The UK has left the EU and the Brexit transition period has ended, meaning new rules for doing business with Europe are here. As businesses adapt to the new processes, keeping lorries moving across the border is critical. From checking the correct documents are in place before starting a journey, to securing a negative Covid test where required, a few simple steps will help minimise delays and keep trade flowing.
Ian Uttley (pictured below) runs a fleet of trucks with his Leeds-based company Stagefreight. As well as general haulage, the firm specialises in events – transporting goods across the UK, Europe and beyond, for everything from music events to film sets. And as well as preparing for the end of the Brexit transition period last year, its usual work was hit by the pandemic.
“We’re doing more general haulage now as a result,” says Ian, who says things so far have worked well, largely thanks to the government’s network of information and advice sites (IAS – see box, below).
“The help we’ve had at the truck stops has been brilliant,” he says. “They’ve been our saving grace – we can get our paperwork checked and a Covid test in one place. If we’ve had things missing from the paperwork, they’ve even allowed clients to email extras over and printed it off.”
Getting these issues sorted well before reaching Dover is crucial in helping things work efficiently, he adds: “We’ll choose an IAS that’s as far north as possible or close to clients.
Ian and his team have also used the Government’s new inland border facilities (IBF). “Even before we left the EU, timings could be tight at Dover, but getting all this stuff done away from the port has kept us from delays,” he says.
“Getting everything sorted in advance means our drivers are somewhere safe and comfortable until everything is signed off, and by the time they get to Dover they’re waved right through.”
With different rules in place for hauliers heading from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, Ian says he plans to visit an IAS to talk through the new rules. “I’ll go to one myself for advice because getting all this stuff cleared up in advance is a priority,” he says.
In addition to the support available to hauliers when travelling, businesses and hauliers can keep up to date with the latest rules and guidance by using the wealth of information and resources at gov.uk/transition, including the Haulier Handbook.
The new rules are now in force. Businesses must be prepared for new ways of trading to help avoid unnecessary disruption and ensure they can keep their goods moving.
Are you fully prepared for transporting your goods?
Before you arrive at the border
You can access information and support – as well as facilities such as Covid testing – for your upcoming journey at an IAS. Click here to find your nearest IAS. Located at motorway service stations and truck stops across the UK, here you can:
■ take a Covid test if they have testing facilities
■ receive advice, available in 14 languages
■ find out about the rules and documents needed
to move goods between the UK and the EU
■ complete a free border readiness check.
You should also check if you need to visit an inland border facility – click here for more information.
Travelling to or through the EU
Several countries have introduced Covid-19 testing requirements for hauliers. The rules are different in each country, so check these before you travel and take the necessary action. You should have proof of an authorised negative Covid-19 test before arriving in Kent.
Those who are using the Short Straits (Port of Dover or Eurotunnel) must use the Check an HGV is Ready to Cross the Border service to:
■ get a Kent Access Permit
■ ensure you have the correct EU import and export paperwork in order to cross the border between Great Britain and the EU via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel.
Click here for more information on coronavirus test requirements for some journeys.
Travelling to Northern Ireland
If you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, there are specific actions you need to take. Here are some of the key things to check:
■ Before travelling, you’ll need a safety and security (ENS) declaration.
■ You must have a valid XI EORI number. This is not the same as the GB EORI and a new registration is required.
■ All goods crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland using a Goods Vehicle Movement Service location will need a goods movement reference.
■ Register for the Trader Support Service which provides free training and support for businesses, and can complete declarations on your behalf.
Do your goods need extra checks?
If you are carrying a consignment containing animal products such as meat and cheese, plants and plant products (including fruit and vegetables), or live animals, you must present the correct health certification at the border control cost.
You must also ensure EU border authorities are expecting your consignment so they can be inspected, and your EU importer must notify the relevant EU border control post.