What happens to EU shipments after 31 January? ‘Keep calm and carry on,’ says ParcelHero

The international delivery expert ParcelHero says the Government’s £100 million Brexit information campaign was largely about a no-deal Brexit; and shippers have been left in the dark about what happens during and after the new transition period.

11pm, Friday 31 January, will go down in history as the moment the UK officially left the EU. But the international courier services expert ParcelHero says the Government’s Brexit web site, which it spent £100m on promoting last year, now contains virtually no information for exporters, importers and people planning to send a parcel to the EU after the 31st.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says: ‘The Government’s ill-fated £100m advertising campaign concentrated on what exporters, couriers and everyone wishing to send items to the EU should do in the event of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October last year. However, last-minute negotiations meant that did not, of course, happen. With a hard Brexit at least shelved until the end of the year, companies and individuals should be aware almost all of the no-deal advice they had been reading does not apply.’

Explains David: ‘After 31 January, instead of launching into a new regime of Customs’ invoices and tariff codes, there will be no immediate changes. Businesses and individuals will carry on sending items and receiving them from the EU just as they do today. A year-long transition period will follow until December 2020. We are keeping our essential international courier services guide constantly updated to cover all changes in regulations and prices.

‘During this period the procedures for exporting and importing goods and parcels stays broadly the same as now. The Government’s site has virtually no information on what happens after 2020, either; because only the bare bones of the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU have been agreed upon. It simply urges exporters to obtain an EORI number: advice we issued back in 2017. The exact conditions and regulations under which we will continue to trade with the EU will only be thrashed out during the course of the year. So, to be clear, there will be no new Customs’ checks, paperwork or tariffs on 1 February, for either businesses exporting goods or individuals wishing to send a parcel. It’s very much a case of “Keep calm and carry on,” for now.’

And David says the same also applies to importers and anyone waiting for a parcel from the EU: ‘Importers and online shoppers ordering items from the EU won’t pay any tariffs or duties on items sent from the EU this year, though again the situation is still very unclear beyond 2020.’

In conclusion, David says: ‘The Government wants “zero tariffs and zero quotas”, but whether it can successfully negotiate this has yet to be determined. With the possibility that UK manufacturing and packaging regulations could diverge from EU regulations – perhaps returning to misguided plans for a new UKCA CE-safety mark replacement – all international shippers can do is hold their breath. But for now, at least, things remain unchanged.’