Time is running out to get ready for new import customs checks from the EU, with many businesses still unprepared

With just a fortnight to go, a third of UK importers are not ready for full Brexit customs checks. We’ve already helped businesses across the country with new UK-EU trade rules, so are ready and able to help those struggling with the incoming arrangements.

According to a recent survey carried out by the Institute of Directors, three in 10 of the leaders of firms that import from the EU polled said they were not at all prepared for the changes, with 37% of small businesses and nearly a quarter of large ones saying they were not ready.

These changes are wide-ranging and could have a severe impact on your supply chain. From 1 January 2022, customs declarations deferments come to an end unless you have an authorisation from HMRC to defer duty, so you’ll need to make sure the correct paperwork is in place so goods are cleared and can reach their destination.

There will be full customs controls at the border, and import declarations must be in place before vehicles will be allowed to board vessels heading to the UK.

Portico customs has worked with hundreds of businesses of all sizes to help with with the new UK-EU trade arrangements.

Graham Osman, senior procurement negotiator at CEMEX UK Marine said: “Portico customs agency started doing our export documentation for us at the beginning of 2021, and we quickly moved to using them for imports as well.

“Their service and support has been excellent. No import or export was to small, they are always at the end of a phone or email for advice and have been very knowledgeable dealing with all the changes.

“They also provide regular updates on all shipments. This has enabled us to continue operating as normal despite the Brexit changes”.

Imogen Padfield, Operations Manager at Big Plant Nursery added: “Portico has been a pleasure to work with and a huge help to our business following Brexit.  They respond quickly to our requests and are there ready to assist, sometimes at very short notice.

“The notification process has been made as simple as possible and where there are delays or issues they’re also very patient! In addition to this, Portico have assisted us with general advice and guidance and also during complicated shipments they have been happy to liaise with other authorities where required.

“They’ve made a process that seemed impossible very straightforward”.

There are further changes if you import Products of Animal Origin (POAO), low-risk animal by-products not for human consumption (ABP) and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin (HRFNAO). You’ll need to enter details into the government’s new system called IPAFFS (Import of Products, Animal, Food and Feed System), at least four hours before arrival into the UK. So, if you’ve not made arrangements yet to take account of the changes, time is now of the essence.

Daphne Comber, customs agency manager at Portico said: “It can be a daunting and complicated process, fortunately we already handle thousands of customs declarations, and have the right systems to talk to HMRC to make sure goods reach their destination without delay.

“We know how important it is that goods reach manufacturing plants or supermarket shelves quickly. Companies import such a variety of items from the EU that we all use one way or another in our daily lives, so we’ll make sure there aren’t any hold-ups

Daphne Comber, customs agency manager at Portico said:

“We’re also an accredited early adopter of the new IPAFFS system for imports of live animals, animal products and high risk food and feed not of animal origin into Great Britain, so are well placed to help with these new import controls.

“Let us get customs right first time. Leave it in our hands.”

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