The logistics industry was challenged greatly in 2020 – and the familiar issues of port congestion and a lack of equipment have followed us into the New Year too. But in reality, most of the delays being faced are not at the border, but come from not completing paperwork correctly in a timely manner or not having appointed customs agents at both ends of the supply chain.
Before shipping your goods:
1. Follow all the steps on our checklist
The UK leaving the EU means that every shipment must be accompanied by documentation that wasn’t previously needed. You need to double check you’ve taken all the preparation steps – from EORI numbers to agreeing Incoterms with your customer or supplier – and correctly completed all documentation before shipping. This is your responsibility – ensuring your documents are correct will reduce delays later on.
2. Sort your Statement of Origin
With the new rules of origin comes a new certificate that forms the backbone of your customs documentation. In order to claim preference under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a statement of origin will be needed establishing the origin of the goods. For more information, read our blog about rules of origin, and if you need support, contact your local chamber of commerce. For UK goods or for EU imports you can use this statement of origin.
3. Appoint a Direct Customs Agent
In order to do export or import customs clearance on your behalf in the UK, you’ll need to appoint a Direct Customs Agent. You’ll need to sign a letter of appointment – click here for our letter appointing us as your direct customs agent. This is one of the documents we’ll ask for on booking and we cannot proceed with the job without such a letter.
4. Complete your Commercial Invoice – and double check its contents
The invoice you need to provide is now more complicated, with a strict list of things that need to be included. Failing to complete this or missing off any aspects will cause delays. Look at this sample and align it with your Commercial Invoice. Is there something missing? Not enough detail?
5. Double check your customs clearance solution. All shipments need export and import clearance – so is the clearance sorted on both sides?
For example, UK exports need UK export clearance and EU import clearance. UK imports require EU export clearance and UK import clearance. For shipments with Incoterms DAP or FCA, we need to know who will be the customs clearance agent in Europe – our partner, Gerlach, operates around Europe and can facilitate all the clearances for your shipment on behalf of your customer or supplier. Where it’s needed we can also handle DDP shipments on your behalf meaning that by appointing a fiscal representative in the EU, import formalities can be dealt with for you.
With truck capacity under severe strain and demand for customs clearances far outstripping supply, it’s important to appreciate that some delays are inevitable during this time. However, if we all work together to put the right documentation and appointments in place at the right time, these delays can be kept to a minimum and we can keeping your goods moving.