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Moving Goods Between the UK and the EU: A Guide for Freight Forwarders and Commercial Drivers


This guide is intended for freight forwarders and commercial drivers who move goods between the UK (England, Scotland and Wales) and the European Union (EU).

He explains:

  • which documents are required
  • Rules for traffic management to ports
  • new border control procedures

There will be a separate guide for moving goods between the UK and Northern Ireland.

Current information

Some rules are still to be agreed between the UK and the EU. This guide will be updated with the latest information as it becomes available.

Visit an advice center at a motorway stop or a truck stop for personal advice.

PDF version for printing

You can download this manual as a PDF file for printing. The PDF is not intended to be read online. The information in the PDF will be out of date as soon as this page has been updated. Check this page for the latest information.

COVID-19 testing

You must test negative for the coronavirus (COVID-19) before crossing the border into certain countries.

If you are coming to England from abroad you will need to take a COVID-19 test if you are staying for more than 2 days.

Learn more about COVID-19 testing for carriers.

Free COVID tests are available for drivers and crews of heavy and light trucks and vans at some carrier advice centers.

Driver: documents, licenses and permits

Proof of qualification for drivers

All UK drivers require a Driver Certificate of Competence (CPC) in order to work. Drivers must carry their Driver Proficiency Certificate (CPC) with them when driving in the EU.

Drivers working for UK companies

No additional qualification measures are required for drivers with a current CPC for UK drivers working for UK companies. A UK Driver CPC is valid for all journeys UK companies are entitled to, whether under a UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement or based on EKVM approvals.

EU drivers can work for UK companies with a driver CPC issued by EU member states. If these drivers want long-term assurance that they can work for UK companies, they should trade in their EU Driver CPC for a UK Driver CPC.

British drivers working for EU companies

Drivers who have a UK Driver CPC and who work or want to work for companies in the EU should check with the appropriate organization in the country where they live and work about what to do.

Driving licenses and international driving licenses

Drivers need the correct license class for the vehicle they drive. Drivers can check the driving license classes of their driving license.

You do not need an international driver's license (IDP) to drive in the EU, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

You may need an international driver's license for driving in some EU countries and Norway if you

  • a paper driver's license
  • Have a driver's license issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man

Check if you need an international driver's license

IDPs can be purchased over the counter at many UK post offices. An IDP costs £ 5.50.

Visas, passports and ID cards

A British driver's passport must be valid for at least 6 months to travel in the EU. Drivers can check whether they need to renew their passport.

UK drivers can drive in the EU without a visa as long as they do not stay in the EU for more than 90 days within a 180-day period.

For information on how to obtain a visa if you need to, see the travel advice page for each country.

Before October 1, 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can enter the UK with a passport or national identity card.

From October 1, 2021, EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will need a passport to enter the UK.

This does not apply to citizens of the EU, the EEA and Switzerland, whose rights are protected by the Withdrawal Agreements, including those who fall under the “EU Settlement Scheme”, and to cross-border commuters. These people will still be able to use national identity cards for travel until at least December 31, 2025.

UK Freight Forwarders: Documents, Licenses and Permits

Access to the EU

UK companies have unlimited trips to, from and across the EU. Up to 2 additional transports (cross-trade or cabotage) can be made within the EU following a loaded journey from the UK, with a maximum of 1 cabotage move within a 7 day period. They must be made in the same EU country to which you brought your goods imported into the EU.

Both additional transports can be cabotage journeys in Ireland for Northern Irish entrepreneurs, provided they follow a journey from Northern Ireland and are carried out within a period of 7 days.

Own or company drivers (companies that transport their own goods) who transport goods for a commercial purpose are subject to these cabotage and cross-trade rules when traveling in the EU.

Trips that do not count as cabotage / cross-trade traffic:

  • The journey with an empty trailer from one EU country to another

  • unloading goods in the EU that you have transported from the UK

  • The collection of goods in EU countries, which can then only be delivered in Great Britain and not in another EU country

Company licenses: UK License for the Community

UK freight forwarders operating internationally require the appropriate corporate license.

Forwarders with a Community License should have received a replacement “UK License for the Community”. A copy of the new “UK License for the Community” must always be carried on board all vehicles when working in the EU.

EKVM approvals

UK freight forwarders wishing to make up to 3 cross-trade shipments (moving goods between 2 countries outside the UK) can do so with an EKVM (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) permit.

More information on applying for an EKVM permit.

