Pallet-Track members share Brexit checklist with customers

Leading members of the award-winning Pallet-Track logistics network are taking urgent steps to remind customers of the new customs protocols for businesses transporting goods between the UK and the island of Ireland after January 1.

Roche Logistics Group, which has offices in Dublin and Rosslare as well as Swansea in the UK, Northern Ireland’s Woodside Distribution and Letchworth Garden City-based Aztek Logistics, which sends weekly shipments to Ireland, are promoting a Brexit checklist for customers to make sure they are ready for the changes before the December 31 deadline.

Apart from new complex customs arrangements published by the UK government, businesses dealing with Irish customers must also ensure shipments only travel on heat-treated pallets, another new post-Brexit arrangement, as the UK will fall outside of an EU-wide exemption to this rule.

Under guidelines issued by the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), ISPM15 heat treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of a spreading quarantine pests found in wood packaging materials. Since 2002, the UK has been part of the EU territory which was treated as one country, so was exempt from the cross-border regulation.

The pallet industry has been in discussions with the government to ensure there are enough heat-treated pallets available to prevent unnecessary supply chain delays.

Avoiding delays

Damien Roche of Roches Logistics Group, said: “I first raised the issue of heat treated pallets a year ago as we could see that this was going to present challenges.”

He said businesses moving goods between the island of Ireland and the UK will need to check the Incoterms, the conditions which govern the management and payment of shipment, including insurance and customs clearance documentation.

Like Roche Logistics Group, Ballyclare-based Woodside Distribution has also published its own document checklist for all trans-Ireland traffic because of the need to keep goods moving without the need for a hard border, in line with the Brexit withdrawal regulations and the Good Friday Agreement.

Northern Ireland will require electronic import entry via the Trader Support Service (TSS) a free-to-use platform via a portal that is not live at this point, that is essential for all traffic between the UK and the island of Ireland.

To complete this, haulers will need a commercial invoice that includes an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number, the exporter and importer’s name and addresses, dates, the gross and net weights as well as value of the shipments and countries of origin.

Northern Ireland also requires a Single Administrative Document (SAD) which will be generated by the TSS process.

Once clearance is completed a Movement Reference Number (MRN) is generated which is lodged with the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS). All goods vehicles will require a GVMS entry, completed by the haulier, which generates a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) which the driver requires to gain access to a GB port.

Damien added: “We are ready, but businesses are going to see a financial impact for customs clearance which could be as much as 80 euro which is likely to impact volumes particularly in the early months of next year.

“They try and work out if the cost of the process – 50 euro for import customs clearance into Ireland and 30 euro for export customs clearance in the UK – will outweigh the value of the consignments.

“This will not be a problem for full loads, but could be for smaller, partial shipments.”

A new world of regulations

Simon Woodside, managing director of Woodside Distribution, said: “January 1 will bring a new world of regulations and checks for hauliers and their customers so this checklist is an early warning of the protocols we can all expect.

“It’s important that everyone is aware of the necessary paperwork and protocols to minimise any risks of disruption.”

Stuart Charter, managing director of Aztek Logistics, added: “Apart from the new regulations that businesses like ours will face, there is also the need to be aware of the requirement for all pallets to be heat-treated if they are crossing into Europe. We are working hard to make sure our customers are aware of this fact in advance of the end of the year.”

Nigel Parkes, managing director of Pallet-Track, said: “Members such as Roche, Aztek and Woodside are to be congratulated for their forward-thinking approach as the Brexit deadline looms. Business cannot be allowed to slow down as a result of not having the right paperwork so it is important that every one of our customers moving goods to Ireland or the rest of Europe are up to speed on the necessary changes.”