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Brexit’s only 29 days away. The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union means the introduction of customs formalities for the transport of goods also through Dutch ports. As part of the Get Ready for Brexit campaign, the Dutch explains how to prepare for Brexit.

Carriers transporting goods to Great Britain from the Netherlands will have to submit customs documents in the Port Community System of Portbase after Brexit. Full registration, as reported by ZMPD, will cost €499. The compulsory electronic declaration must be made by one of the participants in the supply chain – importer, exporter, forwarding agent, customs agency or a transport company. Otherwise, the vehicle will not be able to enter the port terminal and the ferry. To avoid this, the carrier must be in possession of confirmation of the online declaration.

Procedures for export via the Netherlands to the United Kingdom

The exporter (or freight forwarder or customs agent acting on his behalf) shall lodge a direct export declaration with the customs office. Within a few minutes, customs will inform him whether the goods need to be inspected (at the place of loading) or are to be released from it. Then the exporter (or his representative) uses Portbase to provide the terminal with the necessary customs information for his container. The exporter does this before the container goes to the terminal. Soon he will be informed whether the booking has been accepted at the terminal as well.

The terminal then accepts all registered containers and export documents and notifies the customs authorities of the arrival of the container or goods via the Portbase system. The containers are placed on the ship and, on the basis of the final loading confirmations, a manifest (a document with a detailed cargo list on the ship) is sent to the customs office. As soon as the customs office receives the manifest and is notified of the ship’s departure, the customs office directly sends an acknowledgement to the exporter (or his representative), which serves as official evidence that the cargo has been dispatched and completes the export process.

What does the exporter have to do?

In order to pre-notify customs documents for exports, the exporter must register with the Port Community System of Portbase for export declarations. To this end, he must provide basic information such as: 

– MRN (movement reference number given by customs after the exporter/agent has lodged the export declaration),

– customs document type (e.g. T1/T2, EXA, TIR, ATA),

– booking number (given by ferry operator),

– identification of the means of transport (e.g. semi-trailer registration number, container number),

– the gross weight of the cargo.

Through the portal, the carrier can check the status of export documents at Dutch terminals in real-time. Simply register in the system and use the Track & Trace Export option.

 Procedures for export from the United Kingdom via the Netherlands to the EU

Before any short sea shipping service, an exporter in the United Kingdom submits an export declaration there and makes a booking with the shipping service. Using Portbase, he sends an entry summary declaration (ENS) for all cargo on board at the first port of entry into the EU.

The shipping company shall then send a declaration of temporary storage (ATO) for all cargo unloaded at the relevant Dutch port. On the basis of risk analysis, the customs office shall decide which containers it wishes to check and shall immediately inform the shipping service thereof. Through Portbase, the terminal checks which containers the customs authorities want to inspect and blocks them for inspection. The importer (or freight forwarder, customs agent or carrier acting on his behalf) shall directly submit a supplementary declaration (e.g. import declaration) to the customs authority before the cargo leaves the terminal. Through Portbase he simultaneously informs the terminal about it. Based on this information, the container can be picked up at the terminal upon arrival without having to stop at the customs office.

What does the importer have to do? 

In order to pre-notify customs documents for exports, the importer must register with the Port Community System of Portbase for export declarations. To this end, he must provide basic information such as: 

– name of the terminal,

– number of customs declarations (e.g. MRN),

– customs document type (e.g. T1/T2, IM4),

– for the container terminal: the container number and for the ferry terminal: the identifier of the consignment.

The system allows for real-time checking of the status of import documents in Dutch terminals. 

Further information on the customs system and procedures can be found in the Get Ready For Brexit manual.

Image: Get Ready For Brexit

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