Brexit: Frequently Asked Questions
We answer your most common questions about Brexit, how it could affect your business and how we can support you.
Network capacity, routes and modes of transport
Our operational team constantly reviews the performance and configuration of our network to ensure we provide customers with the fastest possible transit times and highest level of service. We have looked at all alternative options and routes and we are building our Brexit plans to mitigate against potential impact, which may involve using alternative entry/exit points.
FedEx use multiple airports and ports in the UK and Europe, and this will continue to be the case post Brexit to ensure we can provide the services required by our customers. These can differ from day to day according to the product or service chosen by the customer and they are different based on pickup and delivery address.
Current flight points into/out of the UK are Stansted, East Midlands, Birmingham, Heathrow, Newcastle, Belfast, Edinburgh & Glasgow.
Our road depots and hubs are strategically placed throughout the UK to ensure we meet transit times and service levels for all regions. We operate out of 54 depots in the UK and have hubs in Atherstone, Kingsbury, Lount, Dartford, Preston, Stoke, Milton Keynes and Swindon.
Our combined network and routing options provide added capabilities including air, with flexible capacity to suit demand. We are assessing how best to optimise our routing options against the likely outcomes.
FedEx operate a comprehensive and global network which includes 55,000 road trips and more than 700 flights in Europe every week. We continue to plan to operate our network post Brexit whatever the outcome and will continue to assess the network and our ability to meet transit times.
Today we have thousands of clearance staff around the globe that enable shipments to move across often complex borders and regulatory regimes on a daily basis. With 15 million parcels sent daily on 670 aircraft, 425,000 team members and expert local knowledge on every continent, we have got the scale and infrastructure to handle all of your import and export requirements now and in the future.
FedEx already handle and transport Dangerous Goods through its network in accordance with the relevant ADR and IATA rules and regulations. These are international rules and not solely bonded to the EU, therefore they will stay applicable to the UK after Brexit.
This is still being negotiated between the UK and the EU. If a formal withdrawal treaty is not signed, the UK’s membership of the EU Single Market and the EU Customs Union will cease from April 12*, 2019 at 11pm GMT. This outcome has become known as No Deal.
In this scenario, the free movement of goods across borders between the UK and EU would end. A proposed transition period from March 2019 to December 2020, designed to give businesses additional time to respond to the changes, would not apply. Goods traded between the UK and the EU would be subject to the same requirements as third country goods under the World Trade Organisation rules, including the payment of duty and tax.
Like all businesses we await further updates and details from the UK Government and EU authorities. As Brexit negotiations continue, FedEx is planning to be Brexit ready. Our dedicated cross functional Brexit working group is assessing potential impacts and building plans to ensure we can steer your business through whatever changes might be in store.
For the details on what to expect for a No Deal and what it would mean, please see here (UK Government technical papers on preparing for a No Deal Brexit) or here (European Commission preparedness notices).
This very much depends on what is agreed between the UK and EU authorities, and could be different depending on the outcome of a transition deal, future trade agreement or a No Deal. For the details on what to expect for a No Deal and what it would mean, please see here (UK Government technical papers on preparing for a No Deal Brexit) or here (European Commission preparedness notices).
FedEx have thousands of clearance staff globally that enable millions of goods to move across borders on a daily basis. We are planning our resources and capabilities to be Brexit ready.
An Economic Operator Registration and Identification number (EORI) is a European Union registration and identification number for businesses which undertake the import or export of goods into or out of the EU. Businesses which have previously only traded within the EU will need an EORI number to trade outside the EU and if the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place.
Applications can be made through your country government website. FedEx will need your UK EORI number when making customs declarations on your behalf.
We are aware that HMRC has begun phasing in the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS) to replace the existing Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. We are fully engaged with the CDS team as a key stakeholder and will be ready to migrate to CDS on an agreed timetable. We will keep our customers informed of any changes that may affect them, and in the interim we will continue to support and make declarations to CHIEF.
FedEx currently have bonded warehouse facilities in numerous locations. Any potential changes Brexit may require are still unknown at this stage and we continue to plan to be Brexit ready.
There are currently prohibited goods to and from most countries, generally published on the relevant country government websites. In addition there may be some restrictions depending on the types of goods, quantities, and country, along with specific restrictions for FedEx. Always check on FedEx .com for further information.
FedEx Express has AEO status. This is an internationally recognised quality mark that covers every aspect of international movement of goods and the company who operates the supply chain – from customs compliance and compliance to taxation rules, record keeping, financial solvency, proven standards of competence and compliance as well as safety and security.
Companies who hold AEO status may benefit from consignments being fast-tracked through customs controls, and when customs select AEO consignments for examination or inspection, they receive priority over non-AEOs, making the whole shipping process run more smoothly and efficiently.
