Ready in 5 steps as an importer

The checklist below helps you to continue to swiftly transport cargo to and from the United Kingdom as an importer 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 an importer, will you make sure that you are ready in time for Brexit in the Dutch ports? Read here which actions are required on your part for transport via both shortsea and ferry.

Step 1: Register with Customs

No relationship with Customs yet? Then register for an EORI number with Customs as soon as possible. Every company in Europe involved in import or export requires such a unique identification number from Customs. Also if you are an importer who uses a forwarder or customs agent for your import 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: Establish who is responsible for the import declarations

Following Brexit, decide whether you will submit import declarations to Customs yourself as an importer or whether you will use a forwarder or customs agent. If you submit declarations yourself, separate software and licenses will be required. On the website of the Dutch Customs you will find a list of software suppliers who can help you. Also read more on submitting import and export declarations on the website of Customs*.

You may also need to arrange this:

*Only available in Dutch
**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. You can take care of this pre-notification yourself in your capacity as an importer, but the forwarder, customs agent or, on occasion, transporter can do this as well. Make clear agreements about this! These Dutch (customs) forwarders could help you. If you do the pre-notifications yourself, these software suppliers can create a system link if desired. Without pre-notification, your cargo will come to a standstill at the terminal.

Step 4: Subscribe to the Portbase services

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

For import (cargo from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands): service Notification Import Documentation

Updated service for pre-notifying all customs documents at shortsea and ferry terminals as well after Brexit. This can be done via the web as well as (in the case of larger numbers) by means of a system link. These software suppliers can help you make such a system link. 

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, 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.

Curious how the service works?

Notification Import Documentation

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

After the 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 (cargo from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands): 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.

Curious how the service works?

Import Status

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

These terminals and shipping companies are participating

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