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The departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union has created a great deal of uncertainty about trade with the United Kingdom. This lack of clarity can create challenges for your business. After all, what exactly do you have to take into account?

Brexit Package

Together with several major exporters to the UK we developed a Brexit Package. This package contains an extensive number of services that help you to manage Brexit.

  • We will analyse your current trade with the UK and advise you on which customs obligations will apply to you.
  • We provide customs training specifically for trade with the UK.
  • We take care of all the necessary registrations with customs and tax authorities in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
  • Our consultants provide advice on how to draw up customs declarations. This can be done in several ways: semi-automated, automated, manually in-house, or outsourced.
  • Our free Brexit Help Desk is ready to answer all your questions about trade with the UK.

We have listed the most frequently asked questions for you here, so that we can help importers and exporters as efficiently as possible. If your question is not listed here, please contact our expert.

1. Can SGS Maco help us with our export declarations to the UK?

Yes, we can. If you are already exporting, you will have an EORI number (customs registration number) with which SGS Maco can help you export to the UK without any hassles. After Brexit, Exports to the UK run along the same lines as exports to Switzerland or the USA. SGS Maco helps thousands of companies with their export declarations for all goods and to all destinations every year. We can handle the extra work resulting from Brexit but we need your cooperation to process the orders quickly and efficiently.

If you are already a client at SGS Maco, you don’t have to do anything, except to let us know how many extra orders a month we can expect from you. You can contact our service desk about this at

If you are not an SGS Maco client yet, please follow the steps below, so that we can immediately process your orders after Brexit:

  • Application form: complete the attached application form. This allows us to make you an offer, and we can immediately create a profile for you in our declaration software with your approval.
  • Authorization: In order for us to draw up your declarations, you need to authorize Maco Customs Service Netherlands to represent you with the customs authorities in the Netherlands. Completing an authorization is not a contract or an order, and we will only draw up your declarations after we have agreed on the price. You have to send in an individual order for each declaration. Please ensure that the authorization is signed by the authorized signatory.
  • Invoicing: customs sets specific requirements for invoices used in international trade. Please ensure the following:
    • A clear and recognizable description of the product on the invoice.
    • For each product, state the HS code (commodity code) on the invoice.

Please state the value and quantities of each product on the invoice.

  • Preferably state the gross and net weights for each product on the invoice.
  • Include your VAT number and EORI number on the invoice.
  • State the terms of delivery/Incoterms on the invoice.

2. What will change for us because of Brexit if we currently do not deal with customs?

If you are not currently dealing with customs, it is likely that you don’t have a customs registration number. This is also called an EORI (European Union registration and identification) number and is essential for your exports to the UK after Brexit. You can easily request an EORI number via this link.

It is also important to define the commodity codes (HS codes) for your products, as these are included in the customs declaration. SGS Maco can help you to determine your HS codes.

Ensure that you follow the steps outlined in question 1 and that your invoices are suitable for customs-related purposes. The SGS Maco experts can also help you to ensure 100% compliance.

3. We deliver DDP to our clients in the UK. What do we need to do?

For further explanation about Incoterms, click here.

If you deliver DDP (delivery duty paid), you are formally considered to be the importer in the UK and must pay any import duties. This means that you must register with HM Revenue and Customs and pay VAT in the UK. Our advice:

Ask your client if the delivery conditions can be adjusted. At least change to DAP (delivered at place), so that the buyer is the formal importer and takes care of the payment of import duties. If necessary, you can include that you arrange the entire import declaration and pay in advance, as long as the formal importer is only the UK buyer.

If this is not possible, you will have to act as the importer in the UK and ask your carrier to organize this for you. But SGS Maco is also able to assist you with this. We built a customs solution for the UK with which we can handle your declaration using our own declaration software and our own customs brokers. It is also be possible to make a UK import declaration from your Dutch export declaration, saving you time and money and allowing you to offer your clients in the UK the best possible service.

If you’d like to find out more about how SGS Maco can help you with declarations in the UK, read the FAQs about importing into the UK.

4. Can SGS Maco help us determine the HS codes for our products?

HS codes are the international language of customs. There are thousands of commodity codes and each product can be classified under one of these codes. The HS code determines aspects such as the percentage of import duties, but also whether other obligations have to be fulfilled, such as additional authorizations, declarations, or compulsory inspections at import and export. In short, the HS is very important.

You can try to find the correct commodity code on the customs website or ask SGS Maco to do it for you. You can request a quote for determining the HS codes with the attached form.

5. Do we require authorizations to export to the UK?

Under normal circumstances, you do not need any authorizations unless you trade in goods that require them. However, this is not linked to Brexit. But you do need an EORI number. This is a customs registration number that you can request via this link. SGS Maco can also apply for this number on your behalf.

You do not need an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) authorization to export to the UK.

However, certain goods may require authorizations.

These include goods that fall under the CITES convention for protected plants and animals, such as products in which snakeskin or certain types of wood are used, but also specific flowers and plants. Further information.

