International freight transport and Brexit

February 09 2021
transporte internacional de mercancías y el brexit

After several weeks since the arrival and entry into force of Brexit, the logistics sector continues to adapt to the new situation in terms of international freight transport and Brexit.

Initially, the agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom promised to be beneficial for both markets, however, the day to day is preventing a flow of goods as smoothly as companies and logistics operators would like.

So what has changed? How should we act in the face of these operations, which are now considered imports and exports?

Read on and find out which customs procedures have to be taken into account for both cases.



Economic relationship between Spain and the United Kingdom


In order to understand what Brexit is implying for companies, we have to be clear about the commercial relationship between Spain and the United Kingdom.


  • According to the information provided by the British Chamber of Commerce, during 2019 the United Kingdom was the main foreign investor in Spain. generating an impact of approximately 235,000 jobs. This action was repeated during the first half of 2020, continuing as the main investor in the country.
  • In 2019 the export represented a value greater than 19,500 million euros. As for imports, they exceeded 11,800 million.
  • Industries such as plaster or ceramics; the car; or the agri-food sector, are the most prominent in the commercial relationship.
  • Road and maritime transport dominated 97.35% of the modal pattern in 2019, representing 46.85% and 50.5% respectively.
  • The ports with the highest traffic with the United Kingdom were Bilbao and Santander in 2019. In total, exports from both ports were 10.9 million tons.


Brexit and the new customs procedures


Since the entry into force of Brexit, the international transport of goods is not considered within the norm of intra-community operations; Therefore, today, we consider this type of operation within those subject to customs formalities. Within this change, however, there are those operations coming from or destined for Northern Ireland, which will remain within the Intrasat system regime.

It can be said that this change is what is generating more problems for Spanish companies to carry out and maintain these commercial relationships, since they increase costs and therefore make the British market less attractive.


Customs procedures for exports¹


  • For the presentation of declarations it is necessary to have an EORI number (Registration and identification of economic operators of the EU).
  • Shipments and receptions of merchandise must be formalized through the DUA (Unique Customs Declaration).
    Some types of merchandise are subject to additional and specific controls to certain types of products.
  • Registration in the REX (Exporters Registration System) to make a declaration about the origin of your merchandise.
  • In maritime transport, the cargo manifest is required and the shipping agent completes the EXS (Exit Summary Declaration).


Customs procedures for imports²


  • Importing companies must obtain the EORI number (Registration and identification of economic operators in the EU).
  • Electronic declaration to the customs of the Member State where you are, either with your own resources or through a customs agent.
  • In maritime transport, the goods must be covered by an ENS (Entry Summary Declaration).
  • For maritime trade, the presentation of the DSDT (Temporary Deposit Summary Declaration) is necessary.
  • VAT will be paid to customs authorities at the time of import, unless it is allowed to be included in the periodic declaration.


More information


If your company is affected by the recent change regarding Brexit and you are still not sure how to proceed or what decisions to make, you can contact CST Grupo. We will advise you and offer you our services to make these procedures easier.

We have 30 years of experience carrying out the international transport of goods by air, land and sea. Likewise, we offer our clients the guarantee of our long experience carrying out customs agency services: management of customs processing for both export, transit or import, in all its regimes.