We answer your most common questions about Brexit, how it could affect your business and how we can support you.
Q: What plans are you making in preparation for the risk of congestion at main ports, particularly Dover?
A: The vast majority of our movements are via the Short Sraits. This is the quickest and most efficient way to reach the continent, with more crossings per hour that any other route and more capacity. We are looking at other options, supported by our recent acquisition of CCC which gives us access to the unaccompanied routes into Belgium and Netherlands across the North Sea. We have looked at all alternative options and routes to mitigate against potential impact, which may involve using alternative entry/exit points. However, since the short straits currently take c. 90% of all traffic, this is where the capacity currently exists, and the frequency and capacity does not currently exist on other routes and ports, so given the market place will be looking for the same solutions, it is almost inevitable that crossing times between the continent and UK will be compromised. It is also likely that compromise in transit means more trucks are required, operating to a lower level of efficiency, which is likely to push up costs.
Q: Are you planning to use air freight instead of or as well as road/rail?
A: Europa has an airfreight division so is well placed to offer customers such solutions. Of course the cost differential to serve Continental Europe by air instead of road is likely to be much higher.
Q: Will my goods be subject to new customs rules, procedures and inspections at the UK or EU border in future?
A: This is still being negotiated between the UK and the EU. If a formal withdrawal treaty is not signed, the UK’s membership of the EU Single Market and the EU Customs Union will cease from March 29, 2019 at 11pm GMT. This outcome has become known as No Deal. In this scenario, the free movement of goods across borders between the UK and EU would end. A proposed transition period from March 2019 to December 2020, designed to give businesses additional time to respond to the changes, would not apply. Goods traded between the UK and the EU would be subject to the same requirements as third country goods under the World Trade Organisation rules, including the payment of duty and tax. Like all businesses we await further updates and details from the UK Government and EU authorities. As Brexit negotiations continue, FedEx and TNT are planning to be Brexit ready. Our dedicated cross functional Brexit working group is assessing potential impacts and building plans to ensure we can steer your business through whatever changes might be in store. For the details on what to expect for a No Deal and what it would mean, please see here (UK Government technical papers on preparing for a No Deal Brexit) or here (European Commission preparedness notices).
Q: Will my business in the UK still have access to markets on the same terms as now once we leave the European Union?
A: This very much depends on what is agreed between the UK and EU authorities, and could be different depending on the outcome of a transition deal, future trade agreement or a No Deal. For the details on what to expect for a No Deal and what it would mean please see here (UK Government technical papers on preparing for a No Deal Brexit) or here (European Commission preparedness notices).
Q: What is an EORI number and will I need one?
A: An Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI) is a European Union registration and identification number for businesses which undertake the import or export of goods into or out of the EU. Businesses which have previously only traded within the EU will need an EORI number to trade outside the EU and if the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place. Applications can be made through your country government website. Europa will need your UK EORI number when making customs declarations on your behalf.
Q: For UK customs declarations will Europa migrate to the new HMRC Customs Declaration Service (CDS)?
A: We are aware that HMRC has begun phasing in the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) to replace the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. We are fully engaged with the CDS team as a key stakeholder and will be ready to migrate to CDS on an agreed timetable. We will keep our customers informed of any changes that may affect them, in the interim we will continue to support and make declarations to CHIEF. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/how-hmrc-will-introduce-the-customs-declaration-service
Q: Are there any restrictions on particular goods for different countries?
A: There are currently prohibited goods to and from most countries, generally published on the relevant country government websites.
Q: How could Brexit affect VAT on goods?
A: If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the UK Government have advised in their no deal planning notices that they will introduce postponed accounting for import VAT on goods brought into the UK. This means that UK VAT registered businesses importing goods to the UK will be able to account for import VAT on their VAT return, rather than paying import VAT on or soon after the time that the goods arrive at the UK border. This will apply both to imports from the EU and non-EU countries.
Q: What would a No Deal scenario entail?
A: The UK is scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019. The UK Government has advised as part of the No Deal planning notices that if a formal withdrawal treaty has not been signed by this point, all EU rules and regulations will instantly cease to apply to the UK. Details on what to expect and how to prepare in the event of a No Deal can be found here (UK Government technical papers on preparing for a No Deal Brexit) or here (European Commission preparedness notices).
Q: How might a No Deal Brexit impact my business?
A: The UK & EU Authorities have advised in their planning notices that, in the result of a No Deal,UK trade with the EU will be on WTO terms. Free circulation of goods between the UK and EU would end, so businesses would have to apply the same customs and excise rules as to countries outside the EU. Details on this can be found in the planning notices from the UK Government and the EU, which state that businesses would need to provide import or export declarations, revise their International Terms and Conditions of Service to reflect that they are an importer or exporter, and provide an import or export licence for controlled goods. Custom checks may be carried out and VAT import duty and any other duties would be payable. The carrier of the goods would have to make entry or exit safety and security declarations.
Q: What plans are you making for No Deal Brexit?
A: Some of the things we can and will do are:-
- Enhance the processes within our own, in-house TMS to manage the end-to-end processes for importing and exporting goods including facilities for management of payments of duty and VAT in the swiftest way possible.
- Expansion of the ETSF and Customs Bonded Facility at our Dartford hub to minimise the need to perform customs clearance at the port of entry thereby allowing us to perform clearance at inland border points rather than Dover/Calais.
- Utilising unaccompanied services and alternative ports of entry and exit and leveraging our increased fleet capacity and relationship with shipping lines as a result of our recent acquisition, Continental Cargo Carriers.
- Offering access to Europa Air’s Global Consolidated airfreight programme.
- Increasing the team within our European Operations by 40 people, in order to facilitate customs formalities.
- In addition, we are in the final stages of accreditation under the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) scheme and we have already completed a remodel of Dartford hub which gives us double the operating capacity. At this stage, and with no clear, obvious outcome, we believe we are preparing to the maximum degree we are able to.
How to prepare for the Customs Declaration Service
What you need to do to get ready for the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) will depend on how you currently make declarations using CHIEF
Countdown to Brexit