The new European Customs regulations for household goods explained

From 1 May, 2016 the regulations for the customs clearance of Transfer of Residence (ToR) goods into Europe will change. In this article EUROMOVERS International, global network of moving companies specialising in looking after transferring executives, explains in what way they will change and how that change will affect transferees.

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Photo: Thomas Juchum, General Manager, EUROMOVERS International

Until now the customs clearance of household goods as part of a ToR, such as a corporate relocation, was very simple.  Goods for multiple countries could be shipped in the same containers and all be cleared in the country in which the container first landed.  The individual consignments could then be distributed freely throughout the European Union.  Because the customs clearance process in the UK is very straight forward, shippers used the UK ports out of choice thereby fueling an efficient and cost-effective cross-Channel distribution industry keeping costs low and transit times short.

However, Article 123 of EC Regulation 1186/2009 comes into force on 1 May, 2016.  This requires goods to be cleared in the country in which they are to be used.  A consolidated container, such as described above, therefore, will require the clearance of each consignment separately in its destination country. 

The effect of the legislation will be to make the process much fairer for European moving companies because shipments are likely to be more often shipped direct than via the UK.   However it will significantly increase the costs as goods will have to be transported under bond and warehoused at destination awaiting clearance, and deliveries will take longer.

“We are asking our international partners to make sure transferees know about the new regulations and are prepared to wait a little longer for their household goods to arrive,” said Thomas Juchum, General Manager of EUROMOVERS International based in Luxemburg.  “We will be doing all we can to ensure that goods travel as smoothly as possible through Europe’s borders but there will inevitably be some delays under the new system.”

There is also a likelihood of more transferees choosing to ship their goods LCL (Less than Container Load) from origin direct to their final destination in the hope of reducing delays.  “If customers choose the ship smaller consignments as LCL cargo they will pay a little more for case packing and shipping but our local members will be able to handle the clearance locally for them,” explained Thomas.

There is always the chance that some corporations might make the decision that the additional costs involved make the shipping of ToR goods uneconomic especially for short-term assignments.

EUROMOVERS International has a total of 58 member companies in 35 countries as far apart as Australia, China, Europe and the USA.