I went to a very illuminating and interesting seminar held by one of our International line haul partners. What is clear to me is that the business community has certainly not underestimated the size of the task that faces us. But there will be subtle changes and differences that we have just not thought about that may just jump up and surprise us. We have been speaking to our client base; many who export across the whole of the world so I am confident that they are ready. But HMRC reported recently that only 17% of clients who export have requested an EORI number. That means, by my maths, that 83% still need to apply! Remember, goods will not be able to be shipped without it.

This is not the definitive guide but I hope that it provides a useful summary on what preparations we should be making.


Minimum check list for EU / UK Traders

  • Do you have an EORI number?
  • Have you classified your goods?
  • Have you asked Bishopsgate to organise your Customs Declarant?
  • Is your commercial invoice fit for Customs?
  • Have you applied for Duty Deferment Account?

EORI number

  • The EORI number is a unique identification number that companies (importers and exporters) must use when exchanging data with customs in all EU member states
  • The EORI number must be stated on the commercial invoice

Classifying goods

  • All goods must have a commodity code for customs purposes
  • This classification is not only used to determine the customs duty for a specific subdivision, it is also used to apply non-tariff measures
  • So even if all goods have a zero rate for customs purposes, classifications may still be necessary to determine if:
    • an import or export license is required
    • to discover whether import or export restrictions apply
    • an export refund or similar applies
    • determine whether or not a product is subject to excise duty
    • find out if a reduced VAT rate applies
  • The UK trade tariff provides information on the classification of all specific goods in the EU
  • TARIC numbers (10-digit code) must be entered on the commercial invoice to avoid delays in the customs process


Authorisation customs representation.

  • Bishopsgate’s International transport company must have the authority to act as a direct representative, i.e. on your behalf, they must be authorised by your organisation.
  • Without proper authorisation, the goods cannot be declared to customs.
  • This ultimately means a delay in the process!

What is a Deferment account?

Duty Deferment Scheme and how to apply for a Deferment Approval Number (DAN) to defer paying HMRC charges due on:

  • Imports
  • Certain home-produced and home-manufactured goods.

These charges are normally payable when the goods are:

  • Imported
  • Removed from a customs or an excise warehouse or from a free zone

By deferring, you delay payment until a later prescribed payment day.

How does Deferment help?

Mainly, it helps because:

  • You delay paying the charges for an average of 30 days
  • You do not have to pay immediately each time you want to clear your goods – by inserting your DAN on import entry documentation you can settle a month’s charges with a single payment using the convenience of direct debit
  • We can normally clear your goods more quickly because we do not have to handle payments for each transaction


An invoice is required for import and export of goods. The invoice contains all the usual information in English. This can also be offered in another language, provided that an accurate translation is added in English. It needs to be accurate too. If any of the information below is missing, it may lead to delays.

  • Name, address, EORI and VAT number of the exporter and importer
  • Article number, number of pieces
  • Description of the goods (including the UK trade tariff code)
  • Gross and net weight (may also be mentioned on a packing list)
  • Type of packaging (box, pallet, bottle, etc.)
  • Currencies
  • Price per item and total price of the invoice
  • Incoterm and place
  • Invoice number and date
  • Country of origin of the goods
  • The Commercial Invoice must be provided to us at the time of booking


What challenges await us?

  • Bishopsgate are prepared for “No Deal”, but delays are not inconceivable
  • Depending on how strict the authorities act, waiting times are a real threat
  • ‘Just in time delivery’ will be affected.
  • Costs will increase including customs clearances
  • Preparation is necessary! The lack or inaccuracy of data and documents will lead to delays

Carrying the load for your logistical ambitions