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Government announces plans for post-Brexit border arrangements

It is now less than 6 months until the end of the UK’s EU transition period. All importers and exporters need to prepare for the changes, especially those that have only ever traded with the EU.

Customs procedures are complicated, so to ensure your goods are able to cross borders from 1st January 2021 without any hold ups, we recommend you start planning for your business supply chain operation now.

Brexit customs delaysAt TPS Global Logistics Managing Director, Matt Smith and Operations Director, Barry Broughton are both Export Champions, appointed by the Department for International Trade for their experience and expertise in this area. The Government has recognised the vital role of freight forwarders in the preparations for the new customs and border crossing arrangements.

Put simply, freight forwarders and 3PL (3rd Party Logistics) have been around for hundreds of years. It makes commercial sense for manufacturers to concentrate on their core business, producing and marketing their goods and products. Whilst outsourcing the supply chain and distribution services to a 3rd party expert.

Freight Forwarders (3PL) can handle all of the supply chain logistics, shipping, storing and fulfilling orders on behalf of their clients worldwide. This includes border crossings and complex customs procedures, it’s all in a normal day’s work for teams such as ours at TPS Global Logistics.

On 13th July the government published a 206 page guide on how Britain’s border with the EU will work after 31st December 2020. This document is intended to provide clarity and certainty for traders and the border industry.

Import/export Border controlsIt highlights the following five key preparations:

1.  Get a customs intermediary. Intermediaries such as freight forwarders (3PL) can help traders find the information needed to complete formalities and submit the required declarations, for example customs information to HMRC systems. This simplifies the declaration processes for traders. If you decide not to use an intermediary, you will need to make declarations yourself.

2.  Apply for a duty deferment account. Traders who import goods regularly, may benefit from having a duty deferment account. This enables customs charges including customs duty, excise duty, and import VAT to be paid once a month through Direct Debit instead of being paid on individual consignments.

3.  Prepare to pay or account for VAT on imported goods.

4.  Ensure you have International Driving Permits.

5.  Apply for a GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This is required for all businesses moving goods into or out of the UK.

In its overview of the document, the UK government said: “On December 31st 2020 the transition period with the EU will end, and the UK will operate a full, external border as a sovereign nation. This means that controls will be placed on the movement of goods between Great Britain (GB) and the EU.

“Recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, the government took the decision in June to introduce border controls on imports coming into GB from the EU in three stages up until 1 July 2021. This flexible and pragmatic approach gives industry sufficient time to make necessary arrangements and prepare.

“This is the first time the Government has published an operating model for the border. It covers all of the processes and systems, across all government departments, that will be used at the border. It provides clarity on the end to end journey for moving goods across the border – with information about controlled goods and new government systems that will support trade.”

It also said the Border Operating Model would “lay the groundwork in support of the Government’s objective to have the world’s most effective border by 2025”.

It is important to be aware that although the UK has announced that it will not be introducing complete customs checks on goods arriving from the EU, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier had “confirmed that from 1 January 2021, every UK product imported into the EU will face checks, regardless of whether or not a trade deal is reached”.

We are closely watching the negotiations, a deal with the EU will make it simpler to trade, to ensure lorries and planes from the UK have access to the EU. This is vital to minimise economic disruption.

If you would like to discuss your import/export requirements, or any of the services mentioned in this article please contact one of our experienced team today on 01622 237979 email us at

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