News & Events
Supporting our customers with EU order fulfilment post-Brexit
Since 1 January 2021, the way UK businesses send goods to the EU and Northern Ireland has changed. The agreement between the UK and the EU means the UK is no longer part of the EU’s single market and customs union and new rules apply.
Now that the Brexit transition period has ended, all goods being sent to the EU and Northern Ireland require customs clearance.
SMEs across the UK probably know this all too well by now. What hasn’t always been as clear is how to navigate the myriad of new processes that have accompanied this change in the way goods are exported to countries within the EU and Northern Ireland.
Avoiding disruption, maintaining momentum
After over 50 years in the fulfilment business, we’ve seen our fair share of evolution and our ethos has always been to keep our knowledge up-to-the-minute. We support our customers through every point on the learning curve.
Global eCommerce is booming right now and we don’t want all that growth and success to be interrupted by new export requirements.
That’s why the expert teams at our fulfilment houses in Hampshire and Berkshire have worked so hard to get to grips with every aspect of the new rules and set up reliable processes and upgraded systems.
We’ll explain the post-Brexit shipping changes to our customers, but we want them to know they can leave all the associated fulfilment responsibilities in our capable hands.
Essential information for parcels heading to Europe and beyond
Here’s a checklist of the mandatory requirements for international exports, which now means EU countries and Northern Ireland too.
- Customs declaration form - electronic customs data is obtained by scanning a customs invoice (for couriers) or a CN22 customs declaration form (for items up to £270 sent by Royal Mail) or a CN23 (for items of £270 or over sent by Royal Mail). The appropriate form must be clearly filled out in block letters and attached to the outside of every parcel, including an accurate description of the goods (including type of item e.g., blue baseball cap, what it’s made of, weight and value), EORI number, the correct HS/commodity code, and must state whether it’s a gift or a commercial item
- GB EORI number or XI EORI number - this is unique to each business and will identify it as an exporter in the customs system. If you’re sending goods to Northern Ireland, you need to have an XI EORI number. It’s inserted into the VAT field on the customs declaration form to help with customs compliance. Don’t have a GB EORI or XI EORI number? Apply now at www.gov.uk/eori
- Harmonised System (HS) code/commodity code - this 10-digit code allows customs authorities in any country to identify the type of item, regardless of the language used. It also determines the VAT. Visit www.gov.uk/trade-tariff for more information
- S10 barcode – for all Royal Mail untracked items, this goes on the outside of the parcel and links with the information on the customs declaration form. For Royal Mail tracked items, the label barcode acts as the S10
You may wish to seek additional advice specific to your product type/industry.
Fullers is making sure all packages bound for the EU and Northern Ireland are product compliant and all the required details are included.
A note about couriers
Fullers Logistics has links with all major couriers and we manage them on behalf of our customers.
Just so you know, DPD, DHL Express, FedEx and UPS operate a paperless system. Royal Mail will print a CN23 document automatically for European destinations in addition to worldwide. Parcelforce doesn’t support paperless trade so a paper invoice is required for all international destinations for their shipments.
Taking care of export requirements for you
Our warehouse management system (WMS) already integrates with all major eCommerce platforms and couriers. It has now been upgraded to incorporate the new aspects of the export fulfilment process. When you work with us, we will ask for your EORI number as part of the onboarding process.
As you introduce new products into your range, we’ll obtain all the product information that will potentially be needed for customs paperwork, codes and barcodes. If you’re not sure about anything, we’re always here to advise you.
All this information is held within the WMS, allowing us to take care of all your customs paperwork as a standard part of processing overseas orders as and when they come in. We don’t charge an additional admin fee and we won’t need to contact you unless there’s an issue.
The WMS is accessible 24/7 and will tell you the order and shipping status, as well as giving you real-time stock visibility. We’re also using it to send out useful information and updates about export requirements.
Make your EU-based customers aware of potential charges
Until 1 July 2021, commercial goods sent to the EU with a value between €10 and €150 may be subject to import VAT and may incur a handling fee in the receiving country.
The recipient may then need to pay customs or VAT charges and a handling fee in the receiving country before they can claim their parcel. These charges will depend on the country and the value of the item. Excise duty is chargeable in addition to customs charges for certain products (i.e., alcohol and tobacco).
Make sure that shoppers from overseas are aware of potential charges by communicating this clearly on your website at the point of ordering.
Keeping everyone happy
Customs authorities abroad are increasing their compliance checks. If barcodes or forms are missing, incomplete, or inaccurate, additional charges might be incurred. Items could be delayed, returned or seized, which would not please your customer at all.
You can count on our team to make sure that this doesn’t happen, helping to protect your brand reputation and encourage repeat business.
Does your business need a compliant and reliable end-to-end multichannel fulfilment and distribution service to deal with orders going to the EU and Northern Ireland? Contact us by filling out our contact form.