Last call: smooth sailing or will you be standing still at the border?

Brexit will have an enormous impact on the logistics chain. After all, from 1 January 2021 onwards, transport to and from the United Kingdom will always start with a declaration to Customs. Whatever the outcome of the political negotiations, there will be customs obligations. In the Netherlands, collaborating organisations in the ports have made every possible preparation to ensure that goods can continue to be transported quickly through the Dutch ports after Brexit. Via Portbase, importers, exporters, hauliers or their intermediaries can digitally prenotify the required customs documents for import or export, so that the barrier will be open on arrival at the terminal.


However, it is up to importers, exporters, (customs) forwarders and hauliers to make arrangements amongst themselves about who will prenotify the documents to Portbase so that all the information is submitted digitally ahead of the shipment and the barrier really is open at the terminal. Using Portbase’s Brexit services is essential in order to be able to prenotify the customs documents digitally. If companies want to transport goods via the Dutch ports, the working method is the same everywhere: Rotterdam, Hoek van Holland, Vlaardingen, Vlissingen, Moerdijk, Amsterdam, IJmuiden. Every ferry and shortsea terminal requires the use of Portbase.

Own responsibility

Over the past two years, Customs, the ferry companies, shortsea terminals, industry bodies and interest groups, central government, Portbase and the Get Ready for Brexit campaign have been sending out communications in the Netherlands and abroad about the working method in the Dutch ports after Brexit. These communications have always urged the recipients to apply for Portbase. Many companies have already done so. 90% of all cargo can be prenotified digitally via Portbase. Companies that do not yet have access to the necessary services are taking a big risk. It is the responsibility of each company to be prepared. Having access to the right services from Portbase is an important first step, but certainly not the only one. Making sure you have a good understanding of how to use Portbase is at least as important. For example, creating users who can work in the Portbase system and, of course, getting to grips with the operation of the Brexit services themselves.


Companies that apply to Portbase too late literally run the risk of missing the boat. As the end of the year approaches, that risk is increasing. Portbase has taken the necessary measures to cope with a peak in the number of new notifications. A digital ‘application street’ has been set up with the aim of simplifying and speeding up the application process. In addition, Portbase is deploying extra capacity (a combination of our own employees and agency staff) to cope with a peak in the number of applications in December and early January. However, in the last two weeks of 2020 and early January, Portbase will be giving priority to companies that have made preparations in good time but need support setting up or using the services. Companies that have failed to make preparations and get in touch at the last minute will have to join the back of the application queue and so run the risk of not being ready on time.

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