Brexit

The United Kingdom (UK) is exiting the European Union (EU). On 10 April the EU offered the UK an extension until no later than 31 October 2019. The UK may leave the EU before this time if the withdrawal agreement is accepted by the British House of Commons. A no-deal Brexit is still possible on 1 June if the UK does not participate in the European Elections. A no-deal Brexit is also possible on 31 October.

The Port of Rotterdam Authority is continuing to make preparations to enable freight transport via the Port of Rotterdam to run as smoothly as possible, also after Brexit. For this transport to run smoothly, cooperation is required from all parties in the logistics chain. It is important that all parties continue to make preparations.

This web page contains information for:

Information for shipping

Brexit or no Brexit, all ocean shipping should register a call at the Port of Rotterdam with the harbour master in advance. Please click on the links for more information for visiting ocean shipping and inland shipping.

Information for exporters and importers

After the United Kingdom has exited the European Union (EU), it will no longer be an EU member state. Procedures are needed at customs to import and export between EU member states and the UK. After Brexit, Dutch companies must complete Customs declarations for exports and imports. In the event of a so-called hard Brexit, there will be no transition period - importers and exporters will notice the consequences immediately.

In addition to the customs regulations, you could also be confronted with other formalities such as inspections for animal products or additional regulations for the import and export of waste.
The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) is calling on businesses that supply freight to clients in the United Kingdom or that receive freight from the United Kingdom, to register in time on the digital systems that are needed for the application and processing of import and export inspections and certificates.

Information for road transport

After the United Kingdom has exited the European Union (EU), it will no longer be an EU member state. Procedures are needed at customs to import and export between EU member states and the UK. After Brexit, Dutch companies must complete Customs declarations for exports and imports.
Regulations will change for ferry freight transport after Brexit. Prior to transport, at least three formalities must be in order:

  1. Booking at the ferry company.
  2. Customs declaration of the freight being transported.
  3. Registration of the customs documentation via PortBase.

If the transport does not meet these three conditions, the truck driver will be refused access to the ferry terminal. Truck drivers are therefore advised to drive to ferry terminals only after their customs declaration for their cargo has been made and customs documents have been registered in advance. More information is available from www.getreadyforbrexit.eu

Temporary buffer parking areas

Temporary buffer parking areas have been created in the vicinity of the ferry terminals. Truck drivers who are refused access to the terminal, can arrange the required formalities in this parking area, in cooperation with their client or transport planner.

Flyer for truckdrivers

Important information when formalities are not in order. Available in Dutch, English, German, Turkisch, Russian, Hungarian, Romanian, Polish.

Flyer Brexit

Information for local residents

Brexit will lead to additional customs formalities, passport controls and possibly to additional inspections by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA). This can result in longer processing times at the ferry terminals and increased traffic on or near the terminals. It is possible that you will be inconvenienced by traffic congestion. Up-to-date traffic information can be found on www.rotterdamonderweg.nl and www.vananaarbeter.nl.

Road authority, Rijkswaterstaat, local governments, the port business sector, the transport sector and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are working together closely to minimise the risk of traffic and parking congestion as a consequence of Brexit. For instance, emergency overflow facilities for trucks are being created on or near to the ferry terminals at Hoek van Holland, Vlaardingen and the Europoort port area. New temporary buffer parking locations are also being created on the north and south bank of the Nieuwe Waterweg.

Source: Get Ready For Brexit

Frequently asked questions and answers

Brexit-relevant facts and figures about the Port of Rotterdam

• Regarding volume, after Russia the United Kingdom is the second country of origin for freight transported via sea to and from Rotterdam. After Germany, Belgium and Russia, the UK is the fourth country regarding total throughput, at some 40 million tonnes (8.5% of the Rotterdam total).

• British imports are mostly comprised of short sea: Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) cargo, containers and liquid bulk. British exports to the Netherlands comprise mainly liquid bulk (particularly North Sea oil) and shortsea and RoRo cargo.

• CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) calculated in 2016 that Brexit could have a significant negative effect on the Dutch economy. This is because the Dutch economy, compared with the EU, is more interwoven via trade with the UK economy. According to the CPB, the costs for the Netherlands could amount to 1.2% of GDP by 2030, which amounts to some € 10 million or € 575 per resident. CPB thinks that the impact will be greatest on production in the food processing industry, chemical industry, plastic and rubber industry, electronic appliance industry, means of transport industry, and metals and minerals industry.

• The trade effect of Brexit on maritime transport from and to the Dutch sea ports may be considerable, as is shown in a report, ‘Stormy seas ahead?’, from the KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis (8 February 2018). The CPB’s Brexit trade scenarios were used as starting point for estimating this effect. Regarding the outgoing transport, the effect of Brexit has been jointly estimated for all Dutch ports as being -4.4% in the unfavourable scenario and -2.6% in the favourable scenario.

• If the UK leaves the internal market, customs formalities will need to take place. The Netherlands will need to establish customs facilities for this, also in the Port of Rotterdam. The Customs Administration of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) are recruiting additional personnel for this (750-930 for Customs and up to 143 for NVWA).

How is the Port of Rotterdam preparing for Brexit?

• An important consequence of Brexit is that it will not only affect terminals and shipping companies; its effects will continue throughout the entire hinterland logistics chain. This means that, if a German shipper does not have a customs number or its VAT declaration is incorrect, it will not be granted access to the Rotterdam terminal. It is therefore essential that all parties in the logistics chain adjust to the fact that the UK will become a third country. In September 2018, only 18% of Dutch businesses trading with the UK was actively preparing for Brexit. That is why the Port Authority is continuously stressing that all links in the logistics chain, from terminal operators to shippers, need to make preparations. Companies that wish to apply for a customs number should do so via this link.
• Brexit may result in congestion around the terminals in the port, as additional formalities could lead to delays, for instance if transporters do not have the correct freight documentation. To reduce this risk as far as possible, the Port Authority is consulting with terminal operators and surrounding municipalities to create additional parking areas for freight transport at or around the terminals.
• The Port of Rotterdam Authority and the terminals are conducting a simulation study into the possible impact of Brexit on the infrastructure in and around the terminals. The government and road authority can use the outcomes of this simulation to remove the most significant bottlenecks.
• As RoRo and short sea terminals do not yet have the necessary IT infrastructure for trade with third-country traffic, the Port of Rotterdam Authority is helping, via daughter company PortBase, to make IT system connections that fully automate the formalities, as is the case for container terminals. This will ensure the fewest possible delays in trading with the UK.

What opportunities and threats does Brexit pose for the Port of Rotterdam?

• In the short term, the possible delays at RoRo and short sea terminals are the most acute threat to smooth trade with the UK. In the medium and long term, the reintroduction of trade tariffs could result in changes in production processes and distribution systems, which could lead to smaller trade flows. For Rotterdam, this also offers opportunities, for example if companies move their activities from the UK to Rotterdam. The Port Authority and the city of Rotterdam are cooperating closely on this.

How can the Port Authority help the business sector in the port to limit the negative consequences of Brexit as far as possible?

• The Port of Rotterdam Authority has been actively informing the business sector regarding the possible consequences of Brexit for many months now, and that preparations need to take place in time. The Port Authority has also held many consultations with the government, municipalities and inspection agencies on behalf of Rotterdam’s business sector to ensure that all government efforts connect well with the needs of the business sector. This concerns issues including sufficient customs capacity and sufficient opportunities for veterinary and phytosanitary inspections so that these can take place in the port area.
• The Port of Rotterdam Authority and the terminals are conducting a simulation study into the possible impact of Brexit on the infrastructure in and around the terminals. The government and road authority can use the outcomes of this simulation to remove the most significant bottlenecks.
• As RoRo and short sea terminals do not yet have the necessary IT infrastructure for trade with third-country traffic, the Port of Rotterdam Authority is helping, via daughter company PortBase, to make IT system connections that fully automate the formalities, as is the case for container terminals. This will ensure the fewest possible delays in trading with the UK.

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