorways in Kent.

If you have any questions about Brexit or how to prepare for it, please do not hesitate to contact us.