With less than a month until the end of the Brexit transition period we would like to reassure you that Bowker will continue to provide you information and support wherever possible.

Please read the latest update below.

1. Authorised Economic Operator Status (AEO)
We’ve upgraded our AEO Status which now includes ‘customs’

Bowker’s AEO status had previously been for ‘Safety and Security’ in the Supply Chain. In preparation for the new border arrangement, we submitted our application to add ‘Customs’ to our AEO status. This application has been approved by HMRC.

What does this mean for you?

This upgraded status will speed up the customs process as we will be subject to fewer physical and document checks. Bowker will also now be given priority if we were selected at any border controls.

Utilising our dedicated customs team, Bowker can now undertake customs clearance ‘inhouse’ with a direct link into the UK CHIEF system.

What does your business need to do next?

If you haven’t done so already and you would like Bowker to look after your customs clearance for either Imports or Exports, please request the direct authorisation letter.

2. Commercial Invoices

For some time now, we have been advising customers to provide Bowker with a commercial invoice at the time of booking international transport jobs. Please note the invoices must include the following:

  • Clear cargo description
  • Relevant commodity code(s) (HS-code of the goods)
  • Consignee/Importer (with EORI number)
  • Consignor/Export (with EORI number)
  • Country of origin of the goods
  • Delivery address (if different then consignee/importer)
  • Invoice number
  • Invoice date
  • Net & gross weight of the goods
  • Number & types of packing
  • Incoterms of the sale
  • Value and currency prefix (EUR, USD, GBP etc.)

We thank you for your assistance and reassure you that we will keep monitoring the Brexit situation closely and make sure you are informed and ready.

Contact Bowker’s International Team if you have any questions or require any advice.

Peter Oesterby Hansen
01772 647242

Phil Peacham
01482 717040

Please remember to check the latest government guidance for the latest updates www.gov.uk/transition.

24.08.2020 - Latest update on BREXIT

When this transition period ends on 31st December 2020, the existing EU trade rules will no longer apply to Great Britain and new trade rules including customs formalities will be introduced.

The UK Government has indicated that these new rules will be introduced gradually in a “Three-phase strategy”, which is a plan for the first six months of 2021.

Phase 1 - 1st January 2021

All exports from the UK will be subject to customs clearance formalities when leaving the UK and also when entering the EU. Traders Importing standard goods (clothes to Electronics) will have up to six months to complete customs declarations and pay any Import duty.

Phase 2 – 1st April 2021

Traders importing Products of Animal origin (POAO) from the EU (for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products) and/or all regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification and relevant health documentation.

Phase 3 – 1st July 2021

Traders importing all goods from the EU will have to make full declarations and pay tariffs at the point of importation. Full Safety and Security declarations will be introduced, while for certain commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: Including checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.

Bowker will continue with BREXIT preparations and we will make sure we are ready. Experience tells us that the BREXIT outcome could change again as negotiations continue between UK & EU over the coming months. We will keep monitoring the situation closely and make sure we are informed and ready.

New UK Global Tariff published - applicable from 1st Jan 2021

The UK has formally left the EU on the 31st January 2020 with a withdrawal deal. The UK is now in a transition period until 31st December 2020 during this period, the UK’s trading relationship remains the same whilst the UK and EU27 negotiate a trade deal which will shape the future trading arrangements from 1st January 2021. We strongly recommend that you continue to prepare for the possibilities that border checks and customs formalities comeback into effect at the end of the transition period. This includes ensuing your Company has an EORI Number, you know the commodity codes of your products, the incoterms under which the products are either sold or bought, and have appointed a Customs Agent to act upon your behalf. We would be delighted to assist and please do not hesitate getting in touch with our International Team

Concerned about the effect Brexit will have on your European distribution?

Bowker have been a major provider of International transport since 1961 meaning our International experience pre-dates Britain’s membership of the European Union (1973).


We have created a simple five-step guide to explain how your distribution may be effected by Brexit. You will be reassured, the process will remain very similar to current processes, replicating how jobs are booked and delivered currently to non-European counties. We hope you find the guide useful but if you do have any queries or specific questions about your business, please contact our International team.

Your company sends the order details to Bowker. This can be received via email/EDI/telephone. We require the country of origin, destination, product type, quantities and desired delivery dates.
You will need to provide Bowker with a commercial invoice which describes the goods you are exporting. This includes their value and commodity codes (even if the goods are 0 rated). We will also require your company’s EORI number (European Economic Operator Registration  and Identification number). If you don’t have one of these, you can apply for one from the HMRC.
Pre-clearance can then be made and the order can be prepared for shipping. Customs will view the invoice and charge customs clearance to clear your goods in the exporting country. The VAT registration number for the company you are shipping to is required. Currently for goods entering the UK from a NONE EU country VAT has to be paid on arrival in the UK  for customs clearance or  a  VAT deferment account used. If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the government will introduce postponed accounting for import VAT on goods brought into the UK. This means that UK VAT registered businesses importing goods to the UK will be able to account for import VAT on their VAT return, rather than paying import VAT when the goods arrive at the UK border. This will apply to imports from the EU and non-EU countries. More information can be found here
Goods can then arrive at the UK port / European port. The shipment will be held until it’s cleared – the length of this process will be dictated by what is finalised in the Brexit agreement.
Order ready to be delivered, unless there is an inspection of goods.