Brexit: transport and logistics

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Transport movements between the EU and the UK have become more complicated. There are more customs formalities and longer waits. The new situation particularly affects just-in-time deliveries and perishable goods transports.

This information is based on the agreement between the EU and the UK.

Free freight traffic licence cancelled

The UK no longer has a licence for free freight traffic licence in the EU. EU freight hauliers can perform up to two (instead of three) cabotage transports inside the UK, so for instance Rotterdam - London - Manchester - Newcastle - Rotterdam.

Five steps for transporting to the UK

What should you keep in mind when transporting goods to the UK? Prepare the transport well to avoid delays as much as possible. Road hauliers that want to ship goods to the UK by ferry from Rotterdam have to follow 5 steps:
  1. Comply with the transport company rules
  2. Pre-notify your export documents with Portbase
  3. Check the buffer parking locations and rules
  4. Map your route
  5. Start your transport, keep following developments

CEMT or Euro licences, professional qualifications and insurance

These are the most important matters to attend to:
  • If you have a Euro licence, you may continue to use it. You do not need a CEMT licence. Did you already acquire a CEMT licence, that you will not need? You may return it to NIWO. Check the NIWO website (in Dutch) to find out more.
  • Check the licences for professional goods transports outside the EU and the professional qualifications for UK personnel. You will have to have licences for non-EU professional goods transports. Transporting goods yourself may turn out to be more expensive, since you invest in transport means.
  • You have to deal with customs procedures for goods transport.
  • You have to pre-notify transports that travel via Dutch ferry and shortsea terminals with Portbase. You can find a step-by-step explanation on who needs to do what on the Get Ready for Brexit website.
  • You need transport documents. Which ones you need depend on the type of transport: by road, rail, ship or air.
  • Check the packaging requirements for your goods in the Netherlands, and find out what the rules for importing packaging wood (like wooden pallets) are.
  • Make sure your transport insurance is in order. Damages sustained in the UK may not be covered by your current policy. If that is the case, take out additional insurance.
  • For international transports, use the ICC Incoterms┬«. These are international standard contracts for goods transport. In the contract, you and your customer or supplier put down in writing who is responsible for which part of the transport and who is liable at which point.
  • For information on British Customs procedures, check the UK Border Operating Model.
  • Do you transport goods to the Republic of Ireland via the UK? You will face border formalities twice: at the EU-UK border, and the UK-RoI border. For more information, check the Dutch Customs website.

Ferry and shortsea terminals: a 5-step to do list

All Dutch ferry terminals and most shortsea terminals collaborate in the Portbase platform. You have to use this platform to pre-notify your transport to the UK. If you fail to do so, you will not be admitted to the terminal. To avoid this, follow the 5-step to do list prepared by Portbase on the Get Ready for Brexit website.

Buffer parkings in the Port of Rotterdam area

Rijkswaterstaat, Port of Rotterdam, the province Zuid-Holland, and the municipalities of Rotterdam, Vlaardingen and Velsen are developing 6 temporary buffer parking locations. All locations will be equipped with fencing, lighting, sanitary facilities and security. The locations are Hoek van Holland, Europoort (2x), Rozenburg and Vlaardingen. Read more about parking (in Dutch).

Q&A about the Brexit

There is an extensive Q&A about the Brexit Trade Agreement available on the website of the European Commission. It explains what the new rules mean for different sectors, such as trade in goods, fisheries and road transport. There are nine chapters in total and you can search per sector. At the top you can choose your language. You can find answers to questions such as: What was agreed to facilitate trade in automotive? How does the Agreement contribute to trade and sustainable development? Will air carriers still have the same rights to operate between and within the EU and the UK? Note that this Q&A was published in December 2020 and therefore speaks of a draft agreement.

Sector organisations

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

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