Get Tools and Information in our Coronavirus Webportal>>
The Brexit agreement was finalized and signed on 30 December. The new EU-UK trade and cooperation agreement came into effect on 1 January 2021 with big changes. What does it mean for temperature-controlled logistics?
One of the key points of the new free trade agreement is that there are no tariffs on goods or quotas of goods that can be traded between the EU countries and the UK, provided that all necessary ‘rules of origin’ requirements are fulfilled. To facilitate compliance and lighten the administrative burden, the Agreement allows traders to self-certify the origin of goods and provides for ‘full cumulation’ (meaning traders can account not only for the originating materials used, but also if processing took place in the UK or EU).
As the UK has now left the Customs Union, custom checks and controls apply at borders, such as safety checks and customs declarations. Paperwork will need to be duly filled in time in order to avoid delays. This is valid for all UK exports entering EU countries, whereby agri-food consignments have to have health certificates and undergo sanitary and phytosanitary controls at Member States’ border inspection posts to ensure compliance of entering food products with EU’s highest safety standards. For instance, certain UK animal food products like uncooked processed meats cannot enter the EU unless they are frozen to -18°C.
During the past GCCA European Cold Chain E-Conference, broadcast last November, a panel of GCCA members from the Netherlands, UK and France explained what initiatives and actions have been taken in their ports to be ready for Brexit. GCCA members can view their presentations here.
On road transport, the agreement includes provisions to ensure fair competition between EU and UK operators, and the safeguard of drivers' rights and transport safety, as well as environmental protection. EU and UK hauliers will be able to carry cargo to and from any point of the other party’s territory, provided they meet agreed high standards on safety and working conditions. They will also be able to perform two extra operations within the other party’s territory (of which maximum 1 cabotage operation for UK hauliers), thus limiting the risk of having to travel back without a load. The Agreement also provides for full transit rights (e.g. the right for Irish hauliers to cross the UK to reach the rest of the EU).
Northern Ireland is enjoying an exceptional status as the UK and EU have agreed to keep an invisible border with no checkpoints between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (remaining in the EU). Nevertheless, perishable products such as fish, meat and eggs arriving into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK (England, Scotland and Wales) will need to be checked for compliance with EU food safety standards. In order to reduce any potential disruption, retailers have been granted a "grace period" of three months, during which the rules will not be enforced on the food stuff brought into Northern Ireland. A longer grace period of six months is applied on certain meat products.
Mutual recognition of professional qualifications is no longer valid; workers need to check each country's rules to make sure their qualification is still recognised.
On data protection, the UK is no longer obliged to comply with EU standards of data protection, but data will continue to be exchanged in the same way for at least four months as long as the UK doesn't change its data protection rules.
With regard to general travel, there will be additional border checks. EU citizens will need a passport to enter the UK as of 1st October 2021. Similarly, UK citizens traveling to an EU country will need a valid passport.