Ready in 5 steps as a customs agent

The checklist below helps you to continue to swiftly transport cargo to and from the United Kingdom as a customs agent as of the 1st of January 2021. All ferry terminals and most shortsea terminals in the Netherlands make participation in our chain-wide solution for the soon-obligatory customs formalities mandatory. No pre-notified document at the terminal means no access. Complete the five steps to be ready for Brexit in time. Make sure you are ready!

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Your checklist

As a customs agent, will you make sure that your (new) clients are prepared for Brexit in time? Read here which actions are required on your part for both shortsea and ferry traffic.

Step 1: Make sure your client is registered with Customs

Will your client start importing and/or exporting for the first time due to Brexit? Then arrange an EORI number from Customs as soon as possible. Every company in Europe involved in import or export requires such a unique identification number from Customs. Also if they use you for their import and export declarations. Pay attention! Are you currently working with a British EORI number? After the Brexit you have to convert this to an EORI number from the EU.

Step 2: Arrange the import or export declarations for your customers

Your day-to-day operations involving import and export declarations require no further explanation on our part.

You may also need to arrange this:


*NVWA is Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority

Step 3: Determine who will pre-notify the customs documents

After Brexit, the pre-notification of customs documents via Portbase is mandatory at all ferry terminals and most shortsea terminals in the Netherlands. As a customs agent, you can take care of this pre-notification, but the importer/exporter can also do this, as can the forwarder or, on occasion, the transport company. Make clear agreements about this! Without pre-notification, the transporter will not be granted access to the terminal.

Step 4: Subscribe to the Portbase services

You use Portbase to digitally pre-notify cargo at shortsea and ferry terminals.

For import: service Notification Import Documentation

Updated service for pre-notifying all customs documents at shortsea and ferry terminals as well after Brexit.

Take note! Additional information for existing customers of Notification Import Documentation

  • In order to prenotify import documents to shortsea and ferry terminals, existing customers of Notification Import Documentation have to sign a supplementary terminal contract. In consultation with these terminals, Portbase has drawn up a single umbrella contract. By sending an email to sales@portbase.com, you can request the umbrella contract and return the signed copy to Portbase.
  • If you are an existing customer of Notification Import Documentation using a system link-up, then please check with your IT department or software supplier that you are using the correct version of the service. The message specifications can be found here.

Costs and participation Notification Import Documentation

The use of Notification Import Documentation for the pre-notification of import documents at ferry terminals involves a one-off connection fee € 249.50 (excluding VAT) for new customers. For the day-to-day use, there is a monthly subscription fee (€ 6.24 for the web service and € 20.84 for a system link-up) plus a transaction fee of € 0.18 per message.


For export: service Notification Export Documentation

After Brexit, you can use this existing service to pre-notify all customs documents at shortsea and ferry terminals as well.

Take note! Additional information for existing customers of Notification Export Documentation

If you use a system link-up, then as an existing customer a small modification is required on your part. The message specifications can be found here.

Costs and registration Notification Export Documentation

The one-off connection costs are € 249.50 (excluding VAT). The day-to-day usage is free of charge.


Curious how the services work?

Watch the video Notification Import Documentation

Learn more about Notification Export Documentation

Step 5: Check beforehand whether the terminal has the customs documents

After your pre-notification, you can use Portbase to track the cargo in real-time. If necessary, you can still take action should something not be correct with the pre-notification.

For import: service Import Status

Service for real-time insight into the customs status of incoming cargo at shortsea and ferry terminals. You can immediately see whether the required customs obligations have been met and whether Customs might want to inspect the cargo. The transporter is expected to use Import Status to verify whether the customs documents are known at the terminal prior to departing for said terminal. Without correctly pre-notified customs documents, the cargo is not permitted to leave the terminal. The driver that picks up the cargo, will then be referred to a temporary parking location in the port area. In consultation with his planner or you as client, he can still arrange the customs formalities here.

Costs and registration Import Status
Import Status is a free service.


For export: service Track & Trace Export

Post-Brexit, this existing service will offer 24/7 insight into all export shipments at shortsea and ferry terminals: from the moment of arrival from the hinterland until the departure to sea. Your transporter is expected to use Track & Trace Export to verify whether the customs documents are known at the terminal prior to departing for said terminal. Without correctly pre-notified customs documents, the transporter will not be granted access to the terminal. His driver is then referred to a temporary parking location in the port area. In consultation with his planner or you as a client, the formalities can still be arranged.

Costs and registration Track & Trace Export
Track & Trace Export is part of Notification Export Documentation and is a web-based service. After registration for Notification Export Documentation, the use of this service is completely free of charge.


Curious how the services work?

See how simple Import Status works

Learn more about Track & Trace export

Read all the details in the Get Ready for Brexit handbook.

These terminals and shipping companies are participating

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