Starting Jan. 1, 2021, U.K. shippers importing or exporting goods via the Netherlands will have to notify a digital system for processing containers through large ships and ferry terminals, Port of Rotterdam Spokesperson Leon Willems said at the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency roundtable discussion Monday.
If users fail to complete digital paperwork, their trucks will be sent to an emergency truck parking area to complete their application, Willems said.The Customs Administration of the Netherlands expects a 20% to 30% increase in declarations for imported and exported cargo following Brexit, according to Roel van 't Veld, the agency's Brexit coordinator, and is "expecting to add around 25% in volume," he said.
In 2016 when the U.K. voted to leave the European Union, countries like the Netherlands knew it would take concerted effort to transition to importing and exporting goods between two separate markets. Now, with Brexit officially scheduled for Jan. 31, 2021, and the trade negotiation's deadline at the end of this month, Jan. 1, 2021, stands as the day when logistics changes start to come to bear.
The Netherlands is home to the busiest port in Europe, Rotterdam, and what it does to prepare for January will most likely shed light for others that have to do the same.
The country has recruited more than 900 custom officers and upgraded technology for customs in preparation for the additional needs to process cargo from the U.K. in the new year, van 't Veld said.
The nation has established what it calls the "Dutch approach" between ports, customs and terminals to process the flow of goods to and from the U.K., with as little disturbance as possible to operations. The joint approach calls for shippers to complete their declaration paperwork digitally before they arrive to the port.
The Port of Rotterdam is preparing to need roughly 250 parking spots for trucks that don’t have their applications complete, based on computer simulations, starting Monday, Jan. 4 — the first day of regular business in 2021.
Brexit coordinator van 't Veld said customs will broadcast to companies that they have to get prepared for filling out declarations for 2021.
"If you don’t have your paperwork ready, there is no transport … it’s not an easy message, but it has to be a clear message," he said.