Monday, July 19, 2021

Freight Forwarders Will Play a Vital Role as New Brexit Procedures Come Into Force

Many Traders Need Professional Guidance for Border Operating Model Stage 2/3
Shipping News Feature

UK – The question of how wisely British traders with dealings in Europe have used the extra grace period they gained when certain of the new Customs and Excise regulations were delayed in March will soon be answered. Now any with doubts are being strongly advised to utilise the services of a freight forwarder who should be capable of making the importations relatively trouble free.

There is still an air of apprehension as the implementation date for Stages 2 and 3 of the Border Operating Model approaches. These changes underpin the UK’s future trading system with the EU and yet the leading body offering advice on such matters is saying its members are still awaiting clarity on some key information that is needed for them to plan ahead and make certain key operational decisions.

The British International Freight Association (BIFA), whose membership consists principally of freight forwarding agents, is encouraging businesses engaged in visible trade between the UK and EU, and the freight and logistics companies that serve them, to make sure that they are fully prepared for rule changes that will take effect over the next six months following that initial postponement, which it had warmly welcomed.

With the clock running down on those extended deadlines to the easements introduced by the UK government to soften the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU single market and customs union, there are concerns that all may not be ready, with speculation in the media that the delayed Customs declarations timetable has simply postponed a potential crisis, BIFA director general, Robert Keen says he is confident that most BIFA members have now had the opportunity to prepare for completing new customs processes for imports from the continent.

However, he also noted that any importers that are new to the customs environment should beware of the implications of failing to make the declarations that will become necessary, saying:

“That’s why we are encouraging them to consider appointing a freight forwarder, if they haven’t already done so, to deal with their customs documentation, whilst they concentrate on their core business, which has been hard hit by both Brexit and Covid-19. Feedback from our members suggests that one lesson learned from the changes implemented at the start of January this year is that the practical application of the changes has often been as challenging or, in certain cases, more challenging than anticipated.

“Now, both the trade association and its members need to encourage traders to fully consider the likely impact of the requirements of Stages 2 and 3 on their business well before the implementation dates. Despite constant pressure, we are still lacking full clarity as to which ports will be operating a Pre-Lodgement, as opposed to a Temporary Storage, model for processing cargo, for example.

“Furthermore, despite reassurances from government, concerns remain among BIFA Members whether the necessary infrastructure will be built in time for them to meet the requirements of the revised deadlines announced in March.”

BIFA members have expressed particular concerns regarding the ‘White Cliffs’ facility under development at Dover. BIFA notes that from 1 October 2021, there will be additional documentary checks on products of animal origin and high risk foods not of animal origin, whereby traders will be required to declare all SPS consignments on IPAFFS The original documents will need to be submitted and these will be audited post clearance.

The third stage of full border controls will be implemented on 1 January 2022 and BIFA says that from a Customs perspective the most important changes will be the ending of the Delayed Declaration Scheme at that time. After this date, a full or simplified customs entry will be required at the frontier for goods being imported from the EU to the UK mainland. Depending on location the entry will have to be submitted as a pre-lodged declaration utilising the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS), or as a frontier declaration at the point of entry into the UK.

Associated with this is the requirement for a Safety and Security (ENS) Declaration to be submitted prior to the goods being loaded on the means of conveyance bringing them to the UK. In addition, certain products such as Products of Animal Origin will be subject to full SPS controls and have to be presented to Border Control Points, where inspections may be undertaken. Keen concludes:

”The period after 1 January 2021 was very challenging, although trade did not grind to a halt. However, the new fear is that we face much greater challenges after 1 January 2022 than we did the previous year, if only because there are more new processes to master and, historically, levels of import traffic exceed exports by a considerable margin.

“Clearly, there is much to consider and prepare for, and there is not much time to do so. Whilst we continue to help members with their own preparations, we are also encouraging them to help their clients that import from the EU to be equally prepared. Of particular concern is the level of preparedness and knowledge of EU suppliers with regard to the new import procedures to be adopted, and potentially the export procedures in Europe.”