Customs Clearance

Customs Clearance UK

At Cargo Flow Agency, we specialise in customs clearance for post Brexit, EU trading. We supply a full range of customs clearance services. These are available to importers, exporters, and hauliers alike.

All post-Brexit cargo movements will be subject to an export declaration from the country of origin and mirrored by an import declaration upon arrival.

customs clearance Newhaven port
customs clearance Newhaven Port

Customs Clearance Explained

Most frequent questions and answers

From our offices in the harbour of Newhaven, East Sussex, our systems are connected to the H.M. Customs Chief and NES portals. This enables our highly trained and skilled staff to manage inbound customs clearances and outbound freight declarations.

In addition, from 1st January 2021, we can provide transit entries for cargo travelling across the UK, heading onward to another European Customs area destination, for example, Republic of Ireland.

 Our services are focused on Newhaven, but our badges cover all of the principal south coasts Ro/Ro harbours. Therefore enabling us to serve Dover, Newhaven. Portsmouth and Southampton, along with several other harbours

Foreign harbour clearances, whether in Dieppe or the other French Ro/Ro harbours can also be organised seamlessly. Our software connects directly to our French network, reducing the potential delays and inaccuracies. which may occur with re-keyed data. Our French ports coverage includes Dunkerque, Calais, Dieppe, Le Havre and Ouistreham as the major Ro/Ro harbours.

All of this information, for each and every consignment, must be provided to the clearing agent at the point of exportation. An export entry, detailing the journey to be undertaken and the customs status of the cargo will be prepared.

Whether the delivery of the data for clearance purposes is to be done by the shipper, or the haulier, early presentation is always advised. This will ensure that the data has been processed, whilst the vehicle is heading to the harbour. Delays will inevitably occur if the parties wait until the driver arrives in the harbour. Of course, even longer delays can be expected if the documentation is not sent with the vehicle.

Based on the data included in the export entry, the entry for the inbound clearance can be prepared whilst the vehicle is in transit between the two countries, whether that be by the sea, train or other means. If the data is available in full and if it is routed for immediate clearance by the customs authorities, it could be that the vehicle is permitted to leave the harbour without delay.

For us to provide a fast and efficient clearance service, requires significant collaboration, involving exporting companies, importers and their hauliers. The benefit of fully electronic service is often seen in the immediate release of a vehicle upon arrival in the destination harbour. That can only happen if the data pertaining to every consignment contained within the carrying unit is accurately collated, ideally prior to the goods being loaded.

In the first instance, the shipper must produce customs invoices. These will detail the nature, number, packaging type and quantity, the gross and nett weights, the value and the terms of shipment. As with any commercial invoice, the purchaser will be identified. It may also be a requirement of the importing territory for specific declarations to be included within the body of the document, these may confirm origin, conformance, or other requirements specific to the type of cargo and country rules.

At the heart of the correct identification of the cargo is the Customs Commodity Code. It is the role of the exporter to associate each of their products to the relevant CCC from within the tariff. This data must also be shown in the invoice for the shipment to be cleared.

Associated with the cargo invoice, is the Packing list. This describes the nature of the cargo, the type and quantity of packages. There should be a cross-relationship with the invoice and will also be shown the names, addresses and contact details of the shipper and the overseas receiver.

There are options for the authorities to delay transit through the harbour, this may involve documentary checks, document and cargo examination, in the case of restricted cargoes, it may be that the release of the vehicle will depend upon the authority of departments other than customs.

There are two further elements which have to be considered, but which haven’t yet been addressed above. Those being Duty and VAT.

Duty is not payable on most EU transactions at the moment. Without a Trade deal between the UK and EU, it will almost certainly be the case that duty will be payable upon importation. Therefore adding cost, and potentially delaying transit whilst the necessary funds are paid to the local customs authority.

We will continue to watch reports from the on-going negotiations. Delays of vehicles should duty become payable, are the most likely reason why transport costs may also rise in 2021, further impacting on the costs of supply.

VAT on imported cargo is likely to be accounted for in the quarterly returns of all VAT registered traders. Non-registered traders are likely to have to pay VAT at the prevailing rate, during the importation process. So cash-flow may well be impacted, in particular for non registered importers.


The essential message which traders must absorb and prepare for is that things for many companies are going to be considerably changed. Businesses who have previously traded only with EU suppliers and customers will have to alter their invoicing and documentary practices. It could also be the case that the existing contracts with EU businesses were not negotiated with clear INCOTERMS in place.

It may, therefore, be necessary to formally negotiate who is going to have responsibility for each customs clearance charge, who pays any duty which may apply, plus any other gaps in trading terms which may currently exist.

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What is Customs Clearance?

Customs clearance is the process of reporting to the governmental agencies on the international trading of cargo. The process is divided into two distinct operations, export from the country of origin and import into the territory of the receiving party.

The process of clearance, enables the collection of trade statistics, the control of certain types of cargo, payment of duty and localised taxes.


What is Customs Clearance?


From 1st January 1993, the UK became a part of the European Single Market. During that period, the requirement for border controls, payment of duty and the collection of local taxes, has not applied in the majority of transactions between EU member states. Resulting from the decision of the UK to leave the European Union, and from 1st January 2021, the European Customs Union, all goods traded from and to the UK with the 27 EU states, will once again be the subject of border controls. Pending the outcome of the on-going Trade deal negotiations, it is too soon in August 2020, to know the precise nature of the clearance process. This is particularly relevant in the case of duty payments on importation. The only certainty is that documentary reporting for each and every shipment will occur at the beginning of 2021.