Ready for Brexit as a transporter

The checklist below helps you to continue to swiftly transport cargo to and from the United Kingdom as a transporter 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 for your driver. Complete the five steps to be ready for Brexit in time. Make sure you are ready!

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Your checklist

Click on the steps below for more information.

More information is required during your booking

Please note! Ferry operators and shortsea carriers require more information from you during your booking after Brexit. Click here to view the list.

You must always perform this of the Get Ready for Brexit steps

Of the 5 Get Ready for Brexit steps, you must at least perform step 5 in your capacity as a transporter.

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

The Dutch shortsea and ferry terminals request that you always verify whether the customs documents accompanying the cargo have been pre-notified at the terminal before your driver starts his trip. If your client has not correctly pre-notified the customs documents, you will not be granted access to the terminal and you will not receive the cargo. If that is the case, your driver will be referred to a temporary parking location in the port area. In consultation with you or with your client, he can still properly arrange the customs formalities here.

You use Portbase to verify the presence of customs documents in advance:

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

This free service offers you 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. Customs might want to inspect the cargo as well. Only if both are in order – are ‘green’ – will you be welcome at the shortsea or ferry terminal. In all other cases, you will not be granted access. If this is the case, there is no point in still dispatching your driver to the terminal.

Costs and registration Import Status
Import Status is a free service which is web-based.


For export (cargo from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom): service Track & Trace Export

By means of this existing service, you check whether the customs documents accompanying the cargo are known at the shortsea or ferry terminal prior to the driver’s departure. Without correctly pre-notified customs documents your driver will not be granted access to the terminal.

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 free of charge.


Curious how the services work?

See how simple Import Status works

Learn more about Track & Trace export

What many of your fellow transporters are also doing

As a transporter, you will not be granted access to the terminal without a pre-notification. In addition to step 5 – verification of the presence of customs documents at the terminal – many transporters therefore choose to perform steps 3 and 4 as well.

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

As part of the service provision to your client (the importer, exporter or forwarder) you then use Portbase to submit the customs documents at the shortsea and ferry terminals on his behalf. Please note: this only concerns the pre-notification of the necessary customs documents for which your client himself has previously submitted the import or export declaration to Customs.

Should you want to perform this pre-notification of customs documents, then make clear agreements about this with your client! Pre-registration can be done via the web as well as (for larger numbers) by means of a system link. These software suppliers can help you make such a system link.

Step 4: Subscribe to the Portbase services

In order to be able to pre-notify cargo at shortsea and ferry terminals for your clients as a transport company, you need to subscribe to two Portbase services.

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

Updated service for pre-notifying all customs documents for import at shortsea and ferry terminals 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 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. (From 1/1/2021, the prices are € 6.34 per month for web and € 21.17 per month for a system link. The transaction fee per container and connection costs will not change.)


For export (cargo from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom): service Notification Export Documentation

After Brexit, you can use this existing service to pre-notify all customs documents for export at shortsea and ferry terminals as well. This can be done via the web as well as (in the case of larger numbers) by means of a system link-up. These software suppliers can help you make such a system link-up.

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

If you are already an existing customer already using a system link-up, then a minor adjustment is required. The message specifications necessary for this are available here.

Costs and registration Notification Export Documentation

As a new participant, 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

You may also choose to do this as a transporter

Step 1: Make sure your client is registered with Customs

Some transporters take their service provision to customers even further. On behalf of their client (the importer, exporter or forwarder), they also take care of the import and export declarations to Customs. Should you want to offer this customs service in your capacity as a transporter, then make sure your client first requests an EORI number with Customs (if this has not already been done). Every company in Europe that imports or exports requires such a unique identification number from Customs. Even if said company uses you to perform the 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

If you want to be able to submit import and export declarations to Customs as part of your service provision to customers, then separate software and licenses are required. For this software you will find an overview of possible suppliers on the customs website. Also read more on submitting import and export declarations on the website of Customs.

You may also need to take care of the following:


*NVWA is Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority

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

These terminals and shipping companies are participating

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