Helping You & Your Customers Get Brexit Ready

Following the UK leaving the EU on Friday 31st January 2020, the UK Government will have an 11-month transition period where business will be as usual. During the transition period, the UK will continue to follow the rules and regulations which come with membership of the EU, while the UK Government seeks to negotiate our new arrangements with the European Union.

What is the latest on Brexit?

Key details are:

  • It will last until 31 December 2020, allowing the UK and the EU to negotiate a Trade Deal that would be applicable as of 1 January 2021.
  • We can confirm that during this period it is very much business as usual and we will deliver your goods to the EU exactly as we do today.
  • Palletforce will ensure that we are ‘Brexit ready’ whatever the scenario and whatever the final date of exit, so that your customers can continue to ship pallets throughout the EU.
  • Even if the UK negotiates a Trade Deal with the EU on or before 31 December 2020, we will require additional mandatory data from your customers in order to keep shipping into and from the EU.

Two Brexit scenarios

No Deal

In the worst-case scenario, if a trade deal is not agreed by 31 December 2020, the UK may leave the EU with no deal. This may leave us trading with the EU under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, in the same way that we currently trade with the USA and other countries with which we have no formal trade deal or arrangement.

What does this mean to your customers?

Customs declarations will be required for each consignment - both a customs declaration and a security declaration (likely combined into a single declaration to customs). For export, additional information for the consignee in the EU is required – EORI number and contact details. Our rates to members will change as a result of customs handling. Transit times will increase because of customs checks.

Inspections will take place on some goods imported or exported – controlled products may need export/import licences and foodstuffs will also come under new controls. Detailed data will be required to export goods into Europe or import them into the UK.

Deal

Assuming the UK and the EU negotiate a trade deal.

What does this mean to your customers?

Some goods between the UK and EU may still be subject to duties and VAT. Other than this difference everything else is consistent with No Deal – a free trade deal does not remove the responsibilities for managing goods across the border between the UK and the EU. The situation with Northern Ireland remains fluid pending the Governments Internal Markets Bill passing into law.

Customer strategies

Please see our Brexit survey which we encourage your shippers to complete and return to us. It will give us an understanding of the kind of preparations they have made and collectively where our focus needs to be moving forward.

Your European shippers can complete our survey here. 

We are keen to learn what your customers’ plans for Brexit are and what kind of help they might need in a post-Brexit world. Whilst every business is different, and plans will be individual to the needs of each business Palletforce aims to help you and your customers prepare for Brexit in any way we can.

The next few sections will outline several areas that will help you get your customers ready for Brexit and continue to ship successfully to/from the EU.

How can shippers best prepare for Brexit?

UK.gov has written to all UK VAT registered businesses this week outlining the requirements for shippers to be ready ahead of Brexit – please click this link to view.

Required information

What you and your exporting/importing customers need to know. Getting a pallet from Birmingham to Paris today is just as easy as moving one from Birmingham to Newcastle. Following the end of Transition, additional pieces of information will be required for every pallet shipment to ensure it can move across the border. There will be a new booking screen and new data fields in Alliance that you will need to complete to ensure your customers’ pallets travel to and from the EU with no delays.

Commodity Codes

Commodity codes also known as HS codes represent the product or products that shippers are sending and can be recognised worldwide by all customs systems in countries that are members of the WTO, including the EU. This eliminates language barriers and issues with vague descriptions at customs clearance points.

There is no specific code for a pair of branded trainers, but there is a code for footwear with outer soles of rubber or plastics, so customers may end up using the same code for various products of the same type. To ensure your customers can export they need to provide us with the 8-digit format of their commodity code.

New Data

Providing a detailed product description is necessary to ensure shipments clear customs. Descriptions must be specific and accurate, see below:

 

  • It is key for members to understand that the correct capture of consignment information in Alliance, as with domestic pallets, ensures the best opportunity to deliver without delay at the Border.
  • Palletforce will provide the additional fields in Alliance to allow data to be input (if required) after the transition period
  • If you have any questions, please contact our Brexit Support Desk: brexit@palletforce.com

If you have any questions about Brexit and how this might affect your business, you can contact our Brexit Support Team by submitting an enquiry form below.

