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Compliance summary: Brexit – the first six months

Until relatively recently, many hauliers and their staff had never heard the words Carnet, Bilateral agreements, Common Transit Convention, Incoterms or EORI numbers to name a few.

Nearly six months after Britain departed the EU Single Market and Customs Union, however, these are now common words in everyday businesses across the UK that send vehicles or do business with the EU.

Here we look at the confirmed changes that hauliers must adhere to so that they can continue to trade with the EU since the transition period ended on 1 January 2021.

One of the many changes that happened was the Community Licence. Hauliers with a Community Licence were automatically issued with a replacement ‘UK Licence for the Community’ for use from 1 January 2021. A copy of the new UK Licence for the Community should, in all circumstances, be carried on board all vehicles when working in the EU.

If you work for a UK company, you can still use your UK Driver CPC card to drive to or through EU countries, if you work for an EU company, your UK Driver CPC may no longer be recognised in EU countries and you are advised to check with the relevant organisation in the country where you live and work to find out what you need to do.

Vehicle and trailer green card insurance is now required as proof of motor insurance when driving abroad, you will need more than one green card if your vehicle is towing a trailer as you will need one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer (you need separate trailer insurance in some countries). You must carry a physical copy of the green card insurance, electronic versions of green cards are not accepted.

You must have a valid passport and on the day of travel you will need your passport to have at least six months left and be less than 10 years old (even if it has six months or more left).

Drivers must display a GB sticker clearly on the rear of vehicles and trailers, even if their number plate has a Euro symbol, a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales or numbers and letters only and no flag identifier.

Transport Managers holding a UK Transport Manager CPC working for UK operators do not need to take any additional action regarding qualifications. The UK CPC is valid for Transport Managers working for UK operators, a UK Transport Manager CPC is not recognised by EU operators.

Currently the EU-UK trade agreement allows you to take unlimited point-to-point journeys from the UK to the EU.

After the point-to-point journey you are allowed to undertake two additional journeys before returning back to the UK

UK hauliers who wish to undertake up to three cross-trade movements (moving goods between two countries outside UK) may do so using a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit.

Many hauliers and UK businesses have also had to learn how to complete a myriad of customs paperwork from 1 January 2021 as the United Kingdom now operates a full external border as a sovereign nation. This means that controls are in place on the movement of goods between GB and the EU.

You need to follow special rules and procedures and have the correct documentation to successfully move your goods out of the UK. Failure to comply could result in your goods being stopped at the UK border.

  • You need an EORI number starting with ‘GB’ to move goods into or out of the United Kingdom.
  • To make customs quicker and easier to manage if you are a regular exporter you can apply for approved exporter status.
  • You will need to check if you need a licence to follow special rules, to move goods out of the UK.
  • Check your Incoterms – these are a set of internationally recognised trade terms. They define the responsibilities of sellers and buyers for the delivery of goods under sales contracts. You need to make sure all Incoterms and shipping responsibilities are written down and clearly understood. These will also allow you to determine which parts of the customs processes are the responsibility of your business.
  • A UK customs export declaration needs to be made to move goods out of the UK. Most UK businesses hire someone to make a customs declaration for them. Ensure that any export invoices have been raised and have the correct tariff codes and weights of the goods on them.
  • Check that you have the correct documentation with your goods for transport. Make sure you have planned the foreign export journey of your goods accordingly and you have included all documentation needed to pass through overseas borders. Transport documentation varies between road, air, and sea freight.
  • Check for sanctions and restrictions as the UK currently has various types of sanctions in place such as financial and trade sanctions. A failure to comply with sanctions regulations may result in your exports being prevented from leaving the UK.

As of 1 January 2021, Entry Summary Safety & Security declarations (also called ENS declarations) are required for all goods moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Carriers have the legal responsibility to ensure that the UK customs authority is provided with Safety & Security pre-arrival information for goods being moved to Northern Ireland, by way of an ENS Summary, Safety & Security declaration.

For roll-on/roll-off movements, this would mean the haulier if goods are accompanied, or the ferry operator if goods are unaccompanied. The carrier can agree to pass the requirement onto the trader; however, the carrier retains legal responsibility.

For controlled goods, the importer usually supplies the extra data required for these goods. They can supply this information directly to the Trader Support Service (TSS) and assign the consignments to carriers using the ‘consignment first’ process.

Hauliers moving goods between GB and NI are advised to contact TSS for further information, as it is able to raise declarations on your behalf for free. The TSS also offers training and support through the Northern Ireland Customs and Trade Academy (NICTA).

To this end the word ‘resilience’ has been frequently used to describe the logistics industry. Following 12 months of having to deal with new procedures for operating following Brexit, and the global COVID pandemic, the logistics industry has certainly proved its resilience, and ability to bounce back from challenges and unforeseen difficulties and turn them into positive outcomes.


Published On: 20/05/2021 17:00:07


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