Wednesday, July 8, 2020

If You Thought Brexit Was All Over Then Check This Out Before You Celebrate

The New Rules Are Both Manifold and Complex
Shipping News Feature

UK – EUROPE – So you thought Brexit was done and dusted? Currently those with an interest in exports and imports between Britain and Europe are waiting with bated breath for somebody to blink in the Brussels talks with regard to a free trade agreement. Although fiscally and in private commercial financial terms the EU stands to gain more from such a deal, the facts that the monetary gain is diluted between so many states, and there are still sticking points on individual sectors of trade, has led to an impasse so far.

Even without the uncertainty surrounding the final result of negotiations, drilling down to discover the changes which are in the offing will be a confusing, even frightening, experience for many. Here we have endeavoured to paint a picture of what awaits and tried to reveal some of the potholes on the road to future European trade.

The changes will not all be relevant to each individual case, however miss out on the correct procedure at your peril. Everyone, from the shipper to the driver in the cab and the freight forwarding agent will need to be conversant and know the rules which will apply to them from 1st January 2020 and how they will change from the following 1st July.

We cannot hope to give here a full account of everything that everybody involved will need to know, however a diligent search of the relevant UK government web pages will normally reveal the correct, if often convoluted, procedures to be followed. One should also note that these goal posts are likely to make sudden seismic shifts and a full study of all the rules may make completing a Rubik’s cube whilst wearing a blindfold a simple task by comparison.

No matter, here for what it’s worth is our understanding of some of the points which various stakeholders will need to know, and have procedures in place for, prior to the UK’s exit proper.

Hauliers: General Information HERE. We await more details, due ‘later in 2020’ however from 1 January 2021, the operator licensing requirements for journeys to, through or from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will change. You will still need a standard international operator licence, but there may be other requirements, we just haven’t been told what they are yet. Truckers ‘may’ need an ECMT or other additional permits for international journeys to and through EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Once again ‘further details will be provided later in 2020’.

Details of ECMT permit applications are available HERE whilst all truck drivers are advised to read the relevant section of the government guidelines. Operators need to register any commercial trailers weighing over 750kg before driving to, or through, most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and abnormal load trailers will require additional documents. Drivers must carry both vehicle registration documents (a V5C or VE103 for hired/leased vehicles) and take a trip down memory lane as Green Card insurance is compulsory. You are advised to apply to your insurers a month before you travel to ensure you have it in good time.

From 31 December 2020 until 1 July 2021 for vehicles entering the UK the situation remains as it is now i.e. no need to evidence a customs entry has been made or one has a suitable permit, (or technically even a valid licence). Tachometer rules and CPC requirements will remain. However if stopped or checked by Border Force or the Port Health Authority it may well be necessary to evidence any relevant customs declarations have been made such as the declarer’s EORI or alternatively a Movement Reference Number (MRN) for controlled goods.

Ferry operators and Eurotunnel will make undertakings in their booking terms and conditions specific references to ensure the haulier/agent has completed pre-lodged customs declarations where these are mandatory. Failure to satisfy these carriers that the paperwork is complete will result in a refusal to ship.

General Export and Import Regulations from 31 December 2020 to 1 July 2021

With the import requirements for general goods entering the UK now delayed until after this latter date traders have a breathing space to prepare, and the ability to simply record import transactions themselves at the time of shipment and follow up with a supplementary customs declaration before six months expire. Controlled goods will need an immediate declaration (a full, simplified, or transit declaration depending on the trader's authorisation).

During this six month period traders will either need to apply for their own Customs Freight Simplified Procedure (CFSP) authorisation (or similar dependent on the final policy details agreed) to submit the supplementary declaration or, rely on their agent’s if they are already authorised, and willing to use their own authorisation on behalf of a third party.

For non-controlled goods during this transitional phase there is no need to submit safety and security information for imports nor to submit frontier declarations before moving the goods on. Again it is up to individual companies to study the sections of legislation which are relevant to them, whilst watching for updates as negotiations progress.

Considering exports from the UK during this period up to July 2021, the dragging of political heels has had more of an effect for British shippers. Every consignment will require an export declaration and safety and security information will need to be submitted either via a combined export declaration, or a standalone Exit Summary Declaration.

All exit border points should have the necessary systems and infrastructure in place to enable presentation of most goods to customs for exports purposes or to provide automatic departure messages to HMRC.

General Export and Import Regulations from 1 July 2021 onward

Obviously a full picture will not be available until talks have finally concluded but, under the general import requirements HMRC are implementing two separate models, pre-lodgement and temporary storage. Both are fairly self-explanatory.

Pre-lodgement requires that a customs declaration is submitted prior to boarding on the EU side. This is to enable British authorities to customs clear (and make risk assessments) prior to arrival in the UK. This enables the carrier to be advised whether or not they are cleared to continue their journey.

Temporary Storage is applicable only for those operating a customs-approved warehouse and means goods which arrive there have to be declared within 90 days of presentation and are subject to government inspection before they are released from the warehouse.

In both the abovementioned cases documentation will need to be spot on, and the use of an agent will assist importers in advising which of the two models will be the best choice for them. The government will introduce a new IT platform called the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to support the Pre-Lodgement model for both imports and exports and to facilitate Transit movements.

The message is the usual one, ensure you are ready in good time and understand the changing rules as they evolve by keeping up to speed using the government website. If in doubt regarding how to go about things, contact a reliable agent, a BIFA member or similar, who is knowledgeable on both European freight forwarding processes and customs procedures.