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Introduction - Customs Clearance (Customs Agent / Customs Broker)

We are a customs agent / customs broker for Imports, Exports and Transhipments in the UK and this service is available through our direct computer links with:

Our Customs Clearance Department acts for several well known international organisations, forwarders and shipping lines, offering a discrete and neutral service which can be provided with dedicated telephone lines and points of contact.

Our staff are able to provide comprehensive and accurate advice on customs procedures, commodity codes and preferences. Customs Clearance Vessel Crane Container
Image courtesy of the Port of Felixstowe.

Import Customs Clearance

We fully understand the importance of completing accurate and timely declarations to customs on behalf of our customers.

It is becoming more and more apparent that customs audits can occur as long as 4 years after an import declaration has been made in the UK.

Misdeclarations of import duty or VAT uncovered by an audit will result in customs issuing a demand to the importer for the difference.

We understand that importers can ill afford to be hit by post clearance demands like this and we work with our customers to ensure our declarations are completed correctly first time!

Direct computer links to customs and all major UK ports ensure that customs formalities are finalised within hours of a vessel coming alongside - an absolute must when it comes to the hazardous and explosive cargoes we regularly handle.

In fact, in the case of containerised cargo, modern vessels are so large that our customers’ cargo is often customs cleared before it’s physically discharged from the vessel.

We recognise that quay rent and container demurrage charges levied by shipping lines can be astronomical and our swift customs clearance service helps our customers avoid/minimise these charges that could potentially have a heavy impact on their bottom line. Strangely, speedy customs clearance is not always to our customers’ benefit. As specialists in the fruit and vegetable sector we understand that duty rates change with alarming regularity as the season progresses. Waiting just a few days to submit a customs entry can result in £1000’s saved in import duty.

Crucially, we have a very substantial customs deferment account which guarantees import duty and VAT paid to HMRC on our customers’ behalf. Please contact us for further details.

We also liaise with the numerous goverment departments / agencies / bodies that may want to inspect your cargo on arrival into the UK including Port Health, DEFRA (HMI, PHSI and Forestry Commission), Customs (X-Ray exams and full out turns), Trading Standards and the UK Border Force.

We hope this gives you a flavour of the complexities involved in clearing import cargo correctly. We tailor our customs clearance services to your needs and our knowledge is backed by decades of industry experience.

Examination Facility
Examination facility at the Port of Felixstowe (photo courtesy of the Port of Felixstowe).

Export Customs Clearance (NES – New Export System)

The New Export System was implemented at all UK maritime ports in 2002 and Grange Shipping has been at the forefront making export declarations through this system ever since.

We are contracted by individuals, corporations, forwarders and major shipping lines to complete NES entries on their behalf or on behalf of their customers and we specialise in entries for hazardous and explosive cargoes.

The importance of accurate and timely export entries cannot be underestimated. Failure to complete an export entry in time can result in cargo left on quay unshipped, which can in turn result in unnecessary storage charges and delays.

As members of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers we are able to authenticate correctly completed EUR1 and ATR1 preference certificates. Please contact us for details.

We are also authorised by HMRC to authenticate T2L documents, again, please contact us for further information.

Image courtesy of the Port of Felixstowe.

Transhipments (NCTS – New Computerised Transit System)

We hold substantial guarantees with HMRC for our NCTS (Non Excise) bonds.
Our NCTS guarantee protects the shipment from the immediate payment of duties and VAT at the point of UK entry through to the final clearance point or export from the EU.
Due to the potential liability that can be incurred by an incorrectly declared shipment at its final destination, all transit movements are subject to our prior agreement and may require suitable indemnities.

Port Health

All food items containing animal products and imported into the European Union are subject to Port Health checks. Under EU law they MUST be declared to Port Health no later than 24 hours prior to the cargo being landed otherwise the cargo can, legally, be denied entry to the EU.

We have been involved in the import of foodstuffs for the last 25 years and pride ourselves on our longstanding relationships with food importers.

We are registered on Port Health’s TRACES system to complete CVEDs (Common Veterinary Entry Documents) and use our expert knowledge to guide new and established meat and fish importers through the customs clearance process.

Please see our Frozen Foods page for further details.

We are also experienced in handling imports of organic produce in the UK and liaising with Port Health to ensure the necessary approvals are obtained prior to cargo entering free circulation.


We are specialists in the fruit and vegetable sector and work closely with the HMI (Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate) and PHSI (Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate) departments of DEFRA to ensure the necessary declarations and documents are submitted to them prior to perishable cargo arriving into the UK.

We are registered on the PEACH system to make these declarations which are in turn electronically linked with customs’ CHIEF system through ALVS.

The ALVS (Automatic Licence Verification System) was fully implemented at the start of 2010 and Grange Shipping were involved in meetings with HMRC and DEFRA representatives prior to the implementation date (so we have a unique insight into the system!).

We help fruit and vegetable companies based in the UK, EU and further afield navigate the minefield of DEFRA, Port Health and customs documentation / inspections and have established long lasting relationships with them.

Please see our Fresh Produce page for further details.

We regularly update our News page with the latest information released by HMRC, Port Health and DEFRA in the UK – keep your eyes peeled!