Europe Map with network overlaid

How will Brexit affect the transport of your goods to events in Europe?

If you ever exhibit at events in Europe or plan to do so in the future, you may be wondering how Brexit might affect you.

The straight answer, at the time of writing, is no one is entirely sure.

Hell, at the moment, no one is sure if we really will go through with Brexit at all!

But there are a few things to bear in mind now if you want to prepare for the eventuality, and in this blog, I’ll explain a few things to think about.

NOTE: The information in this blog is, to put it mildly, in a state of flux! Hauliers have received a series of email updates from the Secretary of State for Transport, the Road Haulage Association and the Freight Transport Association. The latest came on 5 March and no doubt more are on their way.

Rather than try to second guess what will happen with Brexit, we’re trying hard to prepare for the worst case scenario to ensure we continue to provide a reliable service to our clients. We will keep this blog updated as and when things become clearer.

If you’re planning to attend events in Europe in future, consider the following questions:

Does your event logistics provider have international experience outside the EU?

If we do leave the single market, it’s likely that, after a transition period, we’ll move to a customs model similar to the arrangements we have with countries outside of the EU.

Companies that already have experience of international events logistics will be well-prepared for the paperwork and administrative processes involved.

We’ve taken our clients’ goods to venues in China, South America and Africa since we launched the company five years ago and it’s fair to say we’ve filled in our fair share of import/export documents!

In fact, many of our clients really value the fact we take all the admin of international transport off their hands.

With all the signs suggesting this bureaucracy will be extended to transport within Europe, we anticipate taking on a lot more of this burden. And we’re happy to do so.

Have I allowed for sufficient time and money?

We’ll do all we can to smooth the process of transporting your goods throughout Europe, keep costs down and minimise any delays, including completing the paperwork and making sure we have the relevant permits in place.

But for the initial period at least, I would suggest allowing extra time for customs clearance and some contingency budget to cover any additional costs.

Have I applied for my Economic Operator Registration and Identification number?

An Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number is needed to trade goods in Europe and you’ll need one to exhibit in Europe in future.

Your EORI will normally be based on your VAT number and will follow this format: GB Your VAT Number 0000

If your VAT number is 133807392 your EORI is likely to be GB1338073920000.

But don’t assume. Use the EORI Validator to check.

If you need to apply for an EORI visit the UK Government’s EORI website.

Tell us your EORI number when you book your delivery with us and we’ll make sure it goes onto the paperwork. Alternatively, tell us as soon as you get it and we’ll put it on your record.

Does your event logistics provider have an ECMT permit?

All haulage companies need a European Operators Licence to operate their vehicles in Europe.

Without this licence, a company will not be able to apply for the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit. This permit may be required to provide trouble-free event logistics services in Europe if we leave the EU without a deal.
Update The latest update from the Department for Transport (5 March 2019) tells us the ECMT will not be immediately necessary for EU transportation:

“The EU is close to agreeing a new law meaning UK operators will be able to carry out road haulage to EU member states until 31 December 2019.  The new rules are set to be approved by the European Parliament in the week commencing 11 March and by Member States the following week. This will allow you to make most journeys without a permit.


“The proposed EU law will, however, not allow permit-free access to non-EU countries. You will require an ECMT permit to transit EU member states to third countries, such as Switzerland or Turkey.”

Given this restriction and the uncertainty of what will happen after 31 December 2019, we believe there is a benefit to clients in their event logistics applying for an ECMT.


Fortunately, we’re ahead of the game here at BBEL. We hold a Domestic and European Operators Licence, which means we can operate and hire our own vehicles throughout the UK and Europe. I have a personal Certificate of Professional Competence in event logistics and our application for an ECMT permit is progressing well.

So, if you need a reliable partner for your events logistics work in Europe, please get in touch.

No one is better placed to help.




Image (c) Pixabay | TheAndrasBarta