Commercial van and driver

No Booking of Vans on Passenger Services from 2021…Here's Why!

You may already be aware of the significance of midnight on the 31st December 2020 and how it marks the end of the UK transition period. From the 1st January 2021 the UK will no longer operate as though we are an EU member and we will start to see major changes in the way in which we conduct international travel and trade.

One of the major changes that will be implemented on the 1st January 2021 means that commercial vans MUST book as a freight vehicle on all routes when they are carrying goods that are valued in excess of £135 OR are carrying “tools of trade”. This is because when Great Britain leaves the Customs Union, all vehicles carrying goods MUST go through freight lanes so that they can be made available for customs inspection. It also means that every time your vehicle leaves GB, you or the exporter MUST complete customs formalities BEFORE arriving at port. This is not a simple process and takes time to organise.

Even tools of the trade?

Yes – in this instance you would also need to complete a type of Customs formalities called an ATA Carnet. Basically, your business needs to register every single item that you are taking to complete a job outside GB. Customs officials may request you to visit a local HMRC Border Control Point to check the accuracy. You will then need to complete this in reverse when you leave the country you are completing the work in. Take a look at the UK Goverment 'Take goods temporarily out of the UK' guide for more information.

Booking as a freight vehicle

You need to be aware that these changes are being implemented as you will be refused travel on a passenger sailing and will be subject to possible fines if you are caught breaking the new rules. The Eurotunnel VP (Vans on Passenger) service will continue as normal as they have existing systems in place to ensure that commercial vans are treated as freight vehicles.

Freightlink offer competitive rates on freight travel between the UK and the EU. Let us help you with your freight booking requirements.


CustomsLink can help with customs formalities including declarations and ATA Carnets.
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22 September 2020

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