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Agence fédérale pour la sécurité de la chaîne alimentaire


Information for foreign companies using Belgian ports/airports for trade of animals, products of animal origin, plants and plant products with Great Britain Version imprimable   |   Dernière mise à jour le 30.06.2022

Import from GB

Since the 1st of January 2021 the procedure and the requirements are the same as those for trade with other non EU-member states (“third countries”).

The European Commission summarised this procedure and these requirements in notices to stakeholders. The updated notices can be found via notices for preparation (NL/EN).

As a European importer, don’t forget to notify your consignment in TRACES-NT at least 24 hours before arrival in the border control post (BCP) of the point of entry in the European Union and make sure that the consignment is accompanied by the right phytosanitary or health certificate that is delivered by GB competent authorities.

If necessary, contact a customs agency that can advise you on the complete handling of the import process (e.g. import control, documents and other formalities) (Customs agencies)

Important remark :
Northern Ireland, on the basis of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, continues to follow the rules of the internal market and therefore continues to be treated as if it were part of a Member State with regard to sanitary and phytosanitary rules.


Export to GB

GB gradually implements new rules for import into GB. Those new rules as well as the timeline for the implementation are announced in the "Border Operating Model".

It’s important that you comply with GB import requirements before your ship your consignments. Make sure that you contact your competent authority beforehand if a phytosanitary or health certificate would be needed for the animals or goods that you want to export to GB, in order to avoid problems in the harbor of exit in the EU or at the border in GB.

Important remarks :

  • Northern Ireland, on the basis of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, continues to be considered as a Member State with regard to sanitary and phytosanitary rules and therefore continues to follow the rules of the internal market.
  • Comply with customs requirements on imports through wider customs escorts and consider engaging an import agent in case you need one. If necessary, contact your importers in the UK and find out what requirements you will need to meet.

See also: Prepare to import goods into GB from January 2021


Freight to and from the Republic of Ireland

Since the 1st of January 2021, Great Britain is no longer be part of the customs union and the internal market of the European Union (see remark with respect of Northern Ireland). This has a significant impact on commercial freight between the Irish Republic and Belgium, passing through the territory of GB (so-called “GB Landbridge”).

Direct sea routes between Irish and Belgian ports are reliable alternatives for the GB Landbridge and are perfectly suited for avoiding red tape and congestion in British ports. Direct sea routes from Dublin to Zeebrugge (roll-on roll-off), from Dublin to Antwerp (containers), from Cork to Zeebrugge (roll-on roll-off) and from Cork to Antwerp (mostly containers) are already frequently used by various operators and others will be deployed soon (e.g. Drogheda-Antwerp).

The Union transit procedure applies to commercial freight between the Irish Republic and Belgium, using the GB Landbridge, for instance when it comes to the shipment of perishable goods, in accordance with the International Common Transit Convention of 1987.

Operators shipping goods from the Irish Republic to Belgium need to use NCTS (New Computerised Transit System) for their transit consignments. Equally, they will be able to use the port community systems, offered by the ports of Antwerp (NxtPort) and Zeebrugge (RX/Seaport).

In terms of customs formalities, transit shipments coming from the Irish Republic via GB, without any modifications to the initial shipment, are treated as Union goods, on which no tariffs, excise duties and VAT will be charged at arrival in Belgium.

In this light, T1- (certificate needed for shipment of non-Union goods) and T2- (certificate needed for shipment of Union goods) goods should not be mixed in one shipment, as this would result in additional red tape relating to non-Union goods crossing European external borders.

As regards sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods, products of plant origin shipped from the Irish Republic to Belgium and passing through GB will not be checked at arrival in Belgium. However, live animals and products of animal origin will be subject to documentary checks at arrival at a Belgian Border Control Post. An identity check (so-called seal check) will take place, if deemed necessary, and consignments will need to be physically checked at the Border Control Post in cases of suspected fraud or irregularity. Operators still have to use TRACES-NT for the shipments of live animals.
Notre mission est de veiller à ce que tous les acteurs de la chaîne fournissent aux consommateurs et les uns aux autres une assurance optimale que les aliments, les animaux, les plantes et les produits qu’ils consomment, utilisent ou détiennent sont fiables, sûrs et protégés, maintenant et à l’avenir.