Brexit is a done deal, but with Portbase you’re well-prepared – Now that the Brexit has taken place, the European Union and the United Kingdom are negotiating the terms of their new trade relations. No matter the outcome of these talks, however, it is certain that you will encounter Customs obligations. Once the current transition period ends – i.e. from 1 January 2021 – it will no longer be possible to freely exchange goods with parties in the UK. This applies to both shortsea and ferry transport.

You have already subscribed to one or more Portbase services belonging to the chain-wide ‘Get Ready for Brexit’ solution: Notification Import Documentation, Notification Export Documentation (including Track & Trace Export) and/or Import Status. The use of these services will enable you to continue quickly transporting goods via the Dutch ports after 1 January 2021. A number of shortsea terminals are already using the services for transport to and from other countries outside the EU.

Portbase Support
We naturally provide assistance to help you make a quick, easy start with our Get Ready for Brexit services. For useful instructional videos, manuals, the answers to frequently asked questions and more, please refer to our Portbase Support pages.

More Portbase services post-Brexit
Portbase offers even more services that can considerably streamline your Customs formalities following the Brexit. For instance: the service Declaration Food and Consumer Products for declaring veterinary cargoes. Following the Brexit, it will be possible to use this service for cargoes transported both by container and trailer. Other options specifically for container transport are: the service Transit Declaration for follow-up declarations, Inspections Portal for comprehensive oversight of potential Customs inspections, Notification Local Clearance for making use of streamlined Customs procedures and Cargo information for direct access to your own Bills of Lading (B/L’s) on board the ships. Further details on each service can be found on the service pages of our website. You can sign up to participate straight away via the website as well.

Brexit has arrived – now it’s time for a good trade agreement – After the European Parliament voted its consent to the withdrawal agreement on Wednesday, the United Kingdom (UK) officially withdrew from the European Union on 31 January 2020. This will have consequences for trade between Rotterdam and the UK. Depending on the terms agreed for the new UK-EU relationship, free trade will be impeded to a greater or lesser extent by new formalities, tariffs, quality regulations and environmental standards. In practice, there will be no concrete changes until 31 December 2020 at the earliest, since 31 January marks the start of a transition period.

During this transition period, the EU and the UK will enter into negotiations on their future partnership after 31 December 2020. For the port of Rotterdam, it is crucial that the ensuing treaty arranges the most favourable conditions for the import, export and transit of goods between the two markets. As far as the UK and EU’s respective customs, veterinary and phytosanitary formalities are concerned, this calls for uniform terms wherever possible. Every day, some 3,000 trucks drive to and from the ferry terminals in the port of Rotterdam, and over 40 million tonnes of goods are imported or exported between Rotterdam and British hubs.

Together with Portbase, Dutch Customs, Rijkswaterstaat and the ferry terminals, the port of Rotterdam has done its best to adequately prepare for Brexit. By using Portbase, parties can continue to export and import goods without further complications. It is important in this context that all parties in the chain register with Portbase. Whatever shape the EU-UK partnership will take in the years ahead, it will in any case involve additional formalities and checks. In other words, registering with Portbase is truly a ‘no-regrets investment’.

At the end of 2020, we may once again be confronted with a hard Brexit – similar to earlier deadlines on 29 March, 12 April and 31 October 2019 – if the EU and the UK do not manage to conclude a trade agreement or there is no clarity regarding a possible extension of the transition period. In that case, the port of Rotterdam, Dutch Customs, Rijkswaterstaat, the Municipality of Rotterdam and NVWA will once again take new measures to limit the impact of Brexit as far as possible.

The Brexit is now a reality – Pursuant to the decision by the British Parliament, the European Parliament has adopted the Brexit agreement and on 31 January 2020 (at midnight Central European Time), the United Kingdom officially left the European Union. The Brexit is now a reality. A transitional phase is now in effect and will continue through 31 December 2020. The UK will continue to be subject to all EU laws and regulations during this period. So far, nothing has changed for the Dutch ports and businesses in the logistical chains. They can continue to transport their goods just as they have done in past years. Please note that customs obligations will go into effect after the transitional period.

During the transitional period, the EU and UK will make agreements regarding how their relationship will proceed after 31 December 2020. Yet no matter the substance of these agreements, it is inevitable that customs formalities will be introduced for goods moving from the EU to the UK or vice versa. Businesses can use the period through 31 December to prepare themselves for this new reality. Please make sure you are ready in time. Only by working together can we avoid unnecessary delays.

peoples government

The British people have spoken: Brexit on course

Portbase – In yesterday’s elections in the United Kingdom, the Conservative Party of Boris Johnson won a landslide majority in parliament. The British Prime Minister is now expected to press ahead his Brexit deal and try to gain approval from the House of Commons as quickly as possible. The United Kingdom will then exit the European Union in an orderly manner by the 31st of January 2020 at the latest.

