December 3, 2023

Portal und Forum für Transport und Logistik

Freight forwarders can breathe a sigh of relief – they don’t have to pay any customs fees for transportation to the islands

We remind you that a few days ago, a reputable customs agency informed its customers that freight forwarders will be responsible for debts arising from customs obligations. The question of responsibility for the payment of customs duties arises in connection with the entry into force of customs controls at the border with the European Union, scheduled for January 1, 2022.

According to the new regulations, freight forwarders must create a special account and register with the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS). In addition, freight forwarders must register each vehicle with the corresponding GMR (Goods Movement Record) number. The respective truck drivers receive the GMR code from the freight forwarder or must have it with them as a hard copy.

The misunderstanding arose from the fact that Dover Customs sent the customer a letter stating, “As we understand it, the company that creates the GMR is responsible for all goods loaded on the vehicle and all customs duties.”

This sparked concern among airlines operating in the British Isles. In fact, if freight forwarders are responsible for paperwork and customs duties, it is likely that many of them will abandon their routes to the UK, adding to UK supply chain problems.

That’s why we turned to Alex MacDonald, the director general of the Customs Customs Agency, who got an explanation of the regulations from the Human Resources Department.

It’s not that the person who created the GMR is responsible for customs issues, this remains the domain of the importer/declarator” – is the answer from the customs.

In addition, HMRC has made it clear that the driver must have a customs declaration for all goods he transports. It is enough to have the GMR number, because it contains information on the registration of all transported goods.

Train and ferry operators are also obligated not to take goods on board without an appropriate customs declaration if they are using border crossing points where customs declarations are required (as opposed to places where declarations are submitted on site).

Once the goods have arrived in the UK, the driver must follow all instructions and take the goods to the appropriate internal border facility for further inspection if requested by HMRC. The freight forwarder is obligated to inform the driver of the possibility of such control. The driver can check the condition of the transported goods and determine if further controls are needed. The carrier is also responsible for ensuring that the driver reaches the checkpoint.

This additional confusion over customs procedures shows the complexity of the new rules for trade between the European Union and the United Kingdom. And how important it is for importers and freight forwarders to prepare for the introduction of border controls.