Insurance card for motor vehicles "Green Card"

A green card is proof of vehicle insurance when driving abroad. British drivers must have a Green Card with them as proof of insurance coverage when driving in the EU (including Ireland), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Serbia and Andorra.

UK drivers and companies must ensure that they have a green card for all vehicles and trailers that are to be used in the EU. Contact your car insurance provider 6 weeks prior to your journey for a green card for vehicles and trailers.

Drivers must have additional green cards with them if they:

  • pulling a trailer (one for the towing vehicle and one for the trailer)
  • Have 2 insurance policies that cover the journey (one card for each policy)
  • Have multiple vehicle or fleet insurance (one for each vehicle in the policy)

Vehicle documents

Drivers must have proper vehicle documents with them when traveling abroad. This can either be:

  • the logbook (V5C), if available
  • a VE103 to prove that you are allowed to use a rented or leased vehicle abroad

GB sticker

Motorists do not need a GB sticker if their license plate contains the GB identifier alone or with the Union flag.

Vehicles registered in the UK or Northern Ireland do not require a UK sticker to drive in Ireland.

Drivers must affix a GB sticker clearly visible to the rear of vehicles and trailers if their license plate shows any of the following:

  • one euro symbol
  • a national flag of England, Scotland or Wales
  • only numbers and letters - no flag or identifier

When driving in Spain, Cyprus or Malta, drivers must show a GB sticker regardless of what is on their license plate.

Certificate of qualification for transport manager

Transport managers who work for UK companies

Transport managers with a UK Certificate of Competence (CPC) for transport managers working for UK companies do not require any additional qualification measures. The UK-CPC is valid for transport managers who work for UK companies.

Transport managers who work for EU companies

A UK CPC for transport leaders is not recognized by EU companies.

EU freight forwarders: documents, licenses and permits

Access to the UK

EU companies can make unlimited trips to, from and through the UK, with up to 2 cabotage trips in the UK, provided they are made following a trip out of the EU and within 7 days of unloading in the UK .

Community license

Transport companies based in the EU must have a license in their country of establishment and always have a community license with them.

Driver and vehicle documentation

EU companies trading to, from or through the UK are required to have proof of vehicle insurance for their vehicles and trailers. The UK recognizes a green card or other form of proof of insurance coverage.

Responsibilities in cross-border goods transport


Traders are responsible for filing customs declarations and providing shipping companies and drivers with correct documents. This can be done directly or via a third party, e.g. a carrier, a logistics company or a customs agent.

Freight forwarding company

The freight forwarding company must ensure that drivers have all the necessary customs information and documents and other documents with them.

The freight forwarding company must also ensure that drivers know what documents to submit at each stage of the journey, including:

  • in the case of roadside checks before departure - checks to prove readiness at the border
  • in ports or at train terminals
  • at customs offices


The driver must keep the information and documents provided by the shipping company with him in the vehicle while driving. This also includes information and documents to meet the requirements of the EU member states. This is because any shipment of goods from the EU to the UK is both an export for the EU authorities and an import for the UK authorities.

Drivers need to know what information and documents are needed and where, when and how they have to be presented and checked.

Internal border facilities

Inland Border Facilities (IBFs) are UK government locations where customs and document controls can take place away from port locations.

IBFs act as the Government Office of Departure (for outbound journeys) and as the Government Office of Destination (for inbound journeys). Freight forwarders can start and end trips at IBFs when moving goods to and from the UK.

Controls are carried out at IBFs for the following movements:

  • Common Transit Convention (CTC), also known as Transit
  • ATA carnet
  • Carnet TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers)
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)

Shippers may need to go to an internal border facility if they:

  • have entered the UK or plan to leave the UK via Dover, the Eurotunnel or Holyhead and ...
    • start or end a CTC transaction
    • Need CITES controls
    • have to have an ATA or TIR Carnet stamped
  • were referred there because they are not ready for the border
  • have been referred there for a document or physical inspection of their cargo

IBF locations and functions

IBF locationaddressFunctions

(Entry and exit)

Adjacent J10a M20

sat nav: 51.132138, 0.914994

what3words: corner.coach.sing

Start of the transit movement (Office of Departure)
End of transit movement (Office of Destination)
Stamping ATA and TIR carnets
Control of CITES licenses
Physical controls and inspections
Traffic management

These functions may overlap with Ashford, Waterbrook for the first 3 months of operation.


