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International Forwarding Association Blog » European Logistics » How Brexit Reshaped European Logistics
How Brexit Reshaped European Logistics

How Brexit Reshaped European Logistics

The Brexit deal is already a fact and transforming the logistics supply chain across Northern Europe. While retailers and consumers expect fast and efficient fulfillment of orders, movement of goods across borders may lead to delays in stock replenishment.

What Brexit Means for Forwarders

During the transitional period, freight forwarders may need to obtain international road haulage permits (ETCM permits) for some shipments. Such permits are valid when presented together with a certificate of roadworthiness, certificate of compliance, or ETCM logbook. All drivers are required to carry a GB sticker and vehicle logbook when travelling abroad. Other documents to bring include electronic toll devices or payment cards, stickers, paperwork, and a motor insurance Green Card. Commercial operators must obtain multiple Green Cards in case that they have fleet insurance. Operators with two insurance policies for a single journey and those that have vehicles with trailers also need multiple Green Cards. EU operators that ship goods through, from, and to the UK must carry proof of insurance and a copy of a Community License.


storage and distribution

photo: How Brexit Reshaped European Logistics


Movement of Goods

All drivers moving goods across borders are now required to fill in a safety and security and customs declaration. Upon obtaining permission to progress, drivers are permitted to transport goods to the terminal of departure or port in the UK. In case that permission to progress has been refused, drivers may transport goods to a specified inland location or designated export location to obtain permission to progress after the respective checks have been made. Different sets of documents are required for goods shipped into the EU under the ATA Convention, TIR Convention, and Common Transit Convention. Certain goods are subject to excise duty, including energy products, tobacco, and alcohol. To ship excise goods, operators are asked to present documents such as paper W8 form and copies of a customs declaration and electronic administrative document. Carriers are also asked to present commercial documents displaying the administrative reference code. Carriers shipping fishery, fish, and animal products and animals must obtain an export health certificate.

Challenges for Forwarders and Retailers

Non-tariff barriers may have a negative impact on shipment and import times due to border delays. This will result in larger volumes of goods being held on stock in the UK and increased demand for storage and distribution facilities. Ports will also operate as customs borders, and delays at southern ports may result in goods being shipped to northern ports that are better equipped to process cargo. In this scenario, shift in occupational demand can also be expected.

The imposition of tariffs will drive costs up, making imported goods more expensive. To avoid tariffs, some manufacturers may choose to relocate to EU Member States. This will result in factory closures and layoffs and what is more, local retailers that rely on constant supply will be adversely affected. At the same time, EU-based manufacturers that mainly produce goods for the UK market may choose to relocate to the UK as to avoid tariffs and import delays.