Customs Business Flow

With all the Brexit discussions, and in particular the changes in Customs procedures, I decided to consider where the pinch points are. Given that circa 60-70% of UK cargo comes in through Dover, I decided to put my focus here. Its highly likely that any changes are clearly going to have the biggest impact here, in 2 terminals, handling the highest volume of traffic (Folkestone / Dover) and probably the least amount of space per vehicle handled.

I do not consider myself as a Customs expert, so please feel free to give me any feedback and I will update the flow diagram. My main goal was to try and map out where the pinch points are likely to be within a new Customs procedure.

Currently existing Customs procedures are extremely time consuming, require a lot of expertise, and rely upon data flows that are checked well in advance to allow clearance. Did I mention the cost? Existing procedures will simply not work with the speed and volume of vehicles through Dover / Folkestone routes. We also have to consider not only the professional hauliers whom probably do have access to Customs agents and are used to exporting paperwork, but the "ant army" of couriers / small manufacturers whom collectively ship massive volumes of freight through Dover with none or little knowledge of Customs. (Not sure if Boris doesn't know this or chooses to ignore these micro EU exporters). There are also the "passenger" vehicles carrying goods and or providing services for gain etc shipping on passenger tickets whom suddenly the ports and operators will be obliged to process through Customs channels on Freight tickets.

Assuming (I appreciate this is a big assumption) there are zero tariffs applied in the new deal, the new process must focus on data capture (phase 1 no doubt), and MUST be accessible, easy to use, and open as possible for business to enter product information. It must deliver an unprecedented level of speed to allow smooth transit.

If the new Customs procedure can crack the Folkestone / Dover - Calais route, all other routes should be a breeze.

Hope you find the flow diagram useful. Download as a PDF.

Mark Stephens

Customs business flow