International Way
Ebbsfleet Valley
DA10 1EB

Start of the transit movement (Office of Departure)
Stamping ATA and TIR carnets
Control of CITES licenses
DEFRA prioritization (seafood and day-old chicks)
Physical controls and inspections
North Weald Airfield


North Weald Airfield
Merlin Way
North Weald
CM16 6GB

Start of the transit movement (Office of Departure)
Stamping ATA and TIR carnets
Physical controls and inspections
Birmingham Airport (entry and exit)

Birmingham International Airport
BHX Car Park 6
B26 3QY

Start of the transit movement (Office of Departure)
End of transit movement (Office of Destination)
Stamping ATA and TIR carnets
Physical controls and inspections

(Entry and exit)

Barley Castle Lane
Appleton Thorn

Start of the transit movement (Office of Departure)
End of transit movement (Office of Destination)
Stamping ATA and TIR carnets
Physical controls and inspections
Dover Western Docks

Dover Western Docks
Lord Warden Square
CT17 9DN

End of transit movement (Office of Destination)
Stamping ATA and TIR carnets
Control of CITES licenses
Physical controls and inspections
Stop 24

Folkestone Services
Junction 11 M20
CT21 4BL

End of transit movement (Office of Destination)
Stamping ATA and TIR carnets
Physical controls and inspections
Manston AirportManston Airport
The Cargo Center
Spitfire Way
CT12 5FF
Used as soon as the traffic management processes for the port of Dover are implemented
Holyhead - Port of Holyhead

(Entry and exit)
Holyhead PortOffice of Transit
CITES controls
Holyhead - RoadKing Truckstop
(Entry and exit)
RoadKing Truckstop
Parc Cybi
LL65 2YQ
Start of transit movement (Office of Departure)
End of transit movement (Office of Destination)
Stamping ATA and TIR carnets

Reservation is required for these services.
At least 24 hours before your planned arrival:
- Let Border Force know when you expect to arrive
- Notify Border Force if you are transporting live animals

Notify Border Force of your arrival by emailing BFHo[email protected]

Prepare before traveling to Holyhead - use an approved shipper / consignee to begin or end your transit movement.

Entry refers to the movement of goods into the UK. Exit refers to the movement of goods out of the UK.

Information and advice centers

At the forwarding advice centers, truck drivers can:

  • do a COVID test
  • Find out about the rules and documents required to move goods between the UK and the EU
  • conduct a free border readiness check to ensure they have the correct documents to cross the border into the EU

The advice centers are located at motorway service stations and truck stops.

Traffic management in Kent

Truck drivers no longer need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to enter Kent.

Traffic jams can still occur when truck drivers arrive at the port of Dover or the Eurotunnel without the correct documents. The Kent Resilience Forum has plans to address this. The Kent Police will decide when parts of the plans will be activated depending on the traffic jam.

There will be traffic management between junctions 8 and 9 of the M20.Trucks crossing the canal via Dover or the Eurotunnel must use the lane towards the coast. Depending on the extent of the congestion, trucks can be held back between junction 8 and 9 until the congestion at the ports dissolves.

The rest of the traffic will use oncoming traffic on the oncoming lane. Trucks that are not traveling across borders or that are transporting fish / shellfish or day-old chicks and that have a valid priority permit may use the oncoming lane. Truck drivers can be fined £ 300 for using the opposite lane when they are not allowed to.

If there is active traffic management, truck drivers may be asked, again depending on the traffic volume, to follow the road signs to Manston Airport (if going to Dover) or Sevington. Priority permits for fish / shellfish or day-old chicks are issued in Ebbsfleet.

If you are driving through Kent in early 2021, be aware that disruption may occur if delays occur at the border. Truck drivers should plan their trip so that they can take breaks and, above all, night rest before entering Kent. This minimizes the risk of drivers exceeding their working hours. If necessary, there is a pre-agreed plan to reduce driver hours to help with traffic jams.

Truck drivers should make sure they have enough food and water with them in case of delays at the border. Truck drivers can find out about motorway service stations along their route in order to plan their journeys.

Kent County Council has banned truck parking in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone as well as Hythe, Maidstone, Swale and Thanet until July 1, 2021. This is to act against anti-social parking in residential areas. The ban does not apply to drivers who take their short 45-minute breaks in safe locations. In order to enforce the ban, the county council will not target trucks parked in industrial areas or at rest areas that do not cause obstruction or nuisance.

