To ensure our customers are prepared for Brexit, we have prepared the following information. If you have any questions, please get in touch:

Questions & Answers


We understand that preparing for Brexit can seem complicated, with a wealth of Government information to get to grips with before the end of the transition period on the 31st December 2020. We want to make the transition as seamless as possible for our customers, that's why we've developed our Checklist which is supported by our dedicated Brexit team.

Below we have compiled the most common questions we have received from customers and our answers.

How has Rhenus prepared for Brexit?

We have:

  • Increased our warehousing and contract logistics capabilities.
  • Consolidated our customs brokerage capabilities to ensure our customs documentary requirements can be maintained across our network.
  • Upgraded our hubs for Temporary Storage capabilities (ETSF).
  • Our Authorised Consignor/Consignee status will enable us to process customs formalities at our sites.
What is an EORI number and why do I need it?

An EORI number is a European Union registration and identification number for businesses which undertake the import or export of goods into or out of the EU.

Any business or individual established in the EU (an economic operator) needs to obtain an EORI number from their national customs authority before commencing customs activities in the EU.

You need an EORI number to move goods into or out of the EU (including the UK).

If you do not get one, you may have increased costs and delays. For example, if HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) cannot clear your goods you may have to pay storage fees.

You’ll need an EORI number that starts with GB to move goods in or out of the UK if there’s no Brexit deal.

Why does Rhenus have to act as a customs broker on my behalf?

To ensure customs clearance is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible, it is recommended to appoint Rhenus Logistics to act as customs broker on the customers' behalf. As a direct representative (imports & exports) Rhenus is responsible for making the customs declaration in the name of the importer/exporter. The importer/exporter is providing the necessary information and therefore stays responsible for the classification, origin, regime, status and valuation quoted to HMRC for the consignment. 

What is a deferment account?

Imports to the United Kingdom are subject to VAT and, depending on the product, customs duties. These duties must be paid in full to the customs authorities at the time of import. Having a deferment account can help with cash flow and ensures that shipments are cleared quickly. You have to pay VAT and Import Duty when you import goods to the UK. You can use the Duty Deferment Scheme (DDS) to make monthly payments to HMRC through a Deferment Approval Number (DAN).

To use the DDS, you have to give HMRC a guarantee through your bank that you can meet the cost of all your VAT and duties. Simplified Import VAT Accounting (SIVA) can reduce the amount of the guarantee, so it only covers duty, not VAT.

What paperwork will you need from us to collect the goods?

Firstly we would require you to complete our letter of empowerment authorising us to act as a declarant on your behalf.

To enable us to complete formulate the entry, we would require a copy of your commercial invoice and packing list.  It would also help if you could complete our request for an export declaration form.

If you intend to create your own customs entry or broker, we will require a copy of the resulting EAD so that this can be linked to the trailer declaration.  Because trailers often load during unsociable hours, we’d prefer to complete the entry process ourselves, from a cost perspective there is no difference to you as our customer.

Are you be able to complete an export declaration on our behalf?

Yes, Rhenus can complete a export declarations, in fact, we would prefer to complete the declarations where we are moving goods on your behalf as this ensure that the submission of entries is coordinated to the movement of the goods in our trailers.

Will you be using the Common Transit Convention to move goods between the EU and The UK?

Rhenus will use the CTC to move your goods they will be placed in transit and will be cleared at one of our 4 ETSF hubs. We will also make use of pre-lodged entries where this proves the more suitable option.

For Groupage will the transit scheme start at your German depot and be discharged in the UK at an approved inland facility?

Yes, where the transit scheme best suits our customers needs, we will be using the transit scheme.

If you are using the Transit procedure can you confirm that the goods will be customs cleared at the Inland Warehouse? What will be required to clear the goods in the UK?

Goods moving through the Rhenus’ network to our UK ETSF hub will be offloaded once they have been from transit.  We will then lodge the import entry to finally clear goods.  To enable us to do so we would require you to empower us to act as a Direct Representative on your behalf and to provide us with standing authority to clear the goods against your Deferment Account.

Please explain how Full Loads will work post-Brexit?

There are two ways to handle full loads and part loads. Firstly using transit, involving an export declaration in the country of departure, and corresponding import declaration the country of delivery.

Alternatively, we would consider the pre-lodgement method, where circumstance and your business requirements dictate.

The Government has stated that for the first six months, businesses can defer their import declarations?

This is correct, the UK Government has offered this easement to UK businesses, but they do recommend that where businesses are in a position to do so, they account for VAT/Duty upon importation. Our own advice to customers reflects that issued by the UK Government, and indeed where goods are moved through the Rhenus network, our preference is to complete clearance and account for VAT/Duty when the goods arrive at our hubs.

If you intend to take advantage of this scheme, it is important that you continue to do the following.

  • Continue to make Intrastat Declarations
  • Keep a record of each import you make
  • Record your import movements in your monthly VAT return. To do this, you need to estimate the VAT Import due from your record of imported goods, when you submit your deferred declaration, you must precisely account for the Import VAT due in your later return.
If my customer has appointed their own broker what information will you need?

You simply need to provide us with their details and the office of destination at which they intend to clear the goods. If your broker is handling your UK Import shipments, we will nominate them as the declarant once the goods have ended their transit. However, the cleanest flow will always be achieved if transportation and customs brokerage are handled by Rhenus.

Will there be an issue with hauliers entering the UK after Brexit, is this going to affect supply?

The haulier permits (ECMT permits) were only an issue for UK based hauliers, but these requirements have been relaxed, at least for the immediate future. Rhenus’ operates EU registered hauliers who are not impacted by these requirements.

What is GVMS and do I need to apply for it?

GVMS is the UK Governments Smartborder concept, Goods Vehicle Movement Service.  As part of our export process we will register our trailers with the system, and the corresponding EU entry port system when our trailer leave begin their journey to the EU.  We do not need to make a declaration in the first 6 month after 1/1/21 because our goods will be moving in transit.  These Smartborder solutions are aimed at pre-lodgement movements.

I am concerned for my business if my customer has to pay Duty and VAT, can I pay it instead?

Yes, you do need to amend your terms of sale to DDP though.

There are several ways to manage this.  Some larger corporations have country businesses in most EU countries, in which case they can be declared as the importer of record with the your customer shown as the end-user/final delivery place in the commercial invoice.

If you do not have an EU business or division of your company, then they can be declared as the importer of record but because VAT is paid in the country of destination you must have a legal entity in the delivery country who can account for the VAT payment.  Where this is not possible, we can offer you Fiscal Representation, which means that our customs brokerage service ALS will administer the entry and manage the VAT payment (Full Fiscal Representation).

In other supply chain models the VAT moves with the goods and is paid by your importer who must claim it back in their VAT return.

How can I calculate Duty on my goods?

You can find the duty applicable to your goods by going to Insert your commodity code and go to “overview”. This will tell you the 3rd country duty rate.

Need more Information?

Our dedicated teams across the UK are focused on preparing for Brexit together with our customers.

If you would like to know more about Brexit and what Rhenus is doing to prepare our customers for it please get in touch: