With the Brexit transition period well and truly lapsed it’s important that businesses continue to prepare themselves for changes in legislation and understand how this affects UK customs clearance.
As most readers will already know, customs clearance is an essential procedure before goods can be imported or exported.
This article looks at some of the risks involved in managing customs clearance and who can help.
Customs clearance is necessary for the majority of goods entering or leaving the UK. If a shipment clears customs, then the shipper will provide documentation confirming that the necessary customs formalities have been completed and the shipment can then be processed.
A key element of the process includes having an accurate shipment description, which would typically include information on content, commodity code, quantity, price, weight, and the country of origin or destination. When importing or exporting, the right customs clearance paperwork is crucial to ensuring cargo can be transported seamlessly.
Missing or inaccurate documents can increase risks, lead to delays and extra costs, or result in cargo being unable to leave the port of entry.
Not surprisingly, many business have a lot of questions, including
This is why businesses typically use a third party to manage their customs clearance, known as a customs broker (or sometimes customs agents). A customs broker acts as an agent for importers and exporters to help them transact their customs business. A freight forwarder may also act as a customs broker.
It's worth thinking first about how customs clearance is part of the bigger picture on importing and exporting goods. The stages before and after your goods enter, and leave the UK can be just as important as what happens at the border.
The UK government has set out helpful step-by-step guides on importing and exporting. These include breakdowns giving more details and links through to supporting resources or other websites, including the specific steps relating to customs clearance.
If we take first the process of how to move goods from the UK to international destinations, including the EU, there are eight steps involved:
The process of how to bring goods into the UK from any country is a little more complicated and consequently has more steps, covering how much duty and VAT you’ll need to pay and whether you need to get a licence or certificate.
Even for those who know the customs clearance process well, it can be quite confusing.
Customs brokers - or customs agents - can help to successfully navigate the standard three stages of customs clearance.
Costs vary significantly because every independent customs broker will have different services and prices. Also, the customs rules that apply depend on the commodity. Most customs brokers will give a client a fee that will vary based on the products that are imported, along with their value and point of origin.
These are some of the costs you might face, some of which apply even if you don’t use a customs broker:
Typically, customs clearance takes less than 24 hours. But, it can take days or even weeks. This is most likely to be a result of delays in government agency inspections. However, it could also happen if there have been errors with the paperwork or delays in paying import duties or other fees.
There are four main differences at ‘stage 2’ of the post-Brexit arrangements.
For those businesses that don’t have the necessary in-house expertise to navigate their way through the complexities of customs clearance , the simplest thing to do is work with a customs broker that has Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status.
You can find a list of authorised customs brokers on the UK government website. It’s important to note that not all brokers offer all services or cover all modes of transport.
Peel Ports Logistics operate under AEO status and we are keen to work with any companies that require our expert help. You can contact us at email@example.com
There are two types of AEO status: C and S. These accreditations recognise that a business’s customs controls and procedures are safe and efficient. It is a sign of being an operator trusted to work with HMRC and other border control officers.
AEO accreditation offers businesses the following benefits, which is why we would highly recommend working with such accredited companies:
Authorised Economic Operator status is an internationally recognised quality mark that shows a business’s role in the international supply chain is secure and has customs control procedures that meet Authorised Economic Operator standards and criteria.
Using a broker with Authorised Economic Operator Security and Safety status you can benefit from Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs). The UK negotiates MRAs with other customs authorities.
The UK has negotiated agreements with the EU, Japan, China, the USA and Switzerland, and are working towards having agreements in place with other global partners.
To hold AEO status a business must be part of the international supply chain and pass a series of checks by HMRC, including site visits.
The checks cover tax and customs compliance, customs record keeping, financial solvency, practical standards of competence or professional qualifications, security and safety, and recruitment.
A reputable firm with AEO status should be able to offer you the following:
Ultimately, the aim is to seamlessly ship your cargo from A to B around the world by overcoming the complexities of border controls and customs regulations on both sides of the transaction.
At Peel Ports Logistics our global team of Authorised Economic Operator accredited experts can help your business meet the ongoing challenges of Brexit and help resolve many of the practical difficulties following custom clearance changes as of 1st January 2022 and the customs clearance process overall.
We are customs qualified with CILT/ BIFA in customs clearance compliance. We also work closely with Borderforce, BIFA, HMRC, DEFRA and DEARA.
Whatever your cargo, our experienced customs teams can guide you through the necessary declarations for import, export or transhipment.
We also have our own dedicated transport team who are adept to deliver your cargo anywhere within the UK.