Traffic management in other ports

The Short Straits routes over Kent are particularly prone to congestion and this area is the focus of most traffic management plans. There are also plans to address local traffic disruptions in ports outside of Kent.

Traffic management in Portsmouth Harbor

A traffic management plan called Operation Transmission is used to divert freight traffic away from the entrance to Portsmouth International Port. To avoid delays and avoid the cancellation of travel plans, follow the signs that direct carriers to the nearest triage point. The documents can be checked in advance at the triage points and entry into the port can be granted. The triage points are open around the clock. Shippers should only go to port if they have a valid Brittany Ferries booking and proper documentation.

Traffic management in the ports on the Humber

The motorway authorities have a local traffic management program on the A160. It will only be implemented in the event of exceptional and significant traffic congestion in the ports of Killingholme or Immingham. The routes will be well signposted. Contact the Humber Local Resilience Forum for more information. Shippers arriving from the Humber ports must have correct documentation and ensure that ferry crossings are pre-booked.

Reusable packaging

Reusable packaging is packaging that is designed to be reused several times in order to protect sensitive objects or devices from damage during transport. They are not intended for resale and are intended for imports that qualify for duty exemption. This includes plastic or metal cages, boxes or frames.

In order to be able to take advantage of the duty exemption, the packaging must first have been exported or used for the import of goods.

An electronic customs declaration can be submitted for the import and export of reusable packaging. Or, if there is a customs relief, a written or verbal customs declaration for the procedure of temporary admission or free circulation can be submitted.


There are 4 ways in which goods can be transported across the border:

  • Pre-registration
  • Common transit procedure (CTC)
  • Admission Temporaire / Temporary Admission (ATA)
  • Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR)

The dealer selects which of the 4 options he would like to use. Its choice depends on what is best suited to the characteristics of the broadcast.

A security declaration is required for all of these possibilities.

There are two types of security declarations: exit summary declaration (EXS) and an entry summary declaration (ENS).

In principle, a carrier must submit an EXS to the customs authorities of the country from which the delivery is being made. For shipments exported from the UK, the EXS data is normally merged with the export declaration (which is a customs declaration). If it is a separate registration (e.g. for an empty truck), it is entered into the export control system (ECS) of the respective country.

A transporter is obliged to submit an ENS to the customs authorities of the country to which the delivery arrives in the import control system (ICS) of this country.

Inquire with your carrier (ferry / shipping line), as on some routes to the Netherlands and Belgium the ferry company carries out the ENS procedures on behalf of the carrier. The security details must be provided at the time of booking.

Security declarations are due for imports to and exports from the UK. In order to take into account the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, import declarations for goods from the EU to the UK will not be required until December 31, 2021. Northern Ireland remains aligned with the EU rules of the NI Protocol.

Safety export declarations for goods exported from the UK are temporarily suspended until September 30, 2021 for two movement categories:

  • empty pallets, containers and vehicles that are transported under a transport contract to the EU (or to other countries for which no declaration before departure was required before January 1, 2021)
  • and the transport of goods in RoRo vehicles for which an exit summary declaration is required

Security requirements apply to other types of movement from the UK to the EU and continue to apply to goods moving from the UK to the rest of the world (RoW).

Transport of goods from Great Britain to the EU

Checking whether a truck is ready to cross the border

The check a truck is ready to cross the border service is closed. Forwarding advice center employees can help drivers verify that they have the documents required to cross the border.

Special rules for trucks leaving the UK via Dover or Eurotunnel

Truck drivers no longer need a Kent Access Permit (KAP) to enter Kent.

Kent County Council issues Local Freight Forwarder Permits (LHP) to East Kent freight forwarders who have a Standard International O license.

Truck drivers with an LHP can use local roads instead of following the "Operation Brock" system.

Import of food and beverages into EU countries

Drivers traveling to the EU should be aware of the additional restrictions on personal entry. If you carry prohibited items in your luggage, vehicle or as a person with you, you must use, consume or dispose of them at or in front of the border.

You are not allowed to use POAO (products of animal origin) such as B. import into the EU those containing meat or dairy products (e.g. a ham and cheese sandwich). There are exceptions to this rule for certain amounts of powdered baby milk, baby food, special foods or specially processed animal feed. For more information on the rules and exemptions, see the European Commission's Guide to Personal Imports.

You cannot import certain plants and plant products into the EU. For more information, see the European Commission's Guide to Biosafety in Plant Protection.