Strategic goods. These are goods that are used for both civil and military purposes. Further information.

SGS Maco can help you to determine whether your goods require an authorization. The general rule is that if you don’t need an authorization for export to non-EU countries, then you don’t need it for export to the UK.

6. What is not possible?

There are certain frequently asked questions about matters that are impossible to arrange, such as:

You cannot draw up an export declaration in the Netherlands for goods that are not located in the Netherlands. If you have a warehouse in Belgium or production location in Germany, you need to draw up an export declaration in these countries or first transport the goods to the Netherlands to draw up an export declaration here.

You cannot draw up an export declaration if the goods are in a lorry standing on a car park next the motorway. The declaration must state where the goods are at that moment, and these must remain at that location for customs to carry out a physical inspection of the goods before releasing the shipment. At the time of the declaration, the goods may be stored at any location in the Netherlands that has a postcode. Please ensure that you always inform SGS Maco of the correct location in the order.

7. Do we need to take delays into account?

SGS Maco has been designed to draw up your export document quickly and efficiently. We generally deliver your document within an hour, but it can be ready even faster if needed. We do, however, rely on the availability of the customs systems and the quality of your order. The foundation for a correct invoice is described in question 1. If you use our declarations software to draw up your own declarations, you are not dependent on the waiting times at SGS Maco. See question 8.

When you or SGS Maco submits an export declaration, customs can decide to conduct a physical inspection. These generally take place within two hours but in practice can sometimes take a little longer. We expect customs to carry out few physical inspections when exporting to the UK, but the chance always exists. You may therefore not remove the goods from the declared location until the shipment has been released by customs. If we draw up your declaration, you will receive an automatic e-mail notification when the shipment has been released. If you draw up the declaration yourself, you can immediately see in the system whether the declaration has been released.

We have no influence on any delays in the ferry ports, at the Channel Tunnel, or in the UK, so we recommend that you plan your logistics allowing for additional time.

8. Can we draw up our own declarations?

Yes, you can! And with our help, it’s easier than you think.

SGS Maco has developed the Maco Customs Connect declaration software for exporters and importers who want to make their own customs declarations. The advantages:

  • Simple. MCC is built by customs brokers with one goal in mind: drawing up correct customs declarations quickly and easily. MCC is completely web-based – no installation is needed.
  • Fast. All you need to do is to enter the data required to draw up your declaration in the templates. And because you do it yourself, your lorry will never again have to wait for your customs agent to complete the document.
  • Affordable. The shortage of customs brokers means that outsourcing your declarations is becoming increasingly expensive. With MCC, you only pay for each declaration you draw up: it’s simple and fair.
  • Compliant. Our smart software reduces the likelihood of errors. But if you have any doubts, our MCC help desk is happy to help.

With the Brexit, many exporters want to draw up their own declarations. To make this process as easy as possible we are currently building a demo video and demo account, so that you can see how simple drawing up your own declaration is. If you are interested in drawing up your own declarations, please visit We will send you the demo account and video as soon as they are workable. If you decide to use MCC, your account and personal user manual will be ready within a few days.

9. Is it possible to automate our declarations process?

Yes, you can. SGS Maco has extensive experience in building an automatic data exchange between our declaration software MCC and our clients’ ERP, WMS, or order management systems. An absolute condition for a successful project is that you are able to provide a good dataset for the declarations. The exact amount of data in the dataset depends on the specific transactions that your company undertakes. Our consultants will help you to set up a plan to ensure the best possible result. Our experience shows that automation becomes highly beneficial from about 100 declarations per month, so if you’d like to find out more about automation, send an e-mail to our IT specialists at

10. Do we need to register our shipments in Portbase beforehand?

If your cargo goes via Rotterdam or one of the ferry terminals to the UK, the shipment must be pre-registered in Portbase, the port community system of the port of Rotterdam. Because of Brexit, the highly efficient Portbase has extended its scope to include the ferry terminals.

Your shipment can be registered by three parties: you, SGS Maco as your customs agent, or your carrier. Read more about how this works here.

11. Do we need a Transit document for shipments to the UK?

A transit document is required for the transport of goods under customs control (e.g. from a customs warehouse).

For goods that have been released (e.g. goods that you have produced yourself in the EU or goods from China for which an import declaration has already been made in the EU), a transit document is not a must but can be useful. An example from the current Swiss circulation illustrates this:

A transit document means your export document is immediately ‘deregistered’ and you receive conformation that the goods have left the EU. You will need this proof if the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration comes to check whether you have correctly calculated 0% VAT on your goods. In such a case, an export document will not suffice; you have to prove that the goods have actually left the EU. Without a transit document, the export document will only be deregistered at the external EU border. However, this is a process that generally runs smoothly.

With a transit document, the carrier can cross the border with Switzerland without having to submit an import declaration there. The carrier can continue to their final destination and submit their import declaration there, preventing waiting times at the border. If there is no transit document, the goods must be declared at the border.

