Countdown to End of Brexit Transition Period


After what has felt like a never-ending Saga, Brexit and its repercussions are very much right around the corner. The UK Government has finally shed some light on how importing from the EU is going to take shape come 01/01/2021. We have had snippets of information up to this point, various new procedures that have come in and gone back out again, but now what we are looking at is a fairly cement final picture. There are still some blank areas to fill in, and this is all, even at this late stage, subject to change. Having said that, you are best familiarising yourself with the below, so sit back and get settled in. If at any point you need to clear something up, then contact us – phone or email, whatever suits you best. we’re here to help.

What you need to know

The United Kingdom is exiting from the EU at 23:00 on 31/12/2020. That means that all goods which arrive in the UK after that time need to be customs cleared, a process may already be familiar with from experiences buying goods from outside the EU. 

In an effort to make the process less strenuous for importers the UK government has created a simplified system of customs clearance which can be applied to all containerised imports into the UK. (please note that the arrangements in relation to road freight imports are still in the process of being finalised) 

Below follows a summary of what we know right now: 

  • All goods imported from outside the EU will require a conventional clearance. Very much the same as the process as it exists right now.

All containerised goods from within the EU (after 31/12/2020) will require the following: 

  • An inventory linked record needs to be obtained and released with the port of entry
    • This inventory linked record means that every container which arrives on the port is claimed by a customs broker and is then released so that container can be permitted to leave the port. Please note this is not a customs entry this is merely a transaction (under HMRC supervision) which tells the port that a company is taking responsibility for the HMRC declaration at a later stage
    • This is a compulsory part of the process and can only be completed by a company who has a data badge with the port.
    • Banks & Lloyd is such a company. We have badges at all the container ports in the UK and can therefore ensure that each container can be removed from the port without involving a third party.
    • The charge for this service is £10 per container. As this is a compulsory part of the process we will effectively increase our total charge by £10 from 01/01/2021 on account of a Port Release Charge.

A company is required to then keep a record of each import. That record should consist of HMRC technical information which can be obtained from the supplier invoice. Information such as exporter, customs value, vessel name, commodity code, net weight, square meters and/or items, etc. 

  • The company keeping that record can be:
    • Yourself
    • It can be a customs broker of your preference (i.e. Banks & Lloyd)
  • These records are combined at the end of the month (and before the 4th of the following the month) to be submitted to HMRC in the form of a Supplementary Summary Declaration (SSD)
  • The SSD needs to be submitted in an electronic format and in all likelihood your broker will be able to do that
  • For the 1st 6 months of 2021 there is no need to
    • Have a deferment account
    • Complete an application form
    • All SSD’s may be deferred until 4th July 2021
  • Once the 1st 6 months are over you may only continue with this simplified method of working if you have:
    • A deferment account (or work with a broker who has such an account)
    • Completed the application for simplified processes
  • Banks & Lloyd can keep these records for all our imports at a rate of £5 per container
  • Banks & Lloyd can submit the SSD (monthly from 4th July onwards). We cannot confirm the exact cost as this part of the process has not been completed yet. However it is anticipated the cost of this SSD entry will not exceed £100
  • Some further observations
    • All goods imported after 31/12/2020 are subject to Duty and/or Anti Dumping Duty as well as VAT
    • All VAT calculations (irrespective of the origin of the goods) are done at the time of the customs entry but will now become payable through your quarterly VAT return
    • All Duty (as well as Anti Dumping Duty) on imports from outside the EU need to be paid at the time of imports
    • All Duty on imports from within the EU can either be paid on a monthly basis (simplified method) or at the time of import (conventional entry)
    • All Duty relating to imports of goods from within the EU during the months January, February, March, April, May and June 2021 are deferred until 04/07/2021

The simplified method presents you with an opportunity without considerable administrative burden to deal with all imports from within the EU for at least 6 months. It requires no approval, deferment, or guarantee. All it requires is for you (in conjunction with Banks & Lloyd) to determine a process of record keeping.

We would suggest that the easiest and most secure method is to ask ourselves to keep the record on your behalf. You will be charged £5 and we will be collating all the data and summarise it so that the SSD can be made at the appropriate time. There is no need for you to remember to submit the SSD as we will automatically submit those for you and inform you of the declaration. Alternatively, you can keep the record yourself and make your own arrangements to have the entry transmitted to HMRC. 

Should you wish to use our record keeping service then you also have the option of informing us of any imports you have placed with other forwarders and we will keep those records alongside ours so that only one SSD is submitted at the end of the month. The charge for this would simply be £5 per recorded entry. 

To prepare ourselves for the 1st of January all we ask of you is that you inform us which one of the following options you wish to utilize: 

  • We want to make a declaration for Banks & Lloyd to keep a record of all shipments on our behalf
  • We want to make a declaration that we will keep all the records ourselves
  • At the time of placing an order for international transport we will inform you whether we want you to keep a record or whether we will do so ourselves

All the above relates only to imports of containerised goods which arrive in UK through inventory linked ports. All goods which arrive in the UK through non-inventory linked ports will be subject to arrangements which still need to be finalised. We will update, as always, with the relevant information as and when it is available

A "fairly" simple flowchart on how we can help

Like to discuss anything you’ve seen above? Or anything else freight relates? then get in touch!