Security declarations for export

Safety information is required for exports from the UK unless the goods are temporarily exempted or are going to Northern Ireland.

The required security information during export can usually be provided via the export customs declaration. This contains information on how to meet the security requirements. If an export declaration is not submitted before departure, a separate EXS declaration may be required.

A stand-alone EXS declaration is usually required if:

  • an empty container is being carried under a contract of carriage (a contract of carriage or freight contract is an agreement between a carrier and a carrier or passenger that defines the obligations and rights of both parties)
  • the goods have been in interim storage for more than 14 days
  • the goods have been in interim storage for less than 14 days, but the details of the import security declaration are unknown or the destination or recipient details change
  • the goods are in transit using a Shipping Accompanying Document (VBD) or Shipping Accompanying Document / Security (TSADs) - TSADs cannot be used to meet UK security requirements

However, until September 30, 2021, there will be a temporary waiver of security requirements for exports from the UK for only two movement categories. The temporary waiver applies to the movement of:

  • empty pallets, containers and vehicles that are moved under a transport contract to the EU (or to other countries for which no prior notification was required before January 1, 2021)
  • Goods in RoRo vehicles for which an exit summary declaration is required - this includes e.g. B. Transit movements with RoRo

A separate EXS declaration is not required if empty pallets and containers are being shipped from the UK outside of a contract of carriage.

For joint EXS security declarations and customs export declarations as well as for independent EXS security declarations, the submission can be made via CHIEF / customs declaration service (CDS). It is still possible to submit EXS declarations via systems from Community System Providers (CSP) or third-party software providers.

More information on why, when and how to submit an exit summary declaration (EXS).

In addition, the relevant ENS safety requirements must also be met for the country to which the goods are being transported. See the sections on Security Statements for France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain later in this guide.

Pre-registration - transport of goods to the EU

The pre-notification procedure applies to locations without customs control systems.

Before Leaving the UK: Customs Documents and Procedures

When picking up goods for onward transport to the EU, the driver must receive all customs documents that are required for entry into the EU. See the document checklist at the end of this manual.

The UK exporter must complete UK export procedures which include at least a combined customs and EXS security declaration. The driver must be told if the goods are to be presented to a UK customs office. As soon as this step has taken place, the exporter is granted the export ("Permission to Progress"; P2P).

Once the exporter has received notification of the export authorization (P2P), the driver can collect the goods and take them to the port or terminal of departure in the UK after completing the additional document checks required by the National Clearance Hub.

If the exporter is notified that the goods need to be physically inspected, the driver can collect the goods and take them to a designated point of export (DEP) or an approved location in the country for appropriate inspections. Only when P2P is granted after these controls are completed can the driver bring the goods to the port or terminal of departure in the UK.

It is the exporter's responsibility to inform the shipping company of the P2P situation that applies to a particular transport order at a particular point in time.

The driver must have proof of a United Kingdom Combined Customs and EXS Security Declaration. In addition, he must carry EU import documents as well as other documents that are described elsewhere in this manual.

Documents for the customs authorities of the EU

The driver must receive all reference numbers and papers from the dealer that are required to meet the import requirements of the EU country into which they are entering. See the document checklist at the end of this manual. The UK exporter is responsible (with their customs broker and / or logistics service provider) for making this happen.

The trader who exports the goods from the UK must:

  • Clarify with the trader who imports the goods into the EU whether all the necessary formalities and requirements have been met, e.g. submitting an import declaration
  • give full and clear instructions to the shipping company and driver
  • Provide all necessary documents and information, e.g. the shipping reference number (MRN) for the EU import declaration and physical copies of all licenses or certificates
  • You must ensure that the EXS safety requirements for shipping goods have been met. The relevant ENS security requirements must also be met for the country to which the goods are being transported.
Entry summary declaration

In the case of accompanied freight, the freight forwarder is responsible for entering the summary entry declaration - also known as the ENS security declaration - into the import control system (ICS) of the member state in which it is entering EU territory for the first time.

This is particularly important in UK roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) ports and terminals, especially those that do not have port inventory systems.

The deadline for the ENS declaration for the transport of goods by road is at least one hour before arrival.

Exit summary declaration

In most Member States (especially those bordering the UK) the EXS declaration is combined with the export declaration.

At the EU border

The driver must comply with EU import and border regulations for the country he is entering. Further country-specific information is given below.

