Series 6 Back to Brexit Basics - The Common Transit procedure

Jul 03, 2018

Series five looked at how customs procedures could be simplified in instances where traders obtain Authorise Economic Operators or AEO status.  This time we look at Common Transit procedures which simplify customs procedures when goods move through a number of countries to reach their final destination.

Common Transit

Common Transit is an EU customs procedure that allows goods to move between the EU and common transit countries or between the common transit countries themselves with duty being paid in the country of final destination. 

This procedure facilitates the movement of goods by temporarily suspending duties and other charges on imported goods until they reach their final destination. Common Transit may therefore be useful for road freight that transits from Ireland through the UK to mainland EU or from the UK through the EU to Asia for example. The Common Transit Convention does not not deal with regulatory checks – such as sanitary checks on agri-food products. Nor does it deal with the ability for road hauliers to operate in the UK,

The common transit countries are Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein (the EFTA countries), Turkey, Macedonia and Serbia.

Each member state and common transit country has designated customs offices.  Import charges on goods that move under the common transit convention are suspended and collected at the customs office of destination in the member state and not at the external frontier.  This means multiple customs charges do not arise.

UK to become a party to the convention
The UK announced on 17 December 2018 that it will become a party to the Common Transit Convention in its own right regardless of what Brexit deal is reached. Read the statement. The Institute welcomed this announcement and you can read our press release here

The administration
In order to avail of the benefits of the common transit area, declarations under the common transit system must be made electronically at the place of departure, using the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) which is used by all common transit countries.

A Transit Accompanying Document known as a TAD must accompany the goods during transit and be presented along with the goods at an office of transit or at the office of destination. The movement of goods under common transit ends when the goods and the TAD are presented at the approved office of destination. 

In addition to the Common Transit procedure, there are two other transit procedures:

1. Union Transit, where the transit operation only covers the movement of goods within Union (EU) territory (and Andorra and San Marino).

2. TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers) where the movement includes movement over Union territory and one or more third countries which are party to the TIR Convention 1975.

More information can be found in the European Commission’s Transit Manual.