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Shipping Personal Goods to the EU: The Consumer Impact of Brexit

Here at Speedy Freight, we have been able to adapt to the challenges of Brexit, and are working closely with our clients and their businesses moving goods to and from the EU.

Undoubtedly, some challenges still remain for freight suppliers to overcome, but here at Speedy Freight we are prepared on all fronts to continue working through any outstanding issues. Since Britain’s formal exit from the EU on the 1st of January this year, Speedy Freight has successfully moved consignments to and from the European Union in line with current customs guidelines.

Of course, when it comes to consumers, it’s undeniable that certain effects and impacts will still be felt. In fact, it’s currently being reported that some major logistics companies are facing some challenges with the volume of documentation required – causing some to be forced into halting international movements whilst they create new processes.

These processes naturally impact individuals as well: for those wishing to send goods to the EU, there are new procedures that all of us need to follow depending on the nature of the goods being sent. For instance, for those selling personal possessions on an ad hoc basis, or shipping personal belongings, an EORI number is not required.

However, if the sale of possessions becomes a regular activity for profit, the individual involved will need to register for an EORI number. UK residents sending goods to the EU will need to provide full details of the consignment or package, in the same way that is required for sending something to America or Australia, which includes the need to provide commodity codes.


What do individuals need to bear in mind when shopping personal goods to the EU? 

When detailing product descriptions within their shipment, individuals need to consider the following five questions:

  1. What are the goods?
  2. What materials are they made of?
  3. What are they used for?
  4. Who are they used by?
  5. Is it used in a specific location?

It’s important to answer these queries with the level of detail that HMRC requires! Below, Speedy Freight uses the example of shipping a chair to illustrate the best way of answering these questions.

Question 1: What are the goods? 

Insufficient information: ’Chair’.

Sufficient, and detailed description: ‘Oak wooden chair with brown leather upholstered seat for living room use’.

Further categories needed include: country of origin, reason for sending, the quantity of the goods, the package weight, the value of the contents, contact information, and commodity codes. Please note – the failure to fill these categories in sufficient detail may result in penalties, delays or even confiscation of goods – so make sure you’re observing guidelines!

What’s the total list of information that I need to include when I’m shipping my parcel to the EU? 

  • Product Description
    As above, the product description must be as informative as possible – try to include all pertinent information, to avoid risking the product being detained or any unnecessary delays.
  • Country of Origin:
    All items will have a ‘Made In…’ detail. This needs to be added to your information sheet, as it will determine if there will be any duty to pay. The Rules of Origin come into play when goods are being sent from a country that they have not been produced in – so take care!
  • Reason for sending:
    This is simple enough to fill out – for instance, you may be moving the item to the EU as a gift, selling the item, returning the item to a company you purchased it from, providing a sample, sending important documents, etc.
  • Quantity of goods:
    This is necessary if you have one package but have 4 different items inside – as you’ll need to provide detailed information per item.
  • Package weight:
    Even parcels under 0.5kg will need to have the weight listed. If you’re shipping multiple items, follow this formula for each type of good:

Total Unit Weight / No. of Units = Individual Unit Weight

  • Value of the package:
    The value of the package must be listed. If you have multiple items, in your package use the total weight to calculate value. If you’re unsure, use the below formula:

Unit Price x No. of Units = Total Units Value

  • Contact Information:
    Details of the sender and the buyer must be listed, in case any officials at customs or couriers need to contact either party in the event of any issue.
  • Commodity Codes:
    Even if you are sending a package for personal use, a commodity code must be listed. These help classify the goods and commodities that are being transported. It will be the closest code relevant to the goods. For instance, if we continue with our chair example, the appropriate code would be:94035 – Seat with wooden frame, upholstered (excluding medical, surgical, dental, veterinary or barber furniture).

If these are unfamiliar to you, Speedy Freight advises becoming familiar with the commodity codes pertinent to your business or activities. Anyone sending goods to and from the UK must become familiar with commodity codes, as it will ultimately be the responsibility of the individual to advise their forwarding agent of the correct code.

If you need any further information about the impact of Brexit on freight, the impact of Brexit on couriering your goods abroad to the European Union, or simply want to read through our Brexit advice following Britain’s exit from the EU at the beginning of this month, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and our teams will be happy to help.

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