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Brexit: What you need to know

1. General information

The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and the United Kingdom was signed on December 24, 2020, and has entered into effect as of January 1, 2021. As from this date, the United Kingdom has third country status with a separate customs territory from the EU. Although this was achieved with an FTA, there are still significant changes in documentation and processes that must be followed in order for the EU and UK to trade with each other. 

For goods originating in the EU or the UK, there are no taxes or limits on the amount that can be traded from January 1, 2021, on. However, all imports and exports of goods between the UK and the EU are still subject to customs procedures. As each EU jurisdiction has its own reporting model, these customs procedures are not harmonized and can differ depending on transport mode and port of exit/entry. Hence, it is very important to know your cargo flow and route to market as this can affect customs processes. Furthermore, customs procedures are different on the English Channel, on the Irish Sea and when crossing the UK. The EU operates fully on a third-country basis with special conditions in regard to Northern Ireland.

cargo-partner provides in-depth expertise in air, sea, road and rail transport as well as comprehensive knowledge in export and import customs clearance. We can offer you a complete service package connecting the EU and the UK in this new environment, with a single billing solution.

2. Basic documents and data required

Document accuracy and efficient information flow are key to ensuring that goods move freely across borders. The following basic documents and data are required for export or import customs clearance:

  1. A full and complete commercial invoice containing
    • Consignor details including EORI number
    • Consignee details including EORI number
    • Incoterms
    • HS commodity codes (EU/UK)
    • Product description
    • Value of goods (including number, currency, items, weight and dimensions)
    • Origin of goods
    • Number of packaging units and gross/net weight of cargo
  2. Packing list, if available
  3. Additional certificates (EHS, phyto, etc.), if required
  4. Contact details of consignee and nominated customs broker, if available

Please feel free to email us your commercial paperwork and we will be happy to review it and provide feedback in due course.

3. Main customs procedures to be considered


Goods exported from the United Kingdom have to be accompanied by an EAD (Export Accompanying Document) and afterwards by a TAD (Transit Accompanying Document), which is subject to customs clearance in the EU country of destination. 

As an accredited AEO (Authorized Economic Operator), cargo-partner can support you in EAD and TAD creation as well as ENS (Entry Summary Declaration) filing in the United Kingdom.

When exiting the United Kingdom via Kent, truck drivers must have a Kent Access Permit to proceed to the port of exit. 

cargo-partner ensures that the contracted vehicle is registered in the relevant online portal and can enter Kent without undue delay. 

Upon entry into the EU, the TAD needs to be discharged and the goods from the UK must be customs cleared following existing procedures.

Our Europe-wide cargo-partner network supports you by:

  • contacting the consignee in the local language
  • agreeing on the preferred import customs procedure, which may vary from country to country
  • discharging the TAD 
  • providing temporary goods storage in our bonded warehouses, if required
  • import customs clearance
  • final delivery



Goods exported from the EU must be accompanied by an EAD (Export Accompanying Document) including the MRN (Movement Reference Number). When moving goods through France, this needs to be lodged in the French customs system as part of the “enveloppe logistique”.

Our European cargo-partner network supports you in generating the EAD and ensuring that the corresponding MRN is submitted to the French customs website. 

UK customs entry needs to be lodged before arrival of the vehicle in the UK. After final import entry is arranged, VAT- and duty-relevant procedures need to be completed accordingly.

cargo-partner supports you by: 

  • contacting the importer in advance
  • ensuring that UK customs entry is lodged before arrival in the UK
  • arranging import customs clearance at any UK (air)port with direct links to HRMC software
  • providing a duty deferment account
  • completing all CFSP documentation on your behalf, if required


Northern Ireland (NI) and Republic of Ireland (ROI)

Goods transiting through the UK from/to ROI/NI must be accompanied by T2 documentation. The trailer cannot stop to be unloaded in the UK. Transit must be completed in EU/NI.

Our cargo-partner network can support you in generating the respective TAD document mentioned above.


Useful Links

UK Government website: General information / How to get an EORI number 
European Commission: General information / Online customs services and databases 
International Chamber of Commerce: Incoterms
HS Commodity codes: EU / UK


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