In most cases, the carrier draws up the transit document. This is especially done in the case of general cargo where export consignments from several exporters are being transported, as they then only need to draw up one transit document for the entire lorry. The carrier charges the costs to you, either separately or as part of the total price.

But you can also choose to draw up your own transit documents (if you also make the export declaration yourself) or have SGS Maco do this for you. Thanks to our smart software, we can simply process export documents into transit documents, and save you money.

Whether or not transit documents are required in the UK for free goods depends on whether the UK will allow the carrier to drive to its final destination or a domestic location with a transit document in the UK without making an import declaration in the port. If the UK only allows import declarations in ports, part of the benefit of transit will be lost.

12. Can a UK company be the exporter in the EU? Can I sell on an EXW basis?

No. Exporters for customs purposes can only be EU-established entities. Consequently, a non-EU company can no longer act as an exporter for exports from the Netherlands. If you now sell EXW to a UK client, you need to change this to FCA, so the EU seller becomes the exporter. You can agree that your UK client still pays for the export declaration.

13. What is the country code for Northern-Ireland?

The country code for Northern Ireland is XI. That means EORI nrs from Northern Ireland start with XI, customs offices in Northern Ireland start with XI and so on. The rest of the UK uses country code GB.

14. How does the process look like when you want to ship goods to Ireland through the UK?

If you ship goods from an EU member state to Ireland via GB, you do not have to file an export or import declaration. You do have to take the following steps:
1) Create a T2 transit document with destination Ireland
2) Notify the port community system of the port through which you leave the EU, e.g. Portbase for NL or SI Brexit for FR
3) Create a GVMS entry before entering GB to enable UK customs to perform the office of transit function
4) File an exit summary declaration (EXS) before leaving GB (UK has granted a waiver fort his obligation until 31 March 2021)
5) File an entry summary declaration (ENS) in Ireland
6) Create a PBN in the Irish Customs Revenue RoRo service
7) Terminate the T2 in Dublin port (will be done by authorities upon arrival)
SGS’ TransitNet service enables you to fulfil all obligations with a single service.

15. Why do I need to sign a Power of Attorney?

If you want SGS to make customs declarations for you, you have to sign a PoA to authorise us to file customs declarations on your behalf. The PoA needs to be signed by the company who is the exporter/importer. The PoA cannot be signed by the logistics service provider or transportation company. The PoA must be signed by an authorised representative of the exporter/importer. If the exporter/importer has multiple entities who act as exporter/importer, then each entity has to issue a PoA to SGS.

16. When exporting flowers and plants, do I need to consider export certificates that must be issued along with the shipment?

As of January 1, 2021, the rules of so-called ‘third countries’ (countries outside the European Union) will apply to the UK. The UK is no longer a member of the single market and customs union. You have to follow the same rules as for other countries outside the EU, such as Canada, China and the US, so you will be dealing with:

• inspection services
• border checks/controls in the uk
• Cost

Before exporting flowers and plants to the UK, verify that your shipment complies with the UK requirements. In addition, one of the 4 Dutch inspection services from the agricultural and horticultural sector must check your shipment. Before requesting an export inspection, register your business with an inspection service.

When entering the UK, you will be dealing with strict controls carried out by the UK authorities. Please consider costs for these checks and for the NVWA export documents, such as a phytosanitary certification. Applications for phytosanitary certification are submitted through the ‘so-called’ eHerkenning.

17. When exporting animals and animal products, do I have to take into account export certificates that must be included with the shipment?

Due to Brexit, you can only export to the United Kingdom once the NVWA has checked your shipment. They can only do this after you have requested special export documents, known as Export certificates, via the e-CertNL application.

Please report to the NVWA at least 2 to 3 days before export (depending on the type of export) what you intend to export. You need to plan your export well in advance. In addition, you will have to deal with border controls carried out by the UK authorities. Also keep in mind that there are costs associated with export certificates and NVWA verifications.

18. If I move goods from Northern-Ireland via Ireland to Great-Britain, what do I need to do?

1. Submit an Export declaration in Northern Ireland plus an Import declaration will be required in Great Britain
2. Submit an Export declaration in Northern Ireland and then a transit declaration to move the goods. In this scenario, no import declaration is required in Great Britain

If you move qualifying Northern Ireland goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain through Ireland you’ll need to follow the process for importing goods into the UK from the EU unless you are using transit but you will not need to pay UK customs duties.

It’s either an Export-Import OR NI Export and Transit.

Additional information for Northern Ireland is that there is only one Transit Office (it’s located in Belfast Port code XI000142).
They do request an email to confirm outbound Transits and 12 hours’ notice for inbound transits

Customs formalities

Of course, we can help you with these customs formalities. We are active in the Netherlands and Belgium and since Brexit we are also active in the United Kingdom, so that we can offer you a total solution for trade with the UK.

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More info? We are happy to talk to you