S&S customs regulations for UK bound EU imports – what you need to know

In addition to additional rules on SPS checks, October 31st will see the introduction of new regulations concerning customs regulations for EU imports into the UK.

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New customs rules will apply to goods transported into Great Britain and Northern Ireland from October 31st of this year.

The UK Government explains that in order to submit declarations, it is required to register for either the Safety and Security (S&S GB) service for bringing goods into Great Britain or the Import Control System Northern Ireland (ICS NI) for Northern Ireland.

These declarations must be complete and accurate, and also be submitted before the vehicle transporting the goods arrives at the border. Declarations can nonetheless be amended at any time until the goods arrive at the UK border should any information change.

The goods that do not need a declaration are as follows:

  • electrical energy
  • entering by pipeline
  • letters, postcards and printed material, including those on electronic media
  • in a travellers’ personal luggage
  • declared to customs orally

Depending on the type of transport or shipping service being used, there are different time limits for submitting declarations.

The table below, taken from the UK Government’s own website, illustrates these differences.

How you’re shipping goods

When to submit (minimum timing requirement)

Maritime containerised cargo at least 24 hours before loading at the port of departure
Maritime bulk or break bulk cargo at least 4 hours before arrival
Roll on roll off (RoRo) — accompanied freight at least 2 hours before arrival of the ferry operator
RoRo — unaccompanied freight at least 2 hours before arrival of the ferry operator
Short sea journeys at least 2 hours before arrival
Short-haul flights — less than 4 hours’ duration at least at the time of actual take-off
Long-haul flights at least 4 hours before arrival
Rail and inland waterways at least 2 hours before arrival
Channel Tunnel at least one hour before arrival at the Eurotunnel terminal by the haulier
Road traffic at least 1 hour before arrival

As stated by Customs Link, for S&S GB declarations, companies will need to submit the following to ensure their vehicles can board ferries/shuttles:

  • Valid EORI number
  • Importer & Exporter company details
  • Reference number
  • Haulier (for driver accompanied vehicles)
  • Ferry Operator (for unaccompanied trailers)
  • Total number of packages and weight
  • Border entry point (name of port)
  • ETA time and date
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Trailer seal (if applicable)
  • Description of goodsType of packages
  • Any marks and reference numbers

Customs Specialist at CustomsLink, Dan Balshaw, says the new rules will closely resemble the ENS (Entry Summary Declarations) process already in place for GB to EU movements.

“If you’ve navigated those waters before, you’ll find these upcoming changes to be more of the same, just in a new direction,” Balshaw told trans.iNFO.

Regarding the possibility of penalties, Balshaw added:

“Penalties will be similar to the existing fines [which range from £250-£2,500], but in addition, consequences could mean anything from delays at the port to having goods held or even seized. It’s safe to say that getting things right the first time around is the best policy to avoid these potential hiccups.”