How to prepare for Brexit? - a Webinar Recap


We are now 50 days from Brexit. There are less than two weeks left for the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom to come to an agreement. Whatever the outcome of the negotiation will be, there will be a border between the European Union and the United Kingdom. This border will also mean new customs procedures and documents.

Helping You to Get Ready for Brexit

On October 28th we organized a webinar to explain how automation and smart data integration will prepare you for what is coming. We also presented all the steps you need to get Brexit Ready.

Customs Support: an Introduction

Our CEO Frank Weermeijer shared some of the numbers on Brexit:

  • The market for customs declarations is expected to grow 17.8 billion euro
  • The number of UK customs declarations will grow 400% from 50 million to 250 million
  • For the regions where Customs Support is active the projected growth in volume of documents is 127%
  • There are 50,000 customs agents needed to handle the paperwork in the UK alone

These numbers make it clear that Brexit is something you should thoroughly prepare for.

You can see the Customs Support introduction by Frank here.

Brexit: an Overview

Our Regional CEO for the UK Des Hiscock gave some background on the history of Brexit and spoke about the main hurdles still to be taken.

  • The Internal Market Bill: Boris Johnson is trying to go back on the initial agreement between the EU and the UK that is the basis for the current negotiations. After the House of Parliament ruled in favour of the Bill, the House of Lords rejected it.
  • Northern Ireland: a complex region from a customs point of view, as it is relatively easy to transport goods from Northern Ireland to Ireland. Outstanding Issues in the Negotiation: Fishing rights in the UK waters for EU vessels. Level playing field: the EU wants commitments on tax, subsidy law, labour rights and the environment. Governance: the EU wants a single overarching deal.

Des also commented on some of the risks associated with the Brexit:

  • Border delays
  • EU entities not established in the UK will need indirect representation
  • Not complying to VAT regulations will lead to unclaimable input
  • Suppliers being unable to meet regulatory requirements

You can see Des’ part of the presentation here.

Digital Transformation and Brexit

Bardo Schütz, our CIO spoke about the digital transformation at Customs Support:

Customs brokers are behind on other industries like financial services, travel, and e-commerce providers. Our industry is playing catch up and Customs Support is at the forefront when it comes to digitization.

Historically the customs brokerage market is very traditional, with a lot of manual entry, localized knowledge at the individual level, and stand-alone databases. Game changers that will shift how we work are innovations like machine learning and artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, blockchain technology, and digital online platforms.

Customs Support is striving to become the digital leader in the industry:

  • Customs broker of choice for digital platforms
  • Highly efficient, accurate, and largely automated filing processes
  • Continuous insights through real-time monitoring

We prefer working with a Smart Data Interface, where we have three options:

  • excel files that we map and load into our customs system
  • PDF OCR, where software reads PDF documents and loads the data in our customs system. This option is still under development.
  • EDI interfacing, which is the most direct line between our customers and our customs system. Less data entry means fewer errors, and more time for value add activities.

For the optimal digital transformation, we need you as our customers as well.

You can see Bardo’s presentation here.

How to Prepare for Brexit

Rick Hendriks, our Regional Director South spoke on how Customs Support works together with customers to prepare for Brexit:

Getting companies ready for Brexit requires work on both sides. Our customers need to make sure they have the right data available to create and file the customs documents after Brexit. Together with our customers, we need to analyze their needs and set up the right processes to make sure they can seamlessly trade between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Rick also spoke about Incoterms in relation to Brexit, as some Incoterms will become very complex after Brexit, like Ex Works and DDP. For example: with Ex Works, the problem for the seller is that it will be difficult to prove if goods left the country or not, and with DDP the problem for the seller is that they will need fiscal representation where the goods will be imported. We advise you to review your contracts and avoid working with Ex Works and DDP.

Other topics he touched were export control, import requirements.

You can see Rick’s full presentation, which contains a lot more than we wrote about in this blog, here.

Questions and Answers

In order to help clients with preparations, we have created the Brexit Analysis Questionnaire. To make sure you are well prepared for Brexit it is important to read this article and share your data with us.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask or chat with our colleagues directly on our website. We are happy to help!