Brexit: anticipating tomorrow's challenges - Groupe Sterne

Brexit: anticipating tomorrow’s challenges

Re-establishment of customs duties, customs formalities, VAT controls, sanitary and phytosanitary controls. In the absence of an agreement during the transition period, relations between the EU and the United Kingdom will be governed by the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) from January 1st, 2021.

The impact is considerable for the transport and logistics sectors. Whether it is the processing of imports, exports or transits, the STERNE Group has taken the lead.

A major challenge for the transport sector

60% of tonnages traded between the EU and the UK pass through French infrastructures. Every day, 6,000 trucks get through Calais and 4,000 use the Channel Tunnel. A total of 4.2 million lorries, 32 million passengers and 4.8 million light vehicles cross the Channel each year. This shows how French transport companies are at the forefront of preparing for the consequences of a possible “No Deal” between the United Kingdom and its former European partners.

Clearly, if nothing is done, the flows of people and goods to be controlled will be multiplied by 10 and the control times by 4 or 5. The risk of congestion is therefore real. Of course, the French authorities have made arrangements. 50 million euro will be spent on the necessary development work at ports and airports to avoid major slowdowns. 600 customs officers or veterinarians will also be hired. Finally, specific information websites and a customs guide for preparing for Brexit are available online.

Companies are asked to anticipate the consequences of a “No Deal” and to take the necessary measures. The Directorate General for Enterprise (DGE) of the Ministry of Economy has made available to them a document to help them prepare for an exit without agreement from the United Kingdom of the European Union. In particular, the restoration of customs duties and border controls can have a real impact on the supply chain of companies that import or export products to or from the United Kingdom. The companies concerned are therefore encouraged to integrate the customs clearance function into their processes and cost analysis relating to their operations with the United Kingdom.

The Sterne Group at the initiative

The prospect of a hard Brexit is clearly a unique challenge for the European transport and logistics community. Maintaining the smooth flow of goods and passengers remains a top priority for all companies, whether they are located in the United Kingdom or on the continent.

For its part, the STERNE Group has been anticipating for over a year the consequences of a “Hard Brexit”. Our status as a customs agent, combined with the important consultation work carried out in recent months, both with the French and British administrations, guarantees to all our customers simple and fluid customs procedures, whether it concerns the treatment of imports, exports or transits.

As for today, we currently have 3 customs-controlled storage sites in France, Roissy in France (95), Hénin-Beaumont (62) and Rouen (76), available 24H/24. Each of these sites is able to issue or clear transit passes, report exports to the United Kingdom and process imports to France according to customs office schedules.

In order to avoid delays in processing, we ask all our customers to accompany each load entrusted to the STERNE Group and its subsidiaries to or from the United Kingdom with the following information and documents.

For imports from the United Kingdom, the following steps must be taken :

  • Define with my supplier the sales rules (Incoterms defining responsibilities: insurance, transport, etc.)
  • Ask for your EORI number
  • Contract with a registered customs representative (RCR) to complete import customs formalities (ATS is RCR certified)
  • Determine the type of goods being transported (HS Code, origin, certificate of conformity
  • Contact customs for payment of duties and taxes/VAT

For exports to the United Kingdom :

  • Define with my supplier the sales rules (Incoterms defining responsibilities: insurance, transport, etc.)
  • Get the EORI number of your customer
  • Contract with a registered customs representative (RCR) to complete import customs formalities (ATS is RCR certified)
  • Determine the type of goods being transported (HS Code, origin, certificate of conformity). Warning : Attention, goods under excise duty: specific procedure in case of export
  • Ensure that pallets comply with the NIMP15/ISPM 15 standard or risk blocking the border

The provision of these documents will guarantee you easier clearance operations. With or without Brexit, whatever the degree of urgency of your shipments, the STERNE Group makes every effort to guarantee you optimal and customised transport conditions.

Questions or advice ?
Contact our experts !

Q&A : Loïc CHAVROCHE, Chief Brexit officer

How can we anticipate our exports and imports to England?

In order to export or import goods you must have an EORI number. If you do not have one, you must log in to the Customs teleservice to file an application and obtain a certificate of registration with your EORI number. We advise you to anticipate your first operations by contacting your ATS agency who will send you a customs representative mandate so that we can carry out the formalities on your behalf.

What documents are required to export or import?

You must provide us with the following information :

  • the nature and quantity of the goods concerned;
  • the origin or destination of the goods;
  • the value of these goods.

We must receive the following :

  • the invoice;
  • the incoterm chosen or, in the absence, the elements of the commercial contract uniting the seller and the buyer to determine the applicable incoterms
  • any document related to the goods
  • your tax ID in case of export

Are there more complex goods to import or export?

Yes, there are so-called “Specific” goods that will require a preliminary study by ATS teams.

Examples include the following:

  • Health products (drugs)
  • Alcohol
  • Petroleum Products
  • Health products (perishables of animal or plant origin, etc.)
  • Products with an impact on the environment (waste, chemicals, etc.)
  • CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wildlife
  • War equipment, firearms and ammunition
  • Dual Use Property
  • Explosives and pyrotechnics

If you have this type of goods to import or export, a contact with one of our customs specialists is done very quickly.