Brexit updates for customers

The UK officially left the European Union on 31st January, 2020. Therefore it is important to be aware of the resulting changes to our processes for collections and deliveries to the EU, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Commercial invoices

With effect from 1st January 2021, UK businesses shipping goods to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will have to provide additional documentation to facilitate the delivery of their goods.

This will mean providing a correctly completed commercial invoice for all consignments destined for NI & ROI, the responsibility for which sits with the sender. Consignments presented without a commercial invoice will not be forwarded for delivery to the intended recipient.

For your convenience, a template for commercial invoices can be downloaded here, and customers are free to use this format for all shipments to NI & ROI from 1st January, 2021. You can also find instructions on how to create an export invoice here: How to create an export invoice.

Customs clearance

At Tuffnells, we have been working in the background to build the team and infrastructure to manage these changes seamlessly in order to minimise the risk of any service disruption to our customers. We have employed additional administration staff to cater for the customs clearance and declaration processes, and we have employed additional warehouse teams to manage our customers' freight destined for NI & ROI in line with customs regulations. In response to the regulatory changes and additional processes, it is necessary for Tuffnells to introduce supplementary charges for customs clearance to both NI & ROI. The charges are imposed by our service partners and are a direct reflection of our own costs for the additional services provided. Supplementary charges are applied to the following services, prices for which will be available from your local Account Manager.

Providing the correct documentation

As these changes come into effect, we appreciate that customers will need time to adjust and that in the opening weeks of 2021 some mistakes may occur. However, it is important that all consignments are presented with the correct commercial invoice every time in order to avoid unnecessary delays. Failure to provide correct documents will render Tuffnells unable to process goods for delivery and will result in consignments being held in our depot facilities. During this time, our colleagues will contact customers to advise what is required in order to move goods on. In light of this, it will be necessary for us to introduce a supplementary charge for the storage of consignments presented without the required paperwork. This charge is a direct reflection of our costs and will come into effect on 1st February 2021, details of which can be obtained from your local Account Manager. Goods will be stored for a maximum of five working days before being returned to the sender. In the event this happens, all consignment costs will be chargeable.

Tax & Duty

The introduction of commercial invoices for consignments to NI & ROI brings with it the need to understand where the responsibility lies for the payment of any applicable taxes and duties. These responsibilities are defined by a series of shipping terms that are then applied to delivery destinations, details of which are as follows:

DAP (Delivered at Place): the seller is responsible for arranging the delivery of goods, ready for unloading at a designated delivery point. The consignee is responsible for the unloading of goods and payment of any local taxes or duties as defined by the destination country.

DDP (Delivered Duties Paid): the seller assumes all responsibility for the transportation of goods until they reach the designated delivery point. The sender is responsible for payment of all local duties and taxes as defined by the destination country. The consignee should have little involvement in the process and should not be liable for charges.

As of 1st January, 2021, all shipments through Tuffnells to private addresses in the Republic of Ireland will be shipped on DDP terms, meaning that the seller/sender of the goods will be responsible for the payment of taxes and duties. Failure to make payment prior to shipment of the goods will result in the consignment being held by Tuffnells and a storage fee will be applied. Shipments to business addresses in the Republic of Ireland can be shipped on DAP terms. However, all shipments to Northern Ireland are advised to be shipped on DDP terms. In the event that taxes and duties are applicable, senders will be contacted directly for payment. For shipments to Northern Ireland, this will be after delivery, however for shipments to the Republic of Ireland, this will be prior to delivery.

For all shipments destined for the rest of the EU and all Rest of World destinations, goods should be shipped on DAP terms with all customs declarations handled directly by the nominated Tuffnells international delivery service partner.

Transit times

The introduction of new procedures for customers preparing consignments for delivery to NI & ROI will undoubtedly add more time to the process. In order to minimise the risk of disruption and transit delays, with effect from 1st January 2021, customers must produce all consignment paperwork including the commercial invoice on the day before collection is required (day zero). This will allow our administration team to process the paperwork for customs clearance in time for onward shipping to the delivery destination. Goods will then be collected and processed through our network on day one and then handed to our delivery service partner on day two for delivery in line with existing transit times. In the event that customers present goods for collection on the same day that consignment data and commercial invoices are produced, a minimum of 24 hrs should be added to the expected transit time at no fault of Tuffnells.

