IRU calls for additional contingency measures in EU customs in case of no-deal Brexit

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineOctober 1, 2019

IRU is one of a number of EU industry bodies that has signed a cross-sectoral coalition, presented to the EU Commission and EU27 Member States calling for urgent additional customs contingency measures to be implemented in order to reduce freight and logistics disruptions in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

With fewer than six weeks to go until the current Brexit deadline, IRU has joined a coalition of eight organisations, calling on the EU Commission and EU27 Member States to introduce additional transitional contingency solutions to ease trade flows and prevent chaotic border delays caused by changes in customs procedures in the case of a no-deal. 

In the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, it will become a third country on 1 November 2019 and the EU27 will be required to apply the Union customs procedures to shipments going to, coming in from the UK or in transit without transition period. The application of these customs procedures becomes legally-technically possible only once the UK becomes a third country. This means that any goods starting their journey to or from the UK or in transit before the deadline and arriving after the deadline cannot be declared before the UK becomes a third country and cannot cross the border before having been declared. This could create serious bottlenecks that could be further aggravated due to switchover procedures at the level of the national customs authorities.

IRU has now joined forces with several partners to actively call, in case of a no-deal Brexit, for a temporary exemption from customs procedures for goods going to or from the UK or in transit and having started their journey before the Brexit deadline and ending on 1 November. This is considered a pragmatic solution that will seriously reduce the risk of potential bottlenecks during the changeover for both the freight transport and logistics industry and the customs authorities involved.

It is critical that action is taken now, ahead of the 31 October deadline. Failure to put in place contingency measures will see catastrophic delays at the borders, with resounding impacts for individuals, businesses and economies across Europe and the wider world.