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In this page: Customs procedures for export in the United Kingdom | Organize a transportation of goods to and from the United Kingdom

The information in this section is subject to change and regular updating during the UK's post-Brexit transition period. We will publish the updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Customs procedures for export in the United Kingdom

Customs Procedures


There are:

Export Taxes
From 1 January 2021, the exporter can charge customers VAT at 0% (known as 'zero rate') on most goods you export to the EU. For more information, click here.
Export Clearance

For goods exported to non-EU countries, customs procedures generally require the following steps: the exporter needs to obtain an EORI number issued by the UK, as well as making sure if the goods are subject to export licence/certificate or to specific controls. An export declaration must be made on the Customs Handling of Imports and Exports Freight (CHIEF); in order to do so, exporters must register for National Export System (NES) and apply for a CHIEF badge. The exporter or his representative must submit an export declaration, which shall include: customs procedure code; commodity code; the declaration’s unique consignment reference which is the main reference number that links declarations; departure point and destination; consignee and consignor; type, amount and packaging of the goods; transport methods and costs; currencies and valuation methods; certificates and licences. Transport documentation may include: an export cargo shipping instruction; a standard shipping note; documentary evidence (provided by the carrier) that the goods have been received (e.g. a bill of lading or a waybill); a CIM Consignment Note, giving details of the goods being transported; proof of insurance, when needed. The exporter must also check whether any special documentation is required overseas to satisfy local regulations (i.e. certificate of origin, standards compliance certificate, etc.). For VAT purposes, exports of goods are usually zero-rated.


Since the United Kingdom has officially left the European Single Market and the Customs Union starting from 1 January 2021, new rules apply to UK-EU trade. Such rules are similar to those that apply to exports towards non-EU countries (EORI number, CHIEF registration, export declaration submitted electronically to the NES, etc.), although certain procedures will be simplified under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (e.g. to recognise each other’s programmes for trusted traders - “Authorised Economic Operators”). For further details please consult the dedicated section on the UK Government Platform as well as the European Commission's information pages Brexit – End of the Transition Period including sectorial guidance notices for different sectors. For guidance on moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland, click here.

Necessary Declaration
The Customs declaration must contain information on the origin of the goods, the Customs tariff and Customs valuation of the goods. For additional information, please visit the UK Customs website.

Controlling the Quality of the Products

Quality Control Organizations

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Organize a transportation of goods to and from the United Kingdom

Main Useful Means of Transport
According to UK Port Freight Statistics of the Department for Transport, an estimated total of 95,600 cargo vessels arrived at UK major ports during 2019, 3% less than the 2018 level. Although, the tonnage handled by UK ports increased by 1% in 2019 compared to the previous year, for a total of 486.1 million tonnes. There are hundreds of ports well-equipped for goods transportation. The top 10 major ports, in terms of the amount of tonnage handled in 2019 are: Grimsby & Immingham (54.1 million tonnes), London (54 million tonnes), Milford Haven (35 million tonnes) and Liverpool (34.3 million tonnes).
The Port Freight Dashboard allows you to further explore trends for individual ports. England, Scotland, and Wales have more than 80 ports as members in the British Ports Association, whose aim is to represent and protect its members from the market turmoil and to integrate international policies.

Roads are dense and effective. United Kingdom is a powerful market for road transport and since the market was liberalized, this sector has undergone strong upheavals. The government, through the Department of Transport, has called on the private sector to finance the creation, financing and construction of new roads, and a toll-system on highways will be the next step.
Domestic road freight activity by Great Britain registered HGVs operating in the UK increased in the last year. There were increases of 6% in the amount of goods lifted, to 1.44 billion tonnes and 4% in the amount of goods moved, to 155 billion ton kilometres.

Various plans of improvement of the railway infrastructure such as the modernization of tracks in West Midlands, a high speed connection between South and North as well as a project joining the East and the West are under study.
In 20 years, rail journeys increased by 89% to reach a record 1.8 billion journeys in 2018/19, but declined to 1.7 billion in 2019/20 (due to the COVID-19 crisis). Rail use has increased faster than any other mode of transport. In 2018, 8.9% of freight moved in Great Britain was by trains, a 0.2 percentage point decrease compared with the previous year. In 2019/20, the total amount of rail freight transported decreased to 16.6 billion net ton kilometres, a 4.6% decrease on 2018/19.
Since December 1994, Great Britain has been connected with the European continent by the Chunnel, exploited by Eurotunnel company and the train Euro star.
For more information see Office of Rail and Road website.

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By Air

Heathrow International Airport
Transport Professionals
British Airways
Government Transport Organisations
Civil Aviation Authority
Department for Transport Aviation and Airports

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By Road

Transport Professionals
Freight Transport Association
Custom Haulage
Government Transport Organisations
UK Department for Transport Road Network and Traffic

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By Rail

Transport Professionals
Euro Star
Government Transport Organisations
Department for Transport High Speed Rail
Department for Transport Rail Network

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Latest Update: April 2024