Transport of goods through France

France has developed a Smart Border system for handling trucks over ferry and Eurotunnel crossings. It combines the data of the customs declaration with the registration number of the vehicle that is transporting the delivery (s).

When checking in at ferry terminals or when stopping at the Eurotunnel, the driver gives the MRN. The MRN is scanned and compared with the vehicle registration number (VRN) or the trailer registration number (TRN).

In the case of deliveries from several dealers, exporters or drivers can use the Prodouanes app to scan all barcodes of the individual documents. This will create an MRN envelope. The driver then only has to present a single MRN for the entire freight.

This data is checked by the French customs system while the driver and delivery are on the ferry or train crossing the canal. This allows trucks to be preselected for further customs and / or health and phytosanitary controls (SPS).

The drivers are informed on the way whether:

  • they can go on
  • they have to report the delivery to customs and / or SPS
  • there are problems that need to be resolved before they can move on
Security declarations for France

For traffic from the United Kingdom, the ENS declarations must be submitted in the French ICS before crossing the EU border. The submission can only take place via electronic data exchange (EDI) with certified software (or web portals). Some ferry operators offer the ENS declaration through their online booking service.

For accompanied freight, the freight forwarder enters the ENS declaration into the French ICS.

For unaccompanied freight, the ferry operator enters the ENS declaration into the French ICS.

Transport of goods through the Netherlands

The logistics industry in the Netherlands has recommendations for transit through Dutch ports.This helps freight and logistics companies with the various formalities involved in transporting goods between the UK and the Netherlands.

All customs declaration numbers for UK exports and imports traveling through the Netherlands must be pre-registered through Portbase. This is a paid service.

Drivers will not have access to Dutch terminals unless they have pre-registered through Portbase. The driver must present MRNs when checking in in the UK.

Security declarations for the Netherlands

ENS declarations are entered via the Portbase system at the time of booking the crossing. The transmission of the data is always completed by the carrier (i.e. the ferry operator) for both accompanied and unaccompanied freight.

Transport of goods through Belgium

In Zeebrugge, the digital RX / SeaPort system brings together the data submitted and requested by all parties in the port of Zeebrugge. The data is registered for imports and exports via your e-desk. This can be done manually, via a linked data connection or via customs software.

Drivers are not allowed to drive to the Zeebrugge terminal if the customs declarations have not been made in advance via the RX / SeaPort e-desk.

RX / SeaPort has detailed information on imports and exports via the port of Zeebrugge.

In Antwerp, customs documents are preregistered via C-Point's Port Community System. This pre-notification can be made by the exporter, the freight forwarder, the customs agent or the freight forwarding company.

C-Point has detailed information on customs procedures in Antwerp.

Security declarations for Belgium

ENS declarations should be entered into the PLDA (Customs Computer Paperless Customs and Excises) system via an EDI interface.

In Belgium, the ENS declaration is made by the ferry operator or shipping company for both accompanied and unaccompanied freight.

Transport of goods through Spain

Ports in southern Spain, such as the port authority of Algeciras, use the Teleport 2.0 port community system.

The northern Spanish port of Santander will soon use a similar port community system. Those who register can track their goods via the online e-service.

The port of Bilbao uses its own port community system, e-puertobilbao.

Freight forwarders traveling from the UK to Spain must:

  • submit the ENS declaration to the Spanish ICS or arrange for it to do so
  • obtain the MRN
  • log into the transport system and link the vehicle registration number to the MRN
  • The system checks the first 4 digits of the code of the Integrated Customs Tariff of the European Community (TARIC), the number of units of goods and the weight.

There is no equivalent "handling" system for groupage loads. All deliveries must be entered individually. Trucks cannot proceed to UK clearance until the goods have been cleared for export. The data must be provided to the carrier prior to the truck's arrival at a port in the UK. Otherwise the driver will have to take them with him.

Security declarations for Spain

An ENS declaration must be submitted for all shipments. The ferry operator must ensure that this requirement is met before the loading is approved.

In the case of accompanied freight, the freight forwarder enters the ENS declaration (only via EDI) into the Spanish ICS. This does not preclude that a private agreement can be made between the ferry operator and the freight forwarder to submit the ENS declaration for accompanied cargo.

For unaccompanied freight, the ferry operator enters the ENS declaration into the Spanish ICS.

The ferry operator sends the cargo list (including references to previous ENS declarations) to the staff in the Spanish ports. The employees then send the documents to Aduanas (Spanish Customs).

