2019 January 25 17:06

Dutch ports launch Get Ready for Brexit guides

Together with PortBase, the cooperating sector organisations in Dutch ports launched the campaign website, Port of Rotterdam said in its release. This enables exporters, importers and their logistics service providers to see at a glance what they need to do to transport their cargo quickly to the United Kingdom after Brexit. The launch of the website signalled the start of the international information campaign that aims to support the entire logistics chain in the run up to Brexit.

The website focuses on informing and activating parties in the logistic chain, such as importers, exporters, carriers and freight forwarders. ‘Client journeys’ have been established per target group to show step-by-step which action needs to be taken by whom and when in order to import or export quickly via Dutch ports after 29 March 2019. The cooperating parties have asked the logistics chain to participate in a joint solution for Brexit in Dutch ports. The uniform approach will ensure smooth handling of the customs formalities that will arise as a result of Brexit.

The Get Ready for Brexit initiators are PortBase, port entrepreneur organisation Deltalinqs, interest organisation FENEX, evofenedex and Transport and Logistics Nederland/AFTO. The port authorities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, ferry operators and shortsea terminals have worked together with Dutch customs since last September toward one Dutch chain solution for Brexit in Dutch ports; a solution that satisfies European legislation. The ingredients of this approach result in 100% digital and automated handling of customs formalities, with optimum reuse of data. All information precedes the cargo. Both for shortsea and ferry traffic there will be one access for all terminals. This will enable smart Customs checks, with minimum intrusion on the process. After Brexit it will be even more attractive to use Dutch ports to transport from and to the United Kingdom. Iwan van der Wolf, Managing Director of PortBase: ‘As national Port Community System, PortBase has a coordinating role in making the necessary joint agreements and in the development of the required IT process. A lot has already been achieved in recent months, and a central working method has been embraced by all participating parties. But there’s no time to sit on our laurels, as 29 March will be here before we know it. And we really need to be ready.’

The approaching Brexit is creating a new reality for the logistics chains between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Whatever the outcomes of the political negotiations: each form of Brexit will result in customs formalities for shortsea and ferry traffic. In the case of a very possible no deal, this will happen immediately after 29 March 2019. But, contrary to what many may think, customs formalities are a given in the near future, even in the event of a soft Brexit. ‘Preparing our logistics chain for this now will enable all cargo to travel through Dutch ports quickly, even after Brexit. If we don’t do this, we’ll all come to a standstill after Brexit’, stated Steven Lak from port entrepreneur association Deltalinqs.

To enable the Dutch port solution to work, each link in the logistics chain must participate and prepare in time. If one party doesn’t succeed in meeting the customs formalities in time, everyone in the chain will come to a standstill. From exporter, importer, freight forwarder and customs agent to carrier, terminal, shipping company, shipping agent and ferry operator, each party has a task and responsibility. If everyone takes timely action and forwards the correct customs information, after Brexit all cargo will continue to travel quickly via Dutch ports from and to the United Kingdom. Director, Bart Jan Koopman, from evofenedex: ‘That is why the international campaign is so incredibly important. The transport chain continues deep into the hinterland. Shippers and carriers in countries such as Poland and Germany also need to know what they have do to continue to transport their freight quickly and without problem via Dutch ports from and to the United Kingdom after Brexit.’