The European Union and the United Kingdom have entered into a trade deal, which will take effect on 1 January 2021. Despite the agreement, customs formalities will apply to freight traffic with the UK as of then.

Time for action!

Any transport to the United Kingdom will require a customs declaration from 1 January onwards and the customs document to be pre-notified at the ferry or short sea terminal. Whether you are a driver, carrier, freight forwarder, importer or exporter, everyone must prepare themselves and make good arrangements with each other. By taking action together now, cargo will always be able to pass through our port quickly. Arrange it immediately and ensure that your chain partners do the same. Only together can we prevent delays. With only such a short time left to go, now is the time for action!

Source: Get Ready For Brexit

Ready for Brexit in 5 steps

Step 1: Register with Customs
No relationship with Customs yet? Request an EORI number with them as soon as possible.

Step 2: Decide who takes care of the import and export declarations
After Brexit, determine whether you will submit import and/or export declarations to Customs yourself or whether you will use a forwarder or customs agent for this.

Step 3: Determine who is responsible for the pre-notification of customs documents
After Brexit, the pre-notification of customs documents via Portbase is mandatory at all ferry terminals and most shortsea terminals. The importer/exporter can do this, but also the forwarder, customs agent or, on occasion, the transport company. Make clear agreements about this! Without pre-notification, the transporter will not be granted access to the terminal.

Step 4: Subscribe to the Portbase services
You can digitally pre-notify and track your cargo in real time via Portbase. For import cargo, subscribe to the services Notification Import Documentation and Import Status. For export cargo, you need the services Notification Export Documentation and Track & Trace Export.

Step 5: Check beforehand whether the terminal has the customs document
Only cargo that has been digitally pre-notified can enter and leave the terminal. Otherwise, the container or trailer will come to a standstill here.

Put of all Europe within reach

Of the 54 million tonnes of goods traded between the Netherlands and the UK every year, approximately 80% goes via the port of Rotterdam.
This makes the port of Rotterdam is an important logistics hub for import from and export to the UK.

Rotterdam is among the top 3 RoRo ports in Western Europe. Five terminals ensure efficient handling and are connected to the European transport network.

Various terminals have access to an on-site rail terminal, which connects Rotterdam with countries including Poland, Germany and Italy.

The port of Rotterdam is also a well-developed shortsea hub. The Rotterdam shortsea network offers over 200 destinations to various ports in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, the Baltic States and Russia.

The 24/7 accessibility of the terminals in conjunction with the ‘just in time’ principle allows cargo to be delivered to the terminals just before departure, a major advantage for shipping lines, shippers and forwarders.

Find out more about the RoRo services and short sea solutions.

Information for shipping

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


Are your ready for Brexit? Download theGet Ready For Brexit Flyer and handbook.

Are you ready for Brexit?

As of the 1st of January 2021, customs formalities will definitely be in effect for cargo traffic with the United Kingdom. From that date on, a declaration must be submitted to Customs prior to each transport. Questions about Brexit? You'll find answers in the Get Ready for Brexit newsletter and you can read how various partners in Get Ready for Brexit are offering you a helping hand.

Read the Get ready for Brexit newsletter October 2020
Read the Get ready for Brexit newsletter December 2020

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