It’s still unclear what the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU looks like. A no-deal Brexit is still a possibility. In this scenario, the UK will trade as a 3​rd​ country with the European Union. This will have implications for traders, importers and logistics firms alike.

The transition period, which runs until the end of 2020, essentially means that there will be little or no change needed for hauliers and freight companies in the UK, initially. However, ultimately a no-deal situation will mean that hard borders are introduced as the default position once the period of transition has passed.

We are well-positioned as a company to deal with any Brexit eventuality. We are working with a number of customs agents at Dover and across the UK, who will be able to arrange for the necessary customs documentation for the UK, along with the relevant import custom clearances from the EU into the UK. We have agents who will be able to handle all EU customs requirements, from goods entry to the relevant EU port, and on to the final destination.

This means that we are in a position through pre-authorisation to handle all export/import clearances on your behalf for any shipment that we handle for your business.

It will be necessary for you to create a commercial invoice and packing list for all goods. This will ensure that all the required export, import and transit formalities can be completed as required and without unnecessary delay. For a declaration to be completed on your behalf, the following information is needed: the full name and address of the importer, EORI number and VAT number. Terms of sale, the origin of goods and the relevant Customs Commodity Code are also needed. Alongside these, the number of items must be stipulated. Furthermore, the commercial value of the goods must be stated. Finally, along with the relevant commercial invoices, licences and certificates, a packing list must also be supplied.

It is important that all European suppliers understand that commercial invoices and packing lists will be a necessity for all imports into the UK. Failure to submit this documentation is likely to cause significant delays in shipping freight to the UK.

The implications of a no-deal Brexit would be far-reaching. In the event of the UK becoming a 3​rd​ country, it would mean that all wooden pallets used between the UK and EU must be treated to ISPM15 standards. Wood packaging is defined as boxes and crates, drums, pallets and dunnage.

The Withdrawal Agreement may well have been signed. However, until the future trading relationship is finalised, it is understandable that all customers and partners are concerned. We are keeping abreast of all developments so that we can support businesses through the transition and in preparation for whatever comes next.

In truth, nobody knows what the final future trading relationship between the EU and UK will look like. It is likely to evolve over a period of years. All we can do is ensure that we share our expertise and ensure that we are confidently prepared for any scenario.