What does this mean for you?
If Brexit does indeed proceed as per the agreed deal between the United Kingdom and the European Union, nothing will change in terms of trade for the time being. A transition period will apply until the 31st of December 2020. After that, customs formalities for which you will still require the Portbase services will come into effect in the Dutch ports.

Crucial date: 1st of July
The 1st of July constitutes an important date in the transition period. Before this date, the British must state whether they think that they will be able to finalise the new trade relationship by the 31st of December 2020. The United Kingdom must then decide whether they want to extend the transition period by two years.

Please note! No-deal Brexit not ruled out
Recent history has shown that nothing is certain when it comes to Brexit. A no-deal Brexit remains possible, although the likelihood of this is diminished by the election results. Only after ratification by both parties can a no-deal Brexit be ruled out. By preparing now, you prevent the risk of coming to a standstill in the port after the 31st of January 2020. Your effort is never wasted. If a deal is reached, customs formalities will also be in effect in the ports after a transitional period.

Havenbedrijf Rotterdam

Rotterdam Port Halts No-deal Brexit Preps – The Port of Rotterdam Authority has again put its preparatory measures for a No-Deal Brexit on hold following recommendations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands, said in a press note attributed the reason to the agreement reached yesterday by member states of the European Union and the United Kingdom on a Brexit extension until 31 January 2020.

Read the entire article here at

Brexit postponement

Brexit is again postponed. The European Union has submitted a draft decision for the extension of the Article 50 deadline to 31 January 2020 to the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has agreed to this and there is therefore an extension until 31 January 2020.

What does this mean for Portbase?
Portbase is Ready for Brexit. All system changes have been made (ready in March 29, 2019) and optimizations for logistics handling are ready. Portbase will focus in the coming period on supporting affiliated companies in knowledge transfer of the use of the system.

What now?
It is not yet clear what the United Kingdom wants to do. Multiple end scenarios are still possible as a result of the UK internal discussions. In the Netherlands, we await the outcome of the internal process in the United Kingdom. It remains important that all parties involved prepare themselves. After all, deal or no deal Brexit creates a border and therefore customs formalities.
The next date for a possible no-deal is January 31, 2020. The period up to January 31, 2020 still offers prospects for the UK’s orderly departure from the EU, with the withdrawal agreement.
More information? Visit

Brexit matrix boards

On the A15 direction port of Rotterdam, truck drivers are informed via matrix signs of the required preparations in case of Brexit.

“In the UK they are less prepared for Brexit than in other countries”

(Stephan van Wijk, Zoutewelle) – The Brexit deadline is on 31 October. No-one seems to know what is going to happen next. Will the negotiators come to an agreement? Will there be a no-deal? Are we looking at an extension of Brexit? How can a business prepare itself for such uncertainty?

Transport, especially, still up in the air
“Nobody knows what is going to happen. So, how can you fully prepare yourself?” asks Stephan van Wijk. He is from the Dutch company, Zoutewelle Import/Export’s. “We already have experience with exports to Russia and Norway. We are, therefore, already known to customs officials.”

Read the entire article at

Dutch port aims to keep on trucking despite Brexit ‘chaos’ – While Boris Johnson scrambled Friday to sell his EU divorce deal to parliament, the Dutch port of Rotterdam handed out “Brexit Muppet” leaflets to truckers to prepare them for whatever happens.

Staff at Europe’s busiest seaport have stepped up a campaign to ensure lorry drivers, companies and exporters are ready for the impact of Britain’s departure from the EU, especially if there is no divorce agreement.

Dutch authorities have set up temporary parking spaces for the thousands of lorries they fear could arrive without the right paperwork if Britain crashes out with no deal on the British PM’s promised exit date of October 31.

Read the entire article here at

Ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam prepare for Brexit – The Port of Rotterdam Authority, the Port of Amsterdam Authority, PortBase, all partners including Customs as well as all the relevantmunicipalities are putting their efforts to prepare for a possibleno-deal Brexit onThursday,31

The ports will form an outer border between the EU and the UK when Brexit comes to reality, which means that inevitable customs formalities will be in for freight traffic through the Dutch ports- noting that in the event of a no-deal Brexit these will come into force immediately.

Moreover, according to estimations almost 40 million tonnes of freight pass via ferry and short-sea crossings through the port of Rotterdam, out of the approximate of 54 million tonnes that is traded between the UK and the Netherlands per year.

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