HSF Logo whiteHSF Logistics is now part of DFDS. Read more here.

Brexit: Are you prepared?

The Brexit transition period will end on December 31st 2020 and depending on a possible agreement some things will change with regards to the international carriage of goods to and from the United Kingdom. As an exporter or importer you are responsible for meeting the correct customs requirements concerning your consignments. This new legislation involves significant extra effort for most businesses. Below you will find an overview based on the information to date from the authorities involved.

In preparation we would like to ask you the following important questions:

  • Who is providing the export documentation in the country of departure?
  • Who is providing the import documentation in the country of destination?
  • Did you agree on the terms of delivery with your customer?
  • Have you already identified the HS-codes (product codes) of your products?
  • Do your invoices contain all the applicable information that is necessary to trade with third countries?
  • Does your company have the possibility for electronic data exchange?
  • Does your product need veterinary documentation?
  • If your products need a health certificate, are you aware of the correct procedures?

The following steps will help you get started:

  • EORI-number: Did you already apply for an EORI-number from your local tax office? You will need this number for all your customs formalities. Furthermore, you will need the EORI-numbers from all the foreign companies that you conduct business with. It is wise to obtain these numbers from your business relations already.
    If you want to validate an EORI-number click here.
  • HS Codes: These worldwide product codes are mandatory on all customs documentation and needs to be mentioned on your invoices as well. If you don’t know the correct HS codes of your product you can look them up on the internet or alternatively turn to your branch organization or supplier. We ask you kindly to start using these product codes already so we can cross check them in our system later on.
    If you want to check your HS Code click here.
  • Digital Order Entry: Transport orders by e-mail for collections on or after December 28th 2020 will not be accepted because of the (extensive) mandatory consignment details we can only process orders digitally. Therefor we would like to offer you two options: online through our existing order entry website or by using an EDI connection which allows you to place your orders in our computer system directly from your computer system. You can easily apply for a password to our order entry website and get started straight away. If you have multiple orders per day we advise you to set up an EDI connection with us. For more information on both options please send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Export or Import: Are you planning to transport goods from the European Union to the United Kingdom or are you looking to send product from the European Union to the United Kingdom? Who is responsible for drawing up the export documents and for customs clearance when you are the exporter? or who is taking care of this for you when you are the importer? If you are not based in the country of departure but you are taking care of the export documents and possibly the transportation, it’s important that you seek foreign representation. The other way around you should consider a third party who warrants your company for possible import duties. For more information on this subject you can consult the websites of your local tax authority and/or customs agency and/or Chamber of Commerce.
  • Terms of delivery: Determining the right terms of delivery (incoterms) for your business is crucial. This will determine the rights and obligations of the exporter and importer (see step 4). Your local chamber of commerce as well as various websites can certainly help you to learn more about this subject. The consequences connected to the various incoterms will be explained there.
  • Locations: The physical location of the customs goods can be important as well. Customs always has the right to physically check the consignment before they provide an export document or clear the goods. Therefore. it’s important that you make sure that the relevant customs authority recognizes (authorizes) the physical location of your goods as such.  This prevents the risk that your consignments will have to be moved to an approved customs checkpoint for inspection. In the Netherlands a declaration of the location(s) on your customs permit (AEO) is sufficient. In Belgium for instance you will need to apply for a separate permit for each location (GLP/GLLP permit).
  • Direct Representation: If you don’t have a customs department or customs declarant within your company you might want make use of an external customs broker to handle your documents and warrants for any possible duties to be paid. Do you already have a customs broker? We can facilitate that for you with our partners in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. You can apply for direct representation by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Sales Invoice: The customs authorities demand specific information to be visible on the sales invoices. These mandatory items on your invoice can be found on the website of your local tax office amongst others. You will need your original invoice to draw up the export document and the original invoice needs to (physically) accompany the consignment (with the driver) at all times during transport.
  • Veterinary document: When you want to export or import animal products a veterinary examination of the product will become applicable.  As it stands now a health certificate is mandatory for all animal products traveling from the United Kingdom to the European Union from the 1st of January 2021 onwards. The exporter is obliged to arrange for a veterinary document to be made on the collection location before departure. Furthermore. the consignment will have to be examined at a border check point (BIP) in the European port of entry first before it is allowed to travel to the final destination. Veterinary examinations are always by appointment and not free of charge. Obviously you need to take this in consideration and therefore it is recommended to make clear agreements on this subject with all parties involved, including the transport company. It is important that you arrange any possible permits with regards to veterinary examination on (your) location as well as any mandatory registration with the Food Safety Authority on time. The Food Safety Authority of your government can assist you on this subject.

And what about transport from and to Ireland and Northern Ireland?

The Republic of Ireland is a member of the European Union and therefore there is no export customs document (MRN) necessary for goods traveling from and to Ireland. An exception has been made for Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom. For the time being Northern Ireland is still part of the European Customs Union and therefore the same customs rules apply with regards to Import and export. However, because road transport from the European mainland to Ireland crosses UK soil these consignments will be treated as goods in transit. Basically this means that every consignment from the European Union to Ireland and subsequently Northern Ireland needs to accompanied by a T2 customs internal transit document.  We can facilitate this for you as well (direct representation not is required).