Customs filing

Counting down to Brexit: laying out your customs solution options

It's really inevitable now: as from January 1st, customs formalities will apply to all goods shipped to and from the UK. For EU and UK companies looking to automate customs declarations, we have developed a Brexit-solution portfolio which suits every company’s needs; for both experienced and new international traders. Don’t look further: get Brexit-ready now with an AEB solution.

Three ways to get your goods through customs 

There are multiple options to get goods through UK-customs after Brexit. Which option is best for your company depends on many factors, such as the type of goods you will ship and the number of export or import shipments. Other factors with a strong impact on the best choice for your business include cost, experience, knowledge and availability of time and resources.

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Self-filing with customs software

All you need is an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number and AEB's web-based customs software for filing import and export declarations.

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Handover to a freight forwarder

Let your global freight forwarder take care of customs clearance for your shipments. In fact, many freight tariffs already include an optional mark-up for customs services.

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Handover to a customs broker

Managing customs clearance formalities for traders is the core business of customs brokers. They will manage this professionally and with priority.

Automated customs declarations for every exporter in the EU and the UK

Taking care of customs declarations yourself has many benefits, but there are a couple of things you need to have in place. A company that wants to do business across the border first needs an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration & Identification). In addition, companies must register with the local customs authorities and submit an application (Application for Registration of Electronic Message Traffic). This is required if you want to submit customs declaration digitally. A customs software package will also need to be purchased. Depending on the type of customs process support you need, selecting and implementing the correct customs software can take time, but there is not much time left until the transition period ends. A standard customs solution and standard integration with existing IT-systems could be the answer to shorter implementation timeframes. Customizations in these areas often result in longer development and implementation tracks. If both integration and customization are not required, the quickest option out there today to start filing customs are web-based customs solutions which can be on-boarded within 24 hours after signing up.

For EU traders doing business with the UK

Would you like a flexible system that allows central handling of customs declarations for your exports to the one or several countries. With our Export Filing and Import Filing solutions, you can transmit your data seamlessly to the customs authorities in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and many other EU-countries. Besides that, it is possible to extend this central application for processing customs declarations via customs brokers.

Find out more about AEB's all-in-one international customs platform

For UK traders exporting to the EU


AEB’s software solution for UK exports lets you automate and control your entire customs processing. The degree of automation is completely customizable and still allows for manual checks. Integration with your IT environment is available through our state-of-the-art API’s and ready-to-use plugins for SAP.

Find out more about AEB's Export Filing: CHIEF

For exporters whom are new to customs formalities: The Easy Mode 

Customs can sometimes get complicated, but our ‘Easy Mode’ will guide you through the declaration process and prefills forms, where possible. Perfect for companies sending goods via a roll-on roll-off (RoRo) transport route and don’t require integration with their other IT-systems.

Solving short term and long-term customs requirements

There is not much time left; if you don’t want your goods to get stuck at customs on January 1, you only have 2 months left to get a solution in place. Two other options can also be considered: outsourcing to a customs agent or outsourcing to a logistics service provider. In both cases, the company still has to apply for an EORI number, but it no longer needs to invest in customs software and customs specialists.

Outsourcing is not such a bad idea, especially in early 2021. In late September, the UK government published a document in which they warned of problems at the border. In the worst-case scenario, 40 to 70 per cent of the lorries leaving the UK for the EU will not have the correct paperwork. For companies that have outsourced customs declarations the logistics service provider or customs agent will be responsible for ensuring all paperwork is in order, even when customs procedures change.

Customs brokers are experts in customs formalities and know all about special goods procedures, whereas logistics service provider’s offering customs services have limited customs knowledge.

Check with your existing logistics service provider on their other services offerings. Chances are they also offer customs services which could be the easiest and quickest solution. Having one external partner handling logistics and customs also simplifies everything, from data-exchange to invoicing, and minimizes chances of disruptions

Oursourcing customs comes with a price though. Premiums for customs expertise and extra/add-on services such as customs filing can be steep. Therefore, whether outsourcing is a temporary solution or not, close monitoring of supply chain cost developments after Brexit is important. Plan a financial review in early 2021 and ask yourselves if changing customs filing strategy, for example from outsourcing to insourcing, will be a more cost-efficient choice for your company’ in the long-term.

Handover customs to an intermediary: AEB’s customs broker network

Rely on our carefully selected customs brokers in the United Kingdom, Ireland, many EU-countries and other global export markets. Customs experts will take care of your import and export declarations, so you can focus on other priorities in daily business. Through the AEB network of brokers, you get access to exclusive, competitive broker fees. And for an extra level of efficiency, AEB’s custom broker integration solution can also facilitate collaboration and automate data exchange.