More detailed than what your customers might be used to, these need to be fairly detailed to ensure there is no ambiguity about what they are sending. If there is any doubt from customs about what is inside a pallet, customer goods may be subject to delays.

EORI Number

Your customers can register for an EORI number easily by visiting gov.uk/eori. In the UK, an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is assigned to importers and exporters by HMRC and is used during the customs clearance process for both import and export shipments traveling to or from the EU and countries outside the EU. In a post-Brexit world, it will be a mandatory requirement to have an EORI number to ship into the EU from the UK.

Country of Origin

Declaring which country that products were manufactured or produced in is crucial for international trade. It has an impact on duty and tax rates, and security checks if required.

Consignment Value

A correct declaration of the sale value of goods, supported by the commercial invoice is key to ensure that imported products pay the appropriate level of duty/taxes on arrival. Under-declaration will lead to HMRC penalties on exporters compounded to prosecution. Importers can face similar penalties including seizure of goods.

Total Weight

The total weight of your customers’ pallets or consignment in KG. Alliance requests Gross and Nett Weight is completed.

Package Description

We need the package description – i.e. a barrel will need to be declared as a barrel, we can’t auto-populate everything with “pallet”.

Reason for Export

For all consignments, your customers will need to supply a ‘Reason for Export or Import’.

Alliance has been defined to request the Customs Procedure Code (CPC) – this must be dictated by the shipper / importer and not assumed by Palletforce. It is the customer’s reason for import or export, expressed as either a seven digit number or a six digit number and one letter. It describes the purpose of shipment which in turn directly determines how the customer’s shipment is processed and ultimately if, how, when and from whom duties and taxes are collected.

Terms of Trade

International trade terms may change if the UK and the EU agree on a trade deal. Once details of the trade arrangements are known, Palletforce will make sure you are covered for any regular export shipping requirements.

Data, Not Paper

As part of our drive to be a clean, green company Palletforce will not be accepting paper invoices post-Brexit. However, there may be circumstances where additional documentation will need to accompany the goods at the border. The vast majority of the data you need to give us, to transport your customers’ pallets when we leave the EU will be required electronically – uploaded to Alliance. Alliance will be updated before the UK leaves the EU to ensure we capture all the information we need.

Contact Information

We’ve already encouraged you to get the recipient contact name and phone number for EU shipments, however post-Brexit contact information will become integral to sending pallets to the EU and this requirement will be mandatory in Alliance

What can you do now?

Contact your shippers and make sure they are Brexit Ready. We have provided a handy checklist on the following page – your customers need to tick all of these boxes to successfully declare themselves ‘Brexit Ready’.

Summary checklist for shippers

  • Register with HMRC for an EORI number.
  • Classify goods with the correct 8-digit commodity code.
  • Classify which CPC code is required for your EU shipments.
  • Ensure the product country of origin is declared on accompanying invoices or data.
  • Ensure all product values are declared accurately on accompanying invoices or data.
  • Check product descriptions are accurate and compliant against the commodity code.
  • Ensure Consignee telephone numbers and addresses are captured.
  • Decide on the Terms of Delivery and ensure this is in the data passed to your Palletforce Member.
  • Check that all additional required information is passed through to your Palletforce Member in the data from your systems.
  • Check what additional controls are required on your goods Post Brexit – products requiring export licences, foodstuffs or animal by-products needing control for example.
  • When importing ensure you give details of the deferment account to be used for any duty or taxes liable.

Next steps

  • It is key for members to understand that the correct capture of consignment information in Alliance, as with domestic pallets, ensures the best opportunity to deliver without delay at the Border.
  • Palletforce will provide the additional fields in Alliance to allow data to be input (if required) after the transition period
  • If you have any questions, please contact our Brexit Support Desk: brexit@palletforce.com

We're here to help.

If you have any questions about Brexit and how this might affect your business, you can contact our Brexit Support Team by submitting an enquiry form below.