Friday, August 23, 2019

Freight Forwarding and Logistics Group Gives Useful Advice on Preparing for Brexit

What Import and Export Shippers Should be Doing in Case of a No Deal
Shipping News Feature
UK – EUROPE – With the likelihood of the UK departing the European Union without a formal deal on trade, advice continues to pour in from all quarters, some good, some misplaced. One freight forwarding outfit which has come out with some sensible points is international operator Rhenus Logistics, which has produced a handy checklist for international shippers of goods to help them manage their requirements in the run-up to Britain's exit.

The Rhenus Group, headquartered in Germany but with ten offices in the UK, says that the checklist is aimed at both importers and exporters, with its focus on ensuring that traffic flows are firmly aligned with the government's intentions of frictionless trade between the UK & EU, particularly in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

There are several actions that Rhenus advises shippers take immediately:

  • Register for an EORI number: an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number will be required when trading between the UK and the EU, enabling export and import declarations and clearances to be processed in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The UK government has announced auto-enrolment for small businesses, but it makes sense for businesses to take charge of their own arrangements
  • Sign up for Transitional Simplified Procedure: TSP is a self-declaration process which allows UK importers to receive their shipment without the need for a separate frontier declaration
  • Appoint a reputable customs broker: many major logistics companies offer this service either directly or indirectly
  • Determine the value of goods: this is necessary for trade statistics and VAT/Duty declarations. There are six methods which should be applied consecutively until the correct valuation is reached
  • Determine the origin of goods: this is key to determining the levels of duty applicable on goods being transported

Rhenus further recommends that shippers familiarise themselves with the Incoterms. Although familiar to seasoned shippers these set out the responsibilities of buyers and sellers for the delivery of goods under sales contracts. Rhenus believes their relevance will increase substantially in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. The terms are published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and are currently being reviewed and revised so the ICC link will give readers the chance to sign up to receive the latest amendments.

When the UK originally joined the Common Market, as it was then known, there followed a period of the use by Customs of transit documents (T Forms) duly completed by shippers which soon became obsolete as it was realised that Free Trade meant just that. Taking goods between the UK and Europe was subject to the same restrictions, or lack of them, as domestic consignments.

A No Deal will mean that correct documentation accompanying all goods suddenly becomes sacrosanct. Commercial invoices, licences and certificates will need to be supplied, as should details of customs clearance, and details will have to be concise and accurate.

Finally, setting up a deferment account will help with cash flow and facilitate rapid clearance of shipments by ensuring customs duties are paid in full at the time of import. Gary Dodsworth of Rhenus UK explained:

“While Brexit is set to impose a greater burden of administration and paperwork on importers and exporters of goods, there is nothing on the list that is overly challenging, and much of this work can be done in advance of leaving the EU.

“A reputable logistics partner will be able to help and advise in many of these areas, ensuring the correct permissions and clearances are in place to create a smooth transition to the post-Brexit trading environment, with minimal interruption to shipments. We would advise any importers or exporters who have questions or concerns in any of these areas to get in touch with us straight away.”

In common with other UK based agents Rhenus has taken extra precautions to handle the trauma of leaving the EU without an agreement. Rhenus Logistics UK recently retained its Authorised Economic Operator (AEO - F) accreditation while also applying for authorised consignee status, which includes, in part, upgrading its depots to ETSF (External Temporary Storage Facility) standards.The company's warehouse and contract logistics capabilities have been extended to cope with the possibility of increased pressure on storage facilities and a guide to its precautions to be taken published here.