Potential implications of Brexit on the shipping of goods

The United Kingdom has the intention to leave the European Union on 30 March 2019. The withdrawal process, known as Brexit, is under way, and the European Commission and the United Kingdom are currently negotiating on the agreement on the withdrawal. A transition period between 30 March 2019 and 31 December 2020 may be agreed. Alternatively, the membership of the United Kingdom in the European Union may come to an end without an agreement with the member states.

On its withdrawal the United Kingdom will be considered as a third country in its relation to the European Union and will no longer belong in the common market. Unless a separate agreement will be reached, imports and exports to the UK will be subject to all the customs procedures and border controls that are currently to applied to non-EU trading partners.

In practise, this means that shipments to or from the UK shall be subject to customs clearance and applicable taxes and duties.

Even if the situation is still unclear, it is advised that companies purchasing goods from or selling goods to the United Kingdom should prepare for the changes resulting from Brexit. The imposition of customs procedures on the borders between the United Kingdom and the European Union will most likely lead to delays due to congestion at ports and highways.

More information is available for example on the European Union Brexit preparedness factsheet