All Vetus engine and boat equipment products are shipped from our central warehouse in the Netherlands.

Since the UK left the EU on 31 Dec 2020, these shipments must be treated as exports when sent from Holland and treated as imports when arriving at the UK border.

The process of importing goods may not be familiar to you, so we have put together some guidance below.

Customs clearance

  • We will invoice your order without VAT, but we need to have a record of your VAT number.
  • If you have not already done so, you will also need to apply for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This application is very quick and simple and the relevant page on the government website can be found here.
  • Please inform us of both your VAT and EORI numbers at the time of order. We need these to complete the export documentation.
  • Vetus will take care of the cost and process of completing the export documentation.
  • When your order arrives at the UK border, it will need to be cleared through customs for which there is a charge, and both VAT and any duties paid. Our freight forwarder can take care of this process for you.
  • For smaller shipments sent by DHL, the forwarder will simply complete the import documentation on your behalf and proceed to deliver the shipment. The DHL tariff of charges for this can be found here. The minimum charge is normally £11.00, and you will be invoiced by DHL for this plus the VAT due on the invoice value and any duties.
  • Pallet shipments are sent with Mainfreight. Single pallets are usually subcontracted by them on arrival to their UK groupage partner – Davies Turner Plc.
  • The Mainfreight tariff can be viewed here and the Davies Turner tariff viewed here.
  • The pallet forwarder will contact you usually by email and invite you to authorize them to clear the shipment.
  • Please respond to this invitation immediately, as delays of more than 3 days will start to incur storage charges.
  • Currently there are severe bottlenecks at the freight hubs in the UK. This is mainly due to the number of consignees who are not responding, meaning that their shipment cannot be cleared. Therefore, please help the forwarder to get your shipment delivered.
  • If your shipment is still taking a long time to be delivered even after responding, please do not contact Mainfreight or Davies Turner direct. This also creates delays while they deal with such queries. Ask us at Vetus and we will try to progress the shipment from our side.
  • You are also free to nominate any other customs clearance agent to clear the shipment on your behalf, although please note that the forwarder may still make a charge to send the documentation to them.
  • Customs clearance charges are based on the number of different HS tariff codes on the invoice. Most clearance agents include 3-5 codes in their standard rate and will charge a small extra amount for each additional code.

VAT and Duties

  • VAT and duties are payable by the receiver on import.
  • For this reason, we will not normally send goods to a third party on your behalf.
  • If you intend to import on a regular basis, you may want to set up a Duty Deferment Account (DDA). This enables all VAT and duties to be paid to HMRC once a month on direct debit. The application page for a DDA can be found here.
  • Import duties are payable on certain goods depending on the Country of Origin (COO). This is defined as where the product was originally made or where the greatest part of it originated from, not the country where it was shipped from.
  • Although we will ship your order from the EU and there is a free trade agreement with the EU, it is still the Country of Origin which determines whether duties are payable or not.
  • Hopefully, as the UK negotiates free trade agreements with more countries around the world, the number of goods on which duties will be payable will diminish.
  • The current list of counties which have trade agreements with the UK can be seen here

You may consider that none of this is your problem and that Vetus should take care of it all. However, as the exporter we are not legally allowed to do this, nor do we have any control over the charges.

The receiver of the goods is the legal importer and with the help of the customs clearance agent, is responsible for payment of all charges, VAT, and duties. This is an unfortunate side effect of Brexit now that the UK is a third country when it comes to movement of goods.

Please do not be put off by all the above. In practice the process is quite straight forward and as everyone becomes more familiar with it, the procedures will become smoother and smoother.

These notes are not intended to be a definitive guide to importing. There is extensive guidance on the government website, but we hope that they will give a quick overview.

Finally, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us!

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