Portfolio: Logistics puzzle is important in Brexit

Anyone who wants to do business with the United Kingdom can ignore this and the logistics service provider from Rotterdam is PortBase. Without the digitally pre-declared customs document in the so-called portfolio community system, a ship would not be able to enter or leave the country. Portface began preparations for Brexit two years ago. First impression: The Netherlands has its affairs in order, things are difficult on the English side.

Port Base, a joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam and the Port of Amsterdam, is known as the Port Community Organization for all parties in the logistics chains of Dutch ports. In it, companies share data between companies and exchange information with governments. Boss van Amsterdam, corporate affairs manager at Port Base, said the IT and logistics service provider, along with port parties and other chain partners, launched a program two years ago to tackle the effects of Brexit. We already knew that the departure of the UK from the EU would change the situation where a carrier could easily board a boat. There was a role for this Portface is reserved. ‘

At the time, Portbase provided services known as ‘deep-sea’ container transport (overseas), ‘short-sea’ container transport (short-sea shipping or modern coastal shipping) and wholesale terminals (think coal, iron, oil). , But not for boat transport. Von Amsterdam: ‘It’s done through trailers, it’s a different kind of chain, a different kind of transport: trucks.’


“Created our Deep Sea Ship Settlement Map”

To become Brexit-ready, Portfolio had to modify its port information system, including the announcement of import and export documents. Usually, for example, a container number was sufficient, but now trailers with different identification features have been added. It was also necessary to implement changes for software suppliers so that after Brexit their customers could connect to the portbase system via software. Additionally, terminals can connect to the portfolio community via ED (Electronic Data Interchange) or web services.

The first changes were completed in the period October 2018 – March 2019. For example, upload and verify export and import documents yourself and, if necessary, follow them in real time. But with the postponement of Brexit, there was room for logistics improvements such as being able to submit subsequent customs notices and creating livestock load notices suitable for trailers. Von Amsterdam: ‘Created our solution map for deep sea shipping; We have changed this for Dutch ferry ports. We do not worry about the load on our computer. The system runs in the cloud and is scalable. One test shows that it can easily absorb high loads with extra cloud capacity. ‘

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Spider in the web

The spokesperson estimates that about 25 percent of existing digital services (including computers) will need to be converted to portfolio for Brexit. After all, the system is designed for containers. With Brexit, trailers will also come into the picture. Van Amsterdam calls this ‘other equipment’, for example, a different method of import. ‘There should be a shipping number instead of a container number because different types of trailers refer to different equipment IDs such as registration number, trailer number or another ID. I compare this whole operation to the numbers of the banking world, which are embedded in the roots of the banking world and beyond. ‘

Ultimately, the basis of the Dutch Brexit solution is the digital pre-notification of customs documents at the terminals via the portface. All ferry and shortsie terminals make this mandatory. Portbase spokesman von Amsterdam adds: A traffic announcer – an importer, exporter or intermediary – submits a so-called import or export notice to customs. After approval, a pre-notice with information about the booking and the car (trailer) must then be placed in the portfolio.

The data is then sent from the port base system to the terminal (ferry company), and transport can continue to the UK or its route. Based on all this information, portfolio customs expressions (reuse of data) can be drawn up, and with this solution all Dutch ports have a central digital work system for all carriers, shippers and their intermediaries.

Port base and customs changes

Choice of Brexit changes for the portfolio community organization:

  • Notice Export Document and Notice Import Document
  • Development of new service Import status (for real-time monitoring of incoming goods)
  • Creating freight & trace services for freight on trailers shipped via boats
  • Inventory notice of animal origin (only in containers, now available for trailers)
  • Message load import and message load export
  • Inventory tracker in inventory controller
  • Veterinary inspection process
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In addition, there were practical changes in customs that were to be implemented, for example by transport. Note: Northern Ireland is assigned its own country code (XI). Previously, this was not the case in customs law and customs systems because the country was part of the European Union. So this change had to be implemented in all procedures for transportation among others.

I buy

In general, between the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, over fifty million tons go up every year. But von Amsterdam says trade is still not bad in January, the first full month since Brexit. ‘Initially there was at least departure; Slowly it gained momentum. I estimate that we are now seventy percent of normal. ‘

The port base system works best in this regard. Problems occur mainly related to habit. ‘The point is that the whole chain of work is rooted in the way we agree with each other, i.e. whether everyone is doing what they are supposed to do. A large group of shipping exporters and carriers will have to handle not only the new systems, but also the new customs procedures. They have been boating here and here in the UK for over forty years without any formalities. That has changed. ‘

In the early stages of the transformation project, there was contact between Portbase and British Port Community Systems to see if cooperation was possible. But due to the lack of a central system for all ports in the United Kingdom, and a lot more uncertainty, and political discussions in the UK, it was decided to start preparations for the Dutch in the Netherlands. correct time. A wise decision, because the British government (the Department of Transport) began to work on a ‘border operating model’.

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Evidence for pudding


Rail transport is a process similar to a lorry transport to the United Kingdom. Tickets are booked with the train operator. It is mutually agreed who submits the notice before the port base so that the terminal receives the required information in advance. Rail / train terminals: RSD Rotterdam (via neighboring RSC), DMA Amsterdam, CCD Murtijk, P&O boats Rdam and CLdN Rdam

It is now clear from the stories coming in the national media that the logistics changes for Brexit in the UK are confusing. De Volkrant, among others, decided that the British arrangements for Brexit Be as strong as the house of cards. Because customs systems and British ports in various EU countries do not communicate well with each other, for example, in British ports, hundreds of people manually transfer EU export forms every night before ships arrive in the morning.

In addition, British exporters report to EU member states that there is a shortage of customs officers. A ship needs an expensive veterinary report And Brexit brings with it a complex set of rules, permits and procedures – fortunately – in stages.

According to the EvofeneTex Association, problems that arise during transportation can now be resolved on site because the volume of trade is still low. “But we will keep our heart out as the blocks and rules increase,” spokesman De Volkrand said. ‘Then there could be a snowball effect, which would cause serious problems here as well.’

The real ‘proof for pudding’ will continue after July 1: then the trade volume will increase and the cooling period will end. After that, the full terms apply to the British side.

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Ferdinand Woolridge

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