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HMRC internal manual

Export Procedures

Pre-shipment control: cut off times

The flow of export traffic, particularly at Roll on/ Roll off (Ro-Ro) ports, tends to be uneven as many vehicles arrive only a short time before the departure of the ship or aircraft. This leads to a build up of work which can cause severe pressure on Border Force offices where documents and/or goods may need to be examined.

Late arrivals and late presentation of documents increase this pressure and can prevent you from making checks as thoroughly as you might with more time available. To minimise these difficulties, port/airport procedures are to give an indication of the cut off times (after which Customs do not need to accept further consignments).

In view of the Department’s policy of speeding up the flow of goods not subject to specific controls and making effective checks on controlled goods, whenever possible the cut off time for non controlled goods should allow for the later arrival of consignments. Typically, for controlled goods, up to an hour would be required. For non controlled goods, the cut off time could be as little as five minutes.

At ports where many lorries are carrying group consignments, it may be necessary to allow only full loads to benefit from the shorter cut off time.