Prohibited items

From 1st January 2021, Tuffnells will no longer be able to accept shipments of food, plant and animal origins destined for the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the EU or the rest of the world. Legislative changes as a result of trade negotiations mean that we are no longer able to process these products through our international network. Please be aware that shipments of this nature received by Tuffnells will be returned to the sender and will not be forwarded on to the delivery address. Help and support for understanding the changes can be found on the links below:
Export or move live animals and animal products to the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021
Importing and exporting plants and plant products from 1 January 2021
Export or move composite food products to the EU or Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021
Due to further regulatory changes from 1st January 2021, Tuffnells will provide bespoke quotes only for shipments destined for the EU (excluding ROI) for shipments that meet the following criteria:

  • Pallet shipments
  • Crate shipments
  • Shipments measuring over 270cm in length
  • Shipments with a length + girth greater than 330cm
  • Items over 50kg actual our volumetric weight

** All wooden packaging and pallets used for exports must meet EU regulations **
All freight tariffs currently in use will be suspended from 1st January 2021, and all quote requests for shipments meeting the above criteria should be sent to, and one of our dedicated international colleagues will provide prices and transit times as appropriate.

TSS - import/export declarations Northern Ireland

In order that Tuffnells are able to use the Government created TSS platform to complete all import/export declarations for shipments to Northern Ireland, our customers must first register on the TSS platform. The process is quick and simple, taking just a minute to complete, and requires basic company information. Customers presenting freight destined for Northern Ireland without first being registered on the TSS platform may experience delays to their consignments at no fault of Tuffnells. Full details can be found using the following link:
Sign up for the Trader Support Service

We have made changes to our Ezeelink for Web system regarding the transport of goods outside mainland UK. The changes related specifically to Brexit are outlined in the manual here.

You can also find the standard Ezeelink for Web manual here.

Please note: Ezeelink for Web is now the only method you should use for booking deliveries with destinations outside of the mainland UK.

While nothing will change until after 31st December 2020, the negotiations will shape the future trading terms between the UK and EU. As it stands there are two likely scenarios under which future UK-EU trade will be conducted and they are as follows:

A Free Trade Agreement (FTA): Details of this are still unknown, but broadly speaking it is expected that tariffs and quotas would not be applied to the majority of goods traded between the UK and EU. However, there could be some exemptions, and as such it is unlikely that an FTA would completely eliminate the need for customs checks, and so additional paperwork and formalities could apply.

WTO Terms: In the event that an FTA cannot be agreed, then the UK and EU will trade on World Trade Organisation terms. Shipments will be subject to customs clearance and inspections, with tariffs being imposed on goods shipped from the UK into EU countries and from EU countries into the UK.

In either case, it is important that our customers are aware of upcoming changes to shipping processes - both to the EU and into Northern Ireland - so that together we can transition into 2021 as seamlessly as possible. In order to help, we have detailed below some key points for consideration, and provided some helpful links that will enable you to register for key components to enable continuation of trade for you and your customers.

Registering for an EORI Number

An Economic Operator and Registration and Identification number (EORI) is a European Union requirement for businesses which import or export goods to and from the European Union. If you don’t currently trade outside of the EU and haven’t already registered for an EORI number, then you will need to do so in order to continue trading with the EU after 31st December 2020. The process is simple and takes ten minutes, and applications can be made through the UK Government website at the below link:

Commercial Invoices

After 31st December, 2020, commercial invoices will be needed for all shipments going to EU countries and Northern Ireland. These are documents which clearly identify the products within the shipment through use of tariff codes, and also accurately declare the full value of the goods for customs purposes. It is the sender’s responsibility to ensure that commercial invoices are provided and completed accurately so that any customs charges that may be applicable can be calculated and charged. Failure to provide commercial invoices or to complete them correctly could lead to delayed clearance through customs and subsequently delayed delivery to the consignee. Advice on correctly completing commercial invoices can be found using the below link.

Tariff Codes

When completing commercial invoices, it is important to use the correct tariff codes to identify the products contained within the shipment. If incorrect tariffs are applied, then it could result in delayed clearance and delivery, and also incorrect customs charges being applied. Advice and information on tariff codes can be found using the below link.

Trader Support Service (TSS)

Specific to shipments into Northern Ireland, the TSS is on hand to advise on how to correctly prepare shipments for delivery into the region. This includes information on how goods will move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, details on how declarations can be completed on the shipper’s behalf and how you can move goods on behalf of others. Please use the link below to find out more.

Tuffnells Parcels Express is continuing to work in the background to ensure that our processes and systems are compliant, so that we can continue supporting our customers with shipments to the EU and into Northern Ireland as we have done for many years. We will update you regularly so that you are informed, up to date and enabled to continue trading into 2021 and beyond. Further information is coming soon regarding our IT services, clearance processes and service offering into the impacted regions, so please keep an eye out for the next Tuffnells update.