The EU/UK Customs challenge – Metro guide to assist in avoiding delays to European movements

Since the 1st January we have been working with new post-Brexit transition border processes, that have resulted in delays (though not at the ports) and increased time preparing paperwork which, while it has been problematic, can be resolved if the correct processes are followed.

Our primary objective over the last few weeks has been getting our customers’ cargo transported to where it needs to be, as quickly as possible, and to deal with any short-term issues that might be obstructing that. 

This is being completed in a  fully compliant way to ensure that there will be no retrospective issues with HMRC. Attention to detail, coupled with sense of urgency – as two of Metros primarily rules of business – has ensured that we have and continue to deliver a market leading solution in the new world apart from the BLOC.

That initial period of firefighting must now end and we need to ensure that our customers and supply chain partners understand what is required in this new environment, so we can help them avoid unnecessary costs, complications and delays in their European trade. 

We want to deliver consistent and reliable services ensuring that border controls do not delay customers products. This has been widely reported in the mainstream press and coupled with the additional administration and customs processes, quite simply there are not enough individual customs brokers in the UK to cope with the volume of customs submissions. 

Metro have massively invested in new personnel, off-shored data input elements to our BPO operations, developed a software platform – CuDoS – for automation of the customs process and restricted acceptance of new clients into our brokerage and customs business unit. 

We are well positioned and delivering a solution which is market leading in the current environment and this will continue to improve over coming weeks and months.

UK ports are designated by HMRC as ‘non-inventory’, ‘inventory’ or ‘hybrid’ which dictates which type of customs clearance will apply to imports moving through those ports: Pre-lodgment, full declaration or a blend of both of these options.

It is critical that we know the port of arrival in advance and that ferry operators correctly manifest the cargo, to avoid issues on arrival. Communication with the haulier is critical, as the actions they take before departure has profound impact on everything that follows.

To amplify and explain these important issues in more detail you can download our guide on the new process for clearing imports into the UK from the EU, which provides clear advice on what we have encountered in January and need to avoid going forward. 

We recommend that you please read this document and distribute to all stakeholders internally to ensure we continue to improve the efficiency and consistency of the customs submissions and process at UK ports that we organise.

To ensure that your customs clearances are always correct, simple and compliant, we have prepared two reference documents: Checklist, so you don’t miss anything critical;  and a clearance instructions template, so you pass on critical instructions; that you can download to use as your customs clearance guide.


Metro – Imports to the UK

Import Customs Clearance Instructions

Import Customs Clearance Instructions – Form