Brexit update: prepare for a worst case scenario

The Brexit soap does not come to an end for the time being and more clarity can not be expected until Valentine's Day. However, there are only less than 40 working days until the Brexit is a fact on March 29. The chance of a Brexit deal or postponement seems to be getting smaller and smaller. The realization that something has to happen now, is getting bigger. But how to proceed? Nobody seems to know. We did some research and we have the following update for you.

Your carriers

The express carriers have traditionally been equipped for international business. They are busy preparing their networks and customs processes for a much higher volume.
The parcel carriers who transport a lot to England have to adjust their processes. Goods must be cleared through customs declarations or internal departments. This also requires more data, because the carriers expect not to be able to handle this without the necessary automation. The first official changes this week have just arrived at Transsmart. The pallet hauliers have a similar problem. They often work with external customs declarants and do not always have the degree of automation needed to facilitate this process without much higher costs or longer waiting times.


At Transsmart we have been monitoring the market for months and we are actively motivating the carriers to pass on their changes as quickly as possible so that we can process them. The changes mainly concern adjustments with information required for the export process to Norway and Switzerland. A number of carriers (such as DPD) have already begun the optimization processes related to customs consolidation in order to help their customers keep customs costs as low as possible. Furthermore, at Transsmart we are also busy adjusting our systems and processes to stay in line with the GDPR legislation that states that personal data should not leave the EU or be stored there just like that.
Last but not least, we are keeping the consequences of the Brexit as small as possible for you. We will try to keep you informed of all changes known to us through targeted updates for our customers who transport to the UK.

What can you do? Prepare for a worst case scenario!

To prevent unnecessary delays and misery, you may already be taking a number of precautionary measures. Here's a short checklist you can start it of with:
  • Make sure your article master data is in order! Export and import formalities set requirements for the master data such as product description, HS codes (import duties classification), Country of Origin and Reason of Export.
  • Have you consulted with your IT consultant whether this data is already passed on to Transsmart so that Transsmart can activate processes such as "paperless trade" in the express or parcel services?
  • Coordinate with your sales department and customers with regard to the agreed incoterms. Where we often send Delivery At Place (DAP) until today, it is important to agree on who will pay for the customs clearance costs and import duties to the UK from 29 March on and with which incoterm.
  • In first instance it is plausible that deliveries can be delayed. Do your customers have sufficient stock to absorb delays in the first period and perhaps even to take account of structurally longer delivery times?
  • Have you arranged your official consents and formalities, such as applying for an EORI registration to export outside the EU?
  • Do you have a mechanism in place for correct VAT settlement?
  • Stay ahead of the competition! Have you received clarity from your current carriers and do you also have a 'plan B' ready if problems arise? (For example an alternative carrier or local storage in the UK?)
  • Have you already contacted a 3PL, customs declave or customs software party that may help you with customs formalities?

This list is far from complete. In short, there is still much to do for everyone. Our message is therefore: do not wait and get started!