Brexit: advanced negotiations and new customs management procedures

28 February 2019

After the rejection of the UK withdrawal agreement on 15 January 2019 and with no further progress, companies will face a de facto a situation of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union without agreement on 29 March 2019.

Discover in this article the new regulations and how best to prepare for this deadline with GEFCO.

State of negotiations and legislative progress

  • After the rejection of the withdrawal agreement, Theresa MAY has tried to reopen negotiations with the European Union of 27 on the management of the Irish border.
  • She has decided to postpone until 12 March the next vote on the withdrawal agreement in the UK Parliament.
  • The Commission's answer is very clear: Europe will not change the withdrawal agreement negotiated in November and validated by the European Council on 25 November 2018. On the other hand, Europe is ready to change the political agreement on the management of the future relationship.
  • The European Parliament therefore unilaterally pursues the ratification process of the November agreement.
  • The situation is now completely blocked and it is very likely we are moving towards a situation where the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union without an agreement on 29 March 2019.

Regulatory texts to maintain activity after 29 March

  • The European Commission published a text on 19 December 2018 to help maintain the continuity of logistics activities between the European Union of 27 and the United Kingdom. This text was the subject of amendments and a vote by the European Council on 13 February 2019.
  • It provides subject to reciprocity, to maintain the same traffic conditions (road and air transport) as today, until 31 December 2019.
  • Other countries such as France, have issued ordinances to allow the continuation of trade in the case of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union without agreement on 29 March 2019. This is notably the case from 6 February 2019 , which is intended to allow road transport companies of goods or persons to maintain their activity.
  • After incorporating the bulk of European legislation into English law, the United Kingdom, now announces a lot of customs simplifications to limit blockages at borders after 29 March.
  • The HMRC, a non-departmental department of the United Kingdom Government, has announced, for example, that if the United Kingdom leaves the EU without an agreement, the making of safety and security declarations for imports into the United Kingdom would be suspended for six months.

New customs procedures for Ro-Ro management

Border crossing will have to be systematically anticipated in order to be able to present conforming documents:

In the sense European Union -> United Kingdom:

  • In the European Union it will be necessary to issue an export declaration in the country of departure, before arriving at the border crossing. If the goods originate from bonded storage or arrive from a third country they must be moved under customs transit to the United Kingdom.

    Before leaving the European Union, the English importer must file a prelodged declaration with the English customs, which will allow the goods to circulate without stop (except controls) in the United Kingdom to destination. After receipt on its site, the importer must close his declaration.

In the sense United Kingdom -> European Union:

  • Before leaving the United Kingdom, the exporter must issue an export declaration and if possible transit to the destination. In the specific case of France and in case of absence of transit, the importer may file an advance French declaration before the crossing. This declaration must be validated during the crossing to avoid stopping the truck at the first point of entry into France.
  • Whatever the country concerned, in the absence of transit or advance declaration, the trucks will systematically stop at the first European point of entry to carry out the customs operation (transit or import declaration). 

Actions to beundertaken

"In order to better manage the customs obligations related to Brexit, the principle of border crossing between the United Kingdom and the European Union will have to be anticipated, which will involve linking all the stakeholders to transport. Major actions are now urgently needed by economic representatives, “states O. THOUARD, GEFCO's Director of and Tax.

Among the actions to be planned, we can mention:

  1. Get an EORI number (Economic Operator Registration and Identification)
  2. Identify and define the customs nomenclature of goods
  3. Validate your customs organisation (internalise / outsource operations)
  4. Ensure that the customs process (representatives in charge of export, import, transit, control of regulations) is validated by the seller and the buyer and known to the carrier
  5. Identify crossing points and related customs solutions
  6. Anticipate the exchange of data necessary for customs clearance (invoice, BL, transport value ...) in order to allow anticipated customs clearance

GEFCO: expertise for more than 40 years to support you in the management of Brexit

"With 230 experts in 47 countries, 620,000 yearly operations and a department dedicated to engineering and VAT, GEFCO is a major player in the management and optimisation of operations. GEFCO also keeps abreast of legislative developments related to Brexit and is able to best support its customers to cope with this event. " concludes Olivier THOUARD.


Contact us:brexit@


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The principle of crossing the border between the United Kingdom and the European Union should be anticipated, which will involve linking all stakeholders to transport. GEFCO keeps abreast of legislative developments related to Brexit and can best support its customers.


GEFCO's Director of and Tax