Border crossing: United Kingdom and the Netherlands

SIA Vervo received from the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs an explanatory material on crossing the border of the United Kingdom after the accession of Brexit, from 1 January 2021. This time, the Dutch ports and the digital system Portbase ( are involved. Like the French Smart Border, this solution for faster traffic flow is based on electronic, predictable, completed and submitted customs formalities.

The process begins with the completion of customs declarations as for any transport of goods involving third countries. These documents must be submitted electronically at port terminals using the Dutch single and transparent port system Portbase. All these conditions are mandatory, because it is allowed to enter and leave the terminal only once the documents have been completed and submitted digitally. Otherwise, you will unfortunately not have access to the terminals.

Here are 5 main steps provided in transparent way to follow when importing or exporting goods to, from or through the UK via Dutch ports.

1. Obtaining an EORI number. It is an international unique identification number for customs purposes. To obtain this, you need to contact your country's customs, as applications may vary from country to country.
2. You have to decide who will take care of the import and export declarations. You can arrange it yourself or by using a forwarder or a customs agent. If you want to sort the declarations yourself, you will need a special software and licenses.
3. Prior submission of customs documents via Portbase is mandatory. This can be done by the importer / exporter, customs agent, freight forwarder or transport company. Important: Carriers will not be granted access to the terminal without prior submission in electronic form.
4. By subscribing to Portbase services, it is possible to digitally notify cargo terminals and even track cargo in real time.
5. Finally, check, check and re-check. Customs documents must be presented and notified to the terminals. Only previously announced cargo will be able to enter and leave. If this is not done, the cargo will stop and be diverted to a temporary parking lot, where it will be possible to contact your client or cargo organizer, as appropriate, to complete the necessary formalities. Therefore, be sure of it before driving through Portbase.

By following all these conditions, you will reduce your stress and that of all parties involved! And time! In addition to this information, SIA Vervo recommends consulting and inquiring about post-Brexit border crossing processes also in your free time, so that you and your cargo are not cought by surprise at border points.