Brexit: customs & logistics solutions

Brexit: 2 advanced customs & logistics solutions for your movements across France and Europe

Advice from a French forwarder: check out these solutions to ensure the smoothest possible customs clearance between the United Kingdom and France & Europe after Brexit.

This article is part of a blog series dedicated to Brexit Customs operations for companies and freight forwarders.

Since January 1, 2021, customs formalities have been re-established at the border between France and the United Kingdom. The cooperation agreement signed on December 24, 2020 provides for exemption from customs duties for many products complying with the preferential origin rules, but this exemption must be requested in the customs declaration and requires presentation of proof of origin. In addition, sanitary and phytosanitary formalities and controls are reinstated.
The implications are heavy for border crossings after Brexit, especially since not all operators are well prepared.

Customs clearance at the border in Calais
Border delays leading to significant impacts on post-Brexit delivery times.

Brexit: customs clearance at the border in Calais

A key element for logisticians, delivery times are likely to suffer from lengthy “Customs stop”. A documentary customs inspection can quickly lead to a thorough physical search, or even to testing of samples that will have to wait for the return of the analysis from the customs laboratory: all this can freeze the shipment from a few days to several weeks. And l’t’s not mention what happens if Customs consider the products to be non-compliant! We can therefore expect long queues of trucks, parked, waiting for some time for their precious magic paper: the DAU (“Document administratif unique” or Single Administrative Document in France) in BAE (“Bon à enlever” or delivery voucher) finally authorizing the continuation of logistics operations.

Our teams can relieve your flows at the border posts with the possibility of assisting the drivers, directing them and making them wait in a secure parking area, carrying out customs formalities and if necessary accompanying any customs visits.
Going the extra mile: Mathez Freight can also assist you in issuing ENS (Entry Summary Declaration), a formality necessary for the identification of each loaded truck crossing the border.

We can only hope that the customs information system, which is subject to frequent maintenance, will be able to keep up with the upcoming influx of declarations! The same goes for the infrastructures and the new organization at the borders to be put in place.

Customs clearance in Calais might be a disaster, but it does not have to be fatal! Solutions are available to limit delays on your regular flows. Here are the most relevant options currently available to British exporters.

Brexit & Customs: download our infographics illustrating 3 logistics and customs solutions

1. Customs clearance at the inland customs office
A preferred solution for occasional post-Brexit French importers

Brexit: customs clearance

Avoiding the customs stops at the border will obviously be one of the first concerns of British exporters and rightly so. A delivery in transit to an inland customs office, placed at the right location, will be more fluid and better suited.

Once the international transit convention is ratified by the United Kingdom, British operators will be able to establish an export customs with a transit document, allowing the truck to pass through the green line at the exit of the Channel Tunnel, and to continue without delay to the optimal inland customs office.

In order to benefit from the advantages of this configuration, it is important to designate, upstream, a freight forwarder / Customs representative in France, who will handle the transit permit at the right place in France. The Customs representative will convert it into an import customs document – either through a declaration of release for consumption or other regimes such as Temporary Admission, Inward Processing procedure, or Bonded Warehouse, …).

This configuration has the sole purpose of avoiding border congestion, but will of course remain subject to the customs authorities’ control.

Solution: Mathez Freight, a Registered Customs Representative in France with AEO-Full certification, can handle the transit documents for you and the customs clearance of your consignments at an inland customs office. Contact us now.

Brexit-cross-docking on logistics platform
Why use only one customs representative?
In Europe, we often assume that the transport organiser also naturally provides customs representation, and many companies have as many customs representatives as carriers. It makes more sense to compare your customs representative with your accountant: you only have one because he knows you, he handles confidential data, he optimizes what is needed and he ensures your customs compliance as well as VAT compliance, if he is competent to do so.

2. Cross-docking customs clearance on a logistics platform
The solution adapted to British exporters with a fiscal representative in France 

Brexit-cross-docking on logistics platform

As of January 1, 2021, all UK operators selling on the French and European market in DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) incoterm will have to adapt their logistics and customs arrangements to maintain the same level of service to their customers.

Solutions do exist, but administrative formalities must be started as a matter of urgence . British operators will have to name :

  • a tax representative to handle VAT declaration formalities and ensure the tax compliance of their operations according to their resale plans.
  • a Registered Customs Representative to carry out customs clearance formalities in France and ensure the customs compliance of operations.

The setting up of a logistics platform in France, taking charge of a delivery of goods in transit followed by customs clearance on their behalf, possible thanks to the fiscal representation, will allow British companies to maintain the same conditions of sale to their French and European customers.


Mathez Freight and its sister company EASYTAX offer British companies shipping to France logistical, customs and tax support to optimize the border crossing of their goods, including VAT tax representation.

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