Anyone involved in the international supply chain that carries out customs related activities in the EU can apply for AEO status, regardless of the size of their business. AEO is recognised in many countries outside the EU including China, Japan and the USA, and is being actively supported and encouraged by the World Trade Organisation.
If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, the UK Government have advised in their no deal planning notices that they 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 on or soon after the time that the goods arrive at the UK border. This will apply both to imports from the EU and non-EU countries. For the details on what to expect on VAT for businesses if there’s no Brexit deal, please see here.
The UK Government have advised that if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, VAT registered UK businesses will continue to be able to zero-rate sales of goods to EU businesses but will not be required to complete EC (European Commission) sales lists.
As UK VAT registered businesses will not be required to complete an EC sales list, there will be changes as to how these sales are recorded. Those UK businesses exporting goods to EU businesses will need to retain evidence to prove that goods have left the UK, to support the zero-rating of the supply. Most businesses already maintain this type of evidence as part of current processes for exports to non-EU countries. Further changes will be communicated in due course by the UK Government.
If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, then UK businesses will continue to be able to claim refunds of VAT from EU member states but in the future they will need to use the existing processes for non-EU businesses.
UK business will no longer have access to the EU VAT refund system. Reclaiming VAT processes vary across the EU and therefore UK businesses will need to make themselves aware of the processes in the individual countries where they incur costs and want to claim a refund.
No Deal Brexit
The UK is scheduled to leave the EU at 11pm GMT on October 31st 2019*. The UK Government has advised as part of the No Deal planning notices that if a formal withdrawal treaty has not been signed by this point, the UK’s membership of the EU Single Market and the EU Customs Union will cease. Details on what to expect and how to prepare in the event of a No Deal can be found here (UK Government technical papers on preparing for a No Deal Brexit) or here (European Commission preparedness notices)
The UK & EU Authorities have advised in their planning notices that, in the result of a No Deal, UK trade with the EU will be on WTO (World Trade Agreement) terms. Free circulation of goods between the UK and EU would end, so businesses would have to apply the same customs and excise rules as to countries outside the EU. Details on this can be found in the planning notices from the UK Government here and the EU here, which state that businesses would need to provide import or export declarations, revise their International Terms and Conditions of Service to reflect that they are an importer or exporter, and provide an import or export licence for controlled goods. Custom checks may be carried out and VAT import duty and any other duties would be payable. FedEx as carrier of the goods, would have to make entry or exit safety and security declarations.
To ensure that we will continue to provide customers with the best possible service after Brexit, FedEx has set up a cross-functional working group to monitor developments, assess any agreements and to enable us to adapt to any changes in a timely manner.
Whilst no one can predict with certainty what will change, we are planning for all eventualities and will continue to conduct impact assessments across all areas of our business to ensure we can give our customers the very best service no matter where they are shipping from or to.
Businesses are finding Brexit scenario planning a difficult exercise as so much remains unknown. We believe that it is important that we work with our customers to understand the impact on their business, especially in terms of changes to shipping volumes or flows.
Our recommendations for the steps businesses can take now can be split into 4 main areas:
- Preparation before shipping
- If not already done so register and obtain an EORI number in the UK and EU countries you trade with - https://www.gov.uk/eori
- Ensure you understand the requirements for classifying your goods
- Ensure you understand the requirements for a commercial invoice
- Discuss and agree the inco terms with your customers
- FedEx customers should register for ETD or PSDU to submit your commercial invoices electronically. See webpage Electronic Trade Documents or visit our YouTube channel or register for FedEx Global Trade Manager
- Understand what is required at the point of Shipping & Exporting
- Ensure a smooth import process
- Agree and define your importing preferences and operating model (self-clear or 3rd party)
- Ensure local clearance instructions have been shared with your provider
- Please see webpage for more details for FedEx
- Consider receivers
- Understand the implications of Customs Duty on the goods received.
- Understand the implications of Inco terms
- Understand the VAT required on the goods and the UK governments proposal for postponed accounting for VAT
- Understand the charges and mechanisms for paying the duty & VAT
- Set up required authorisations for international trade
Our FedEx Global Trade Manager offers a comprehensive resource for simplifying international shipping for customers of all sizes and levels of experience. As a web-based service it is available 24 hours a day to help you complete your international paperwork requirements. With the free Find International Documents tool, you can locate and print import and export documentation for more than 220 countries. This tool will help facilitate the customer clearance process. The Estimate Duties and Taxes tool lets you enter shipment-specific information and calculate the estimated duties, taxes and other fees that may be levied against your international shipment.
After Brexit, Northern Ireland, as part of the United Kingdom, will no longer be in the European Union. The Irish Republic will continue to be a member of the EU. The UK and the EU continue to talk about the future trading relationship between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic including the so-called back-stop arrangements. However the outcome is unknown at present. Whatever the outcome of these talks, FedEx will continue to support customers with their delivery and logistics needs in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Irish Republic and beyond.
*Correct at time of publishing but subject to change.