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The Brexit reality described in 6 tweets by a Polish driver

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

Truckers venting of frustration on Twitter is a real-life example of what the EU meant when she warned of border "friction". Now it is more important than ever for traders to ensure their paperwork is correct in all particulars. We have pulled together the top five points to remember to assist our EU drivers in the UK.


Do you remember this grid from the EU Commission, published on the 24th of December 2020 along with the Brexit FTA deal? It compared the benefits of being an EU member with the benefits of having the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. In the eyes of the EU, it makes clear that it is more advantageous to be an EU member than looking in from the outside. Regardless of what you or I think about this, we cannot ignore that there are changes. Let's take a closer look just for a second,

Here we see a lot of red X and yellow circles. In particular, take a look at the first entry under TRADE IN GOODS, called frictionless trade. It got a big X. For many that still is too abstract and some wonder what this means in practice.

Thanks to Tomaz O, we now have a first-hand report in the form of six very insightful tweets, that made the headlines:

The experience goes to show that extra care must be taken to ensure trade with Great Britain and that you make sure that all your paperwork is in order and constantly reviewed. Here are

Five actions EU businesses can take to help our drivers navigate the Brexit pitfalls when in UK

For businesses, the trade deal, known as EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement(EU-UK TCA) between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) comes as a relief, with the potential to mitigate some of the worst trade disruptions. With several weeks into the new arrangement, but has become clear, however, that this won’t be a full substitute for the frictionless that membership of the bloc offered. Businesses will have to adapt to a changing environment throughout 2021 as the UK has announced a series of measures to stage the implementation.

Companies who have previously been involved with Intra-EU trade will need to file new paperwork, avoid having their goods held up at the border and deal with a big shift in paperwork and processes.

To help you find your way around this maze of challenges and leverage opportunities, here are our top 5 actions you may wish to consider taking

1. Correct Customs Declaration includes having an MRN!

Well, for a start, customs declarations must be filed. Read my article here:

to find out more and book a course with us on how to complete these correctly.

This can also be done by you or the broker of freight agent you employ. Or you can do it yourself. If done, by yourself, it must be done right, in all particularities. Regardless of how you do it, the result must usually always be the same: You get a bar code with a number, called the MRN – Movements Reference Number. It’s quite easy actually: No Customs Declaration, no MRN, no trade. You will get stuck.

2. Get to grips with national filing and pre-departure systems

Next, there are many filing systems to understand and consider. In addition to the UK with its Trader Support Service (TSS) for Northern Ireland and the Good’s Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), new IT solutions have been created in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium and France. These systems have very precise requirements, and if you do not meet them, its: “Computer says no!”. The results can be devastating. I have seemed trucks roam around the UK fr two days, just to find an open customs house to correct an erroneous MRN.

Read More:

3. Understand transit and know what procedure you need to follow in the UK

There has been a lot of confusion as regards the transit procedures. It appears unclear what to do if there is only an LRN and not an MRN (but the systems won't accept an LRN but only an MRC), when to present your paperwork (TAN) to the local customs office and when not, how this interacts with the GVMS. You need to read into the transit guides and get crystal clarity on the process to follow before sending your truck on the way.

BLOG ENTRY; Use Transit effectively, efficiently & compliantly post Brexit - Guide

From 1 January, moving goods under transit will be a valuable way to reduce border clearance delays. We explore what traders need to know and consider. Access a detailed guide and links.



4. Licences!

Another area of the potential hold up is licence management. The experience in the first two weeks of 2021 shows that export health licences are particularly difficult to complete and manage. This is problematic because agri-food goods can attract a 100% paperwork and, possibly, physical goods control to address food safety concerns (at the very least from April/July onwards). So getting the right licence and completing all paperwork correctly is crucial. Customs Manager Ltd. provides an exhaustive and comprehensive list of required permits and certificates and guides to you to ensure smoother business conduct.

5. Know who to contact if things go wrong

Who do you know in HMRC? With the Irish Revenue? With border force? Who can you call upon, who do you have the ground in the UK to assist your driver? Who can deal with bottlenecks when they arrive? Who can sort out incorrect MRNs and the like? You need an operational go-to person to help out when questions arise. No driver can be left to their own devices. They are not to clear goods for customs - that's our job!. Customs Manager Ltd offers such support services. Please get in touch if you'd like a helping hand.



The situation at the borders and around entry and exit points in the UK appears tense for some drivers even if we know that the authorities and the UK government are doing their very best and are working around the clock to facilitate the flow of goods. The amount of support that I personally, working on behalf of my clients, have received from HMRC, French customs and Irish Revenue have been nothing but exemplary. After all, these processes and systems are new for us all, but everyone is pulling together, learning and re-evaluating the situation, as the increased flexibility of the Irish last week clearly showed.

Yet following these simple five steps may go a long way in making your experience at the border just a little smoother. And if you do get stuck, give us a call, there is always a Customs Manager just waiting to help out.

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We are on a mission to empower people with import, export and transport responsibilities with helpful advice, insightful training and relevant trade intelligence services. We devote all our passion and energy to helping businesses grow faster cross-border. Working with us means to have your own multilingual Customs Manager on standby to help you trade effectively, efficiently and, of course, compliantly, wherever you want to go in the world. Includes Brexit support and the ability to lodge customs declarations + Rules of Origin

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