Discover our shortsea services

The run-up to Brexit caused a number of concerns for shippers of goods to and from the UK. Even post-Brexit, you might experience some uncertainties. Our experts can assist you if you have questions about, for example, the new customs regulations or the impact of Brexit on your perishable goods or FMCG cargo. With our expertise we can help you to keep your supply chain as reliable as before.


If you run a business in the EU, you need to monitor the new rules and adapt to the changes. This way you can continue to trade with the UK, now that Brexit is a reality:


Brexit might present itself as a business opportunity to re-evaluate your supply chain. Download our whitepaper and find out how to.



Want to know if you should take the leap?

Just take the test below: if you answer ‘yes’ to three or more questions, you should definitely switch to shortsea transport.


Do you operate time critical 'just-in-time' supply chain?

Do you ship perishable goods or pharmaceuticals?

Do you have warehousing and cash flow to build resilience stock?

Are you concerned about the impact of border friction on your supply chain?

Will delays in your supply chain affect your ability to meet contractual obligations?


Discover all shortsea services to the UK and Ireland from the port of Antwerp.

Discover the advantages of lift-on/lift-off versus roll-on/roll-off transport to the UK & Ireland.

Discover the connections


Belgian Customs & Brexit

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UK Government

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Flanders Investment and Trade (NL)

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Port of Antwerp supply chain brochure

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Port of Antwerp Shortsea offer

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FAQ Customs Belgium on veterinary/phytosanitary

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FAQ Customs Belgium on VAT

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FOD Economie Brexit

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Fevia Brexit (food industry)

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Brexit Call Center of the General Administration Customs & Excises Belgium: +32 2 575 55 55

available from Monday to Friday from 9.00 AM to 4.30 PM



Frequently asked questions


Do you expect that transferring to unaccompanied transport would reduce the shortage of truck drivers in the UK & Europe?
Yes, we can definitely say that this would be the case. Goods shipped unaccompanied through the Port of Antwerp have the distinct advantage to use multimodal transport solutions such as rail, barge and shortsea as well as road. Cargo between Italy and Antwerp for example is almost entirely by rail. We are also aware that a number of ports in the UK are investing in and promoting multimodal transport solutions, although this can vary from port to port.


You can read the advantages of unaccompanied shortsea transport in our white paper available for download at

Who can we contact in case of questions?

Belgian Customs

  • Brexit Callcenter: +32 2 575 55 55 (available from Monday to Friday from 9.00 AM to 4.30 PM)
  • General questions:


FASFC - Federal Agency of the Safety of the Foodchain


UK Government


Do you have ferry or shortsea connection with the UK and Ireland ?
In Antwerp, there are no ferry connections but we have a number of frequent shortsea connections from Antwerp to UK and Ireland. This 'unmanned' mode transport offers shippers secure, reliable and sustainable supply chain options. You can find all info on shortsea connections here.


These only show the fixed container connections, but we also have fixed breakbulk connections. Next to the fixed connections we have also spot/Sub inducement to all the different ports in the UK and Ireland.

What are the existing RORO connections?
We have two weekly RORO services into Tilbury (via Finnlines and via Transfennica). Frequency is once a week.
More info here.
How can we avoid congestion and delays when our goods arrive at the port?
Anticipation and preparation will forcome delays and make sure the import process will run smoothly. Make sure you decided who takes care of customs clereance. Decide who will pick up the cargo at the terminal and that the transport company received the right instructions and made an appointment with the terminal.


Is there an IT system in place to support the exchange of customs documents between the parties?
Export flows
E-desk is the most popular application with about 4000 users from all over Europe. It has been developed in the context of the automated export procedure (Export control system ECS). It is an easy and free web application allowing exporters to notify the terminal operator about upcoming cargo. It facilitates the exchange of information of the EXPORT and tran¬sit declarations (MRN) between the exporter (shipper) and the terminal operator (who then acts as trader at exit). It is available for containers and Ro-Ro shipments.


More information on

Import flows

The Import Consignment API from NxtPort returns the consignment data as it is received in the CUSCAR messages from the Shipping agent. The data of the CUSCAR messages can be re-used by customs brokers to declare import cargo to customs.


More information on


Does Antwerp have procedures to facilitate customs clearance and cargo inspections?
The port authority's trade facilitation policy both actively contributes to organising efficient checks and facilitating international trade.


