What can I do to help minimise any shipping delays to European customers?
If you haven't already, contact your distributor to learn what plans they have in place to overcome delays at ports and points of entry into the EU. Ask them to send you regular updates. Check your distributor has all the necessary EU shipping and customs information for your products to continue supply to EU customers, like the country of printing origin for all your books.
It is vital to apply for an EORI number, or check if your company has been auto-enrolled and been sent it already. An EORI is like having an EU VAT number, and it only takes ten minutes to apply and secure one. Without it, your books won't be able to leave the UK.
There could be real issues around consolidated orders being held up by one order that doesn't have with the right information and paperwork for EU customs. It is worth checking with distributors if they will make sure that each order or element of every shipment complies with EU customs and shipping requirements.
To avoid this, consider no-consolidation instructions for large or urgent orders. Also consider exploring the viability of weekly consolidated shipments with your distributor, to mitigate customs costs for some customers. Current just-in-time ordering practices could increase the costs of customs clearance.
If you undertake deliveries yourself, consider opening up discussions with a reputable UK-based customs broker that understands EU flows, including the consolidations of books.
If you want to continue to sell on a DDP basis, ensure that you have EORI and EU VAT registration for where you are delivering to. Otherwise, look to effect an Incoterm change to DAP. This is critical or you will get customs delays.
Ensure that the Port compliance envelope at Calais has been complied with so that your import / export entry is linked to the truck. If your goods are moving under CTC Transit documentation, ensure that at destination the transit document is discharged. If in doubt, speak to your customs broker. Map out the flows to ensure everyone in the chain understands what their role will be.
What should I do about HMRC TSP numbers?
Some publishers have received a letter from HMRC to notify them of their unique Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) number. This to ease imports over the next 12 months if we leave the EU without a deal. This will make customs easier for an initial period of one year, and allow businesses time to prepare for future import processes.
Once businesses are registered for TSP, they will be able to transport goods from the EU into the UK without having to make a full customs declaration at the border, and will be able to postpone paying any import duties. The new procedures reduce the amount of information importers need to give in an import declaration when the goods are crossing the border, by deferring full declarations until after the goods have crossed the border. If tariffs apply to imports businesses with TSP registration can defer paying any import duties by setting up a direct debit.