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What Do I Need To Do To Move Consignments To And From Europe?

Right now, moving consignments to and from Europe can be a daunting task. The effects of Brexit are still being felt – while the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a degree of uncertainty regarding the import and export of goods. All things considered, it’s no surprise that many importers and exporters of goods between the UK and Europe find themselves needing a refresher on the current status of things. If that sounds like you – don’t worry! Speedy Freight is here to help.

With dedicated teams working on the import and export of goods, Speedy Freight has created our Brexit FAQ’s page along with dedicated Import and Export  pages to really drill down into what you need to know to move consignments to and from Europe.

Lost in a sea of acronyms? Our Brexit Jargon Buster demystifies all the jargon around moving goods to and from Europe after Brexit – getting you ready in no time at all. Partnering with a dedicated international courier service like Speedy Freight takes the stress out of moving goods to and from Europe  – so why not partner with us?


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In all cases in order to move consignments to and from Europe, you’ll need to check and complete all of the following:

  • Make declarations

If you partner with Speedy Freight, we will make any necessary declarations and get your goods safely and securely through the UK border.



The UK has a trade agreement with the EU which is currently in effect.

This agreement establishes zero tariffs or quotas on trade between the UK and the EU, where goods meet the relevant rules of origin.

The rules of origin requirements are some of the most important provisions that your business needs to understand and comply with, under the UK’s deal with the EU.

But a number of companies have come unstuck when it comes to rules of origin.

For goods imported from the EU to GB (but not vice-versa) between 1  January 2021 and 31 December 2021, GB traders will have up to 175 days to submit a full customs declaration and pay any necessary tariffs. This also includes declaring any proof of origin.

Rules of origin determine where your goods originate from and which goods are covered in preference agreements.

This means that the origin is the economic nationality of goods being imported and exported (where they have been produced or manufactured).

It is not just where they have been shipped or bought from. Even though the UK and EU have a Free Trade Agreement, tariffs may be due. For example, if goods are being exported from Spain to the UK, but were produced in China, duty will be payable.

This applies to all goods, whether they’re covered by preference agreements, the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, or not (non-preferential).

For example:

Cotton shirts
Rule: Weaving combined with making-up including cutting of fabric.

The rule requires the specific processes set out (weaving, as well as making-up including cutting of fabric) to be carried out in the UK. However, with cumulation of processing, these processes can be divided between the UK and EU. For example, the weaving of the fabric could be done in the EU, whilst the making-up of the shirt could be done in the UK. The final product can then be exported back to the EU tariff-free as an ‘originating’ product.

Wool jumper, Customs tariff 61, 17

Wool from Wales, weaved in China, assembled in Portugal, and imported to the UK, would be subject to 20% VAT and 12% duty, due to the weaving taking place in a third country, China. 


How Can Speedy Freight Help With Moving Goods To And From Europe?

Speedy Freight has had extensive experience importing and exporting goods to and from the EU both before and after Brexit – so we’re well-placed to help! Our teams know which licenses, duties, customs and declarations are needed to complete import and export between the UK and Europe, between both EU and non-EU member countries.

Speedy Freight operates every day, including weekends, nights and public holidays. This 24-7, 365 record means we’re always on-hand to help you import and export your goods safely, securely, and within your budget – not to mention on schedule!  Thanks to our speed, reliability and responsiveness, we’re able to operate across all industries, offering same-day, next-day, and scheduled delivery. Access to a fleet of over 4,000 vehicles also means that Speedy’s always got the perfect mode of transporting your goods, no matter what industry you work in.

Our Brexit Support Teams can offer advice on each of the requirements to move goods to and from Europe, whether to EU member countries or countries operating a trade deal with the EU similar to Britain’s. Speedy Freight’s dedicated delivery means you can trust your consignment is making just one journey with its skilled driver – with our teams with you all the way, providing status updates.


Dates for your diary


Updated import controls timetable – EU to UK

In June 2020, the UK government announced a timetable for the phased introduction of controls on imports from the EU into Great Britain, to ensure businesses could prepare in a phased way. This timetable was based on the impacts of the first wave of COVID. We know now that the disruption caused by COVID has lasted longer and has been deeper than we anticipated. Accordingly, the Government has reviewed these timeframes.

  • Pre-notification requirements for Products of Animal Origin (POAO), certain animal by-products (ABP), and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin (HRFNAO) will not be required until 1 October 2021. Export Health Certificate requirements for POAO and certain ABP will come into force on the same date.
  • Customs import declarations will still be required, but the option to use the deferred declaration scheme, including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, has been extended to 1 January 2022.
  • Safety and Security Declarations for imports will not be required until 1 January 2022.
  • Physical SPS checks for POAO, certain ABP, and HRFNAO will not be required until 1 January 2022. At that point they will take place at Border Control Posts.
  • Physical SPS checks on high risk plants will take place at Border Control Posts, rather than at the place of destination as now, from 1 January 2022.
  • Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks, including phytosanitary certificates will be required for low risk plants and plant products, and will be introduced from 1 January 2022.
  • From March 2022, checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

Traders moving controlled goods into Great Britain will continue to be ineligible for the deferred customs declaration approach. They will therefore be required to complete a full customs declaration when the goods enter Great Britain.

Controls and checks on Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods are a devolved matter.


So when you think about importing or exporting to Europe – think Speedy Freight!


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