VAT deferral
Companies importing goods into the EU via the Port of Antwerp benefit from very efficient VAT deferral legislation during import. Pre-financing VAT is no longer necessary in this case, which obviously has a positive impact on cash flow. For more information please consult our Fact Sheet about Fiscal Representation:


Quick and efficient customs handling
Customs procedures in the Port of Antwerp are very efficient. Goods can already be electronically cleared and released by Customs before they are unloaded from the ship. The goods can continue their journey to the eventual destination in the EU without delay when they are not selected for customs scan & control and/or phytosanitery/sanitary check.


Virtual free zone
The Port of Antwerp is not a free-port and does not have a free trade zone. However, Antwerp offers a wide range of alternative procedures to avoid direct import duties and levies. These procedures include bonded customs warehousing, inward processing and extended gate and result in clear cost benefits to shippers. This makes Port of Antwerp a virtual free zone.


Border Inspection Post (BIP)
In Antwerp 2 public Border Inspections Post (BIP) exist, one on each bank of the river Scheld. Belgian Customs is present on both BIP's while FAFSC does only offer phytosanitary and sanitary checks on the BIP on the left bank. On top of these locations does also exist 2 additional BIP's for sanitary checks as well as several BIP's for phytosanitary checks run by private companies within the port area. Please check following link for contact details and authorised goods:

Will the customs processes in Antwerp (Belgium) be the same as in the UK?
As the UK after Brexit will not be a part of the European Customs Union the Union Customs Code will not be binding anymore. So probably - based on UK decission - there will be different customs processes in the UK compared to Antwerp/European Union.


For information on European Customs law please check:

For UK information please check here:

Will Port of Antwerp offer customs brokerage?
Yes of course. When looking for a customs broker or freight forwarder please check following websites:


Is Antwerp prepared for an increase in unaccompanied trailers or containers from 01st January 2021?
The Port of Antwerp offers very rapid and reliable shortsea services with extremely efficient transit times. This is thanks to the high productivity of the Antwerp terminals and the efficient operation of intra-port traffic. Antwerp providers of maritime and logistics services have an established reputation for their expertise and positive customer service experience.


Terminals are an important link in the supply chain solutions offered by our port. They provide logistics services and ensure an operational integration between foreland and hinterland allowing for correct planning and high level of efficiency. The terminals are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and use the latest technologies. Work is organised in shifts to guarantee the continuity of the port activities: 24/7 and 365 days a year. This, combined with expertise valued worldwide and a very high productivity, results in the rapid and qualitative handling of goods.


More about our extensive logistics services on

Does Antwerp have capacity to provide warehousing and storage if relocating stock holding from UK to Antwerp?
Antwerp's virtual free zone has more warehousing and covered storage than any other European port. Goods can be stored without paying VAT and import duties, awaiting or transshipment to another destination, or whilst waiting to be sold to the market in Europe.


6.15 million m2 covered warehousing and storage, 680,000m3 Polymer storage, 7.5 million m3 liquid bulk storage, 90,000 pallet space refrigerated storage, 63,000 m2 science and healthcare storage In addition the port has a number of specialist added value terminals including 7 steel service centres, 15 break bulk terminals, 3 vehicle processing centres and a 300,000m2 all weather terminal

Does Port of Antwerp have sufficient experienced customs staff to cope with the increased demand from UK trade?
Port of Antwerp is a global port with connections to more than 1000 ports around the world. Whilst the UK is our 2nd most important maritime partner, a significant proportion of our business is in relation to non-EU countries. The maritime and logistics service providers in Antwerp therefore already have establish procedures and adequate resources to accommodate the expected increase in demand from 1 January 2020.


The Federal agencies have been planning since mid 2016 and have recruited and trained increased numbers of customs and inspection staff and are therefore well prepared.

Will there be long queues of trucks at the Port of Antwerp and how will you deal with this?
No we are not expecting there to be any queues. The vast majority of cargo passing through Port of Antwerp is unaccompanied and benefits from the excellent intermodal facilities and connectivity that we have in the port allowing goods to move quickly and efficiently by rail, barge, shortsea and road. Maritime and logistics service providers are already experienced in customs procedures and are well prepared for any increase in workload as are Belgian Customs and other Federal agencies.


Furthermore, Port of Antwerp offers regular shortsea services to regional ports in the UK and Ireland avoiding the ports where heavy congestion is anticipated.


Ask our Brexperts

Want to know how Port of Antwerp can help you get the best out of Brexit? Get in touch with one of our Brexperts:

Justin Atkin

Port Representative for UK and Ireland

T: +44 (0) 1472 347300

M: +44 (0) 7740 928590

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Tineke Van de Voorde

Tineke Van de Voorde

Accountmanager Shippers & forwarders

T: +32 3 229 66 78


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Wim Dillen

Wim Dillen

Brexit Task Force President

International Development Manager

T: +32 3 229 65 92


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