Transport of goods through Ireland

All EU import declarations must be sent to the new Automated Import System (AIS).

The Irish Revenue Customs RoRo service has 3 functions to facilitate the flow of commercial vehicles in and out of Irish ports. These 3 functions are:

  1. Pre-Boarding Declaration - Customs declarations should be made prior to arrival at the UK port of departure. The details of the security and customs declarations for all goods to be transported by truck must be recorded in the pre-boarding declaration (PBN). The PBN is a virtual envelope that links the details of all the goods carried in a truck. Customs gives the driver a single instruction to follow on arrival at any port in Ireland, regardless of the number of deliveries on board the vehicle.

  2. Channel Status Control (CLU) - Shippers can track the progress of the PBN via Customs RoRo service so they know when to arrive at the terminal. The CLU provides information on whether a truck can leave the port directly or whether the goods must be subjected to customs control. This information is made available via Customs RoRo service 30 minutes before the ferry arrives in Ireland and can be accessed by anyone in the supply chain.

  3. Parking lot self-check-in - drivers whose vehicles have been called for a physical inspection stay in their vehicle and use this function to inform the authorities whether the goods are ready for inspection. As soon as a test station becomes free, the driver receives a text message telling him where he can come for a check.

The use of the customs RoRo service is a prerequisite for receiving the PBN, without which access to the ferry is denied.

Review and approval systems

Goods are held in interim storage for a maximum of 90 days if problems cannot be resolved.

Storage areas have been set up near the ports, but space is limited. Claims must be made within one month and in writing if goods have been confiscated.

Traders must pay a fee to use the Border Inspection Post (BCP). An additional fee may be charged if registration is not received prior to arrival.

Goods can be rejected or destroyed if the PLC requirements are not met.

Behind the EU border

As soon as the goods have passed EU customs, they can be transported to their destination.

CTC - transport of goods to the EU

Before leaving the UK

If the dealer arranges for the goods to be carried under the CTC, the driver must either:

  • a Shipping Accompanying Document (VBD) can be given by the dealer stating that the shipment has been approved and that the driver can continue from the point of departure in Great Britain or
  • a Local Reference Number (LRN) or VBD that has not yet been cleared for transit and a request to present the goods and the LRN or VBD to a UK Border Force Designated Point of Departure - the goods will then be released, and the A VBD will be given to the driver

The exporter / agent is responsible for informing the shipping company and the driver about the status of the VBD.

There are security requirements for shipping goods in the EU and the UK.

Combined TSADs cannot be used to meet UK security requirements (UKEXS declarations). Traders who transport goods must ensure that the relevant security declarations in the EU and, if applicable, the UK are submitted by other means.

Since TSADs cannot be used for ENS requirements for shipments from Great Britain to the EU until the introduction of NCTS5 (due 2023), separate VBD entries must be entered in the EU shipping system (NCTS). Separate ENS declarations must be entered into the ICS of the respective member state via a commercial EDI platform.

At the EU border

If the transport takes place under the CTC system, the VBD must be presented by the driver to the EU customs authorities in accordance with EU-wide procedures.

Behind the EU border

If the transport is carried out under the CTC, the driver must present the shipping accompanying document to an EU destination or to an approved recipient, where the transit procedure will be completed. The goods are then subject to the EU import procedures.

ATA Agreement - Transport of Goods to the EU

ATA carnets are international customs documents that are used for the temporary export or import of goods.

Before leaving the UK

If the dealer arranges for the goods to be carried under the ATA Convention, the driver must:

  • receive the Carnet ATA document from the dealer
  • hand over the goods and the ATA Carnet to the UK Border Force at a UK office of departure
  • at the direction of the retailer, his agent or the logistics company overseeing the shipment
  • Clarify with the dealer whether the EXS safety requirements for the dispatch of goods have been met. The relevant ENS security requirements must also be met for the country to which the goods are being transported

At the EU border

The driver must present the ATA carnet and ensure that it is stamped by the EU customs authorities in accordance with EU procedures.

Behind the EU border

For transports that take place under the ATA convention, the driver must hand over the ATA carnet to the recipient when the goods are delivered. This means that the ATA Carnet is available to send the goods back to their country of origin if they are not returned by the same forwarding company.

TIR Convention - Transport of Goods to the EU

TIR carnets are international customs documents that are used for the temporary export or import of goods.