Shipping Pallets to the EU Post Brexit

How has Pallet Shipping to the EU Changed Since 1st Jan 2021?

As Great Britain has now officially left the European Customs Union, many shipments to Europe will require Customs Approval before reaching the delivery point.


For each shipment, additional paperwork is mandatory for Customs procedures.

Duties and Taxes (if applicable) will be charged on goods imported into GB or the EU.

The UK EU Trade and Cooperation agreement was signed on 30th December 2020, provisionally applied on 1st January 2021 and fully implemented on 1st May 2021.

However, it remains unclear whether there will be a Free Trade Agreement or if the trade will be on World Trade Organisation Terms as yet; We will provide more details once this is confirmed.

At PalletOnline, we want to help ease the process of sending a pallet to the EU after Brexit, especially considering that most businesses have never shipped outside of the EU trading bloc pre-Brexit; please read the following information carefully.

Customs Procedures and EU Trade Requirements

The vast majority of shipments from the UK heading into the EU are now subject to Customs approval before they can be delivered.

For your goods to pass through Customs with no issues, you must provide all the correct documents and paperwork.

If you don't provide the correct details, your shipment will face delays.


Exporter Preparation Advice

As an exporter, you will need to provide additional documents and paperwork for your goods to reach their European destination with no issues.

Before booking your Europe pallet delivery with PalletOnline, please make sure you have the following documents at hand:

  • Commercial invoice -  packing list is not required for customs clearance, therefore, the below information must be included on the invoice: 
    • The seller’s and the buyer’s full name, address, and contact details. If the delivery address is different to the buyer’s registered address, please also include this on the invoice
    • EORI & VAT Numbers- The seller and the buyer must both have a valid EORI number and be VAT registered. If not, you will not be allowed to ship goods into Europe and the goods will not clear customs at the destination.
    • Invoice Number and purchase order number (if available)
    • Number of pallets and their individual dimensions (in centimetres)
    • Net weight (weight of goods only), and the gross weight (combined weight of the goods and the pallet) for each pallet (in kilograms). For multiple lines of products, please ensure the net weigh per line is included on the invoice
    • Quantity of products on each pallet
    • Incoterms - you must include the correct incoterms on your commercial invoice. This will help avoid confusion about responsibilities and cost management between the buyer and the seller. Please note, the incoterms must be agreed beforehand between both parties to avoid issues at destination. 
    • Commodity codes - you must include the correct commodity codes on the invoice as these will determine the correct customs authority duties and other charges that apply to the goods.
  • Additional paperwork - Please ensure you are aware of any additional paperwork required for import clearance in the destination country for each commodity code ahead of shipping the goods.

A commercial invoice is mandatory for ALL shipments heading out of Great Britain.


Northern Ireland Protocol Explained

Northern Ireland has remained in the EU’s single goods market, so the process of shipping goods to NI has changed only very slightly.

When booking a Northern Ireland pallet delivery with us, you DO NOT need to complete any Customs paperwork. We will process this for you if needed.

You just need to tell us the importer’s EORI number (if they are a business) or if the goods are being bought by a private individual for personal use, switch to residential when making the booking.

The Incoterms agreed between the parties will dictate who the importer is. For example, if the goods were sold on DAP incoterms, then the buyer is the importer, however, if the goods were sold on DDP incoterms, then the seller is the importer.

Northern Ireland

Regarding the changes to Northern Ireland pallet shipping, the UK Government has released a Protocol document that focuses on four types of shipments. These include:

  • Goods coming from Great Britain and heading to Northern Ireland may be subject to Customs Clearance, but Taxes and Duties will not apply.
  • Goods coming from Northern Ireland and heading to Great Britain will continue as they are (minus a few exceptions).
  • Shipments between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will move freely, as usual.
  • Northern Ireland shipments to and from any other country will follow the same regulations as all other UK imports/exports.

Changes to UK VAT Treatment - What You Should Know

Instead of collecting VAT at the delivery point, this happens at the initial sale. This change applies to many goods under the value of £135.

All shipments above that value will remain subject to the existing Customs rules and processes, where the receiver is responsible for paying Duty upon delivery.

These changes will NOT apply to shipments containing excise goods or non-commercial transactions between private individuals; Existing rules continue for these transactions.

Please note, export/import procedures are ever changing, therefore, please keep an eye out for changes. A bit of information that was not requested on your last shipment, may be mandatory on the next, so arm yourself with some open-mindedness and awareness as it will go a long way to alleviate frustration when shipping goods internationally.

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