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Port of Rotterdam ready for Brexit

Von   /   31. August 2020

As of 1 January 2021, customs formalities will apply to all freight traffic between the European Union and the United Kingdom. The Port of Rotterdam is well prepared for this. Are you ready for customs formalities? A chain-wide solution for Brexit in the Dutch ports has been developed via Get Ready for Brexit. This solution means that cargo can continue to move swiftly through our ports after Brexit. Make use of it!

In 2021, transport with the United Kingdom will always begin with a declaration to Customs. Once this has been done, these customs documents must be pre-announced digitally at the terminals via Portbase (the Port Community System for Dutch ports). This digital pre-notification is mandatory at all ferry terminals and most short-sea terminals. Only then can the cargo continue to enter and leave the terminal swiftly.


No digital pre-notification means no access to the terminal. To prevent this, clear agreements on who does what is needed in all logistics chains. Get Ready for Brexit has brought that together in 5 easy steps.




The United Kingdom (UK) officially withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. This will have consequences for future trade between Rotterdam and the UK. Depending on the terms agreed for the new UK-EU relationship, free trade will be impeded to a greater or lesser extent by new formalities, tariffs, quality regulations and environmental standards. In practice, there will be no concrete changes until 31 December 2020 at the earliest, since the months ahead are still considered a transition period.


During this transition period, the EU and the UK will continue to negotiate their future partnership after 31 December 2020. For the Port of Rotterdam, it is crucial that the ensuring treaty arranges the most favourable conditions for the import, export and transit of goods between the two markets. As far as the UK and EU’s respective customs, veterinary and phytosanitary formalities are concerned, this calls for uniform terms wherever possible. Every day, some 3,000 trucks drive to and from the ferry terminals in the port of Rotterdam, and over 40 million tonnes of goods are imported or exported between Rotterdam and British hubs.


Together with Portbase, Dutch Customs, Rijkswaterstaat and the ferry terminals, the Port of Rotterdam has prepared as best it can for Brexit. By using Portbase, parties can continue to export and import goods without further complications. It is important in this context that all parties in the chain register with Portbase. Whatever shape the EU-UK partnership will take in the years ahead, it will in any case involve additional formalities and checks. In other words, registering with Portbase is truly a ‘no-regrets investment’.


At the end of 2020, we may once again be confronted with a hard Brexit – similar to earlier deadlines on 29 March, 12 April and 31 October 2019 – if the EU and the UK do not manage to conclude a trade agreement or there is no clarity regarding a possible extension of the transition period. In that case, the Port of Rotterdam, Dutch Customs, Rijkswaterstaat, the Municipality of Rotterdam and NVWA will once again take new me


asures to limit the impact of Brexit as far as possible.

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