Brexit: ‘Deal or no deal, we need time to prepare’


In less than 10 weeks, on 29 March, the UK is due to leave the European Union. But there is still great uncertainty over the terms of Brexit and how this will affect the flow of goods across UK borders.

As a pan-European freight forwarder based in Birmingham, International Forwarding Ltd (IFL) was approached by Channel 5 News to give our reaction to last Tuesday’s historic vote in which Parliament voted overwhelmingly against PM Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal.

Rob Pike, IFL’s Managing Director, was interviewed the next morning for 5News. He said there needed to be a gap between any agreed deal and the UK’s departure date: “It all comes down to time and preparation. We need clarity – we need to know what we’re doing, our customers need to know what’s happening and we need the time to prepare.”

And if Brexit were postponed?

“Absolutely, yes, we would prefer that. Any changes are going to take time to implement and at the moment the infrastructure is not in place for them to happen.”

A new vote on an amended deal is set for next Tuesday 29 January. Until we have more certainty over what will happen in March, IFL is doing all it can to ensure our European forwarding services are not disrupted.

At the moment, leaving without a deal means Customs clearances and UK border controls will likely change, perhaps significantly. We are advising importers and exporters to look for Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status when sending goods to and from the EU. This should help smooth the Customs process to some extent if we leave with no deal. (IFL has had AEO accreditation since 2010.)

We also advise affected traders to apply for an EORI number as we anticipate this will be needed for both EU and non-EU exports after any transition period takes place. You can apply direct through the site but do allow time for the number to come through.

Exporters/importers are also recommended to make sure they know the correct HMRC tariff classification number for their goods. Here’s a Trade Tariff tool to help you find the correct commodity code.

To help with customers concerns around Brexit, we have also put together a guide to how we as a freight forwarder are dealing with Brexit – and how you can, too: Brexit and IFL: a guide for freight and logistics customers.

We will continue to update our guide and post any significant Brexit news here on the IFL blog. Please do get in touch if you have any questions.


For further press enquiries or media comment on Brexit, please get in touch with Roy Baker, Director, IFL at

For freight forwarding services and quotes on consignments to the EU, please get in contact to discuss your needs.


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