Future customs procedures
The option to retrospectively clear goods by email will be removed in early 2024. From 31 January 2024, the transit procedure should be used for all goods arriving by rail. The new application is a consequence of the discontinuation of customs clearance areas, which will be replaced by locations.
The option to retrospectively clear goods by email will cease
For goods introduced to the customs territory of the Union by rail, the default procedure is transit. Goods not included by the transit procedure may be cleared after crossing the border by requesting customs clearance via an authority post box. From 31 January 2024, the option to retrospectively clear goods by email will be removed. Instead, the transit procedure should be used for all goods arriving by rail.
The new application is an adaptation to the requirements in the Union Customs Code, which dictates that all goods entering the Sweden from third countries should be processed using the same procedure, regardless of the means of transport. The new application is a consequence of the discontinuation of customs clearance areas, which will be replaced by locations.
Why does the transit procedure apply?
Swedish Customs has decided to use the transit procedure for rail transport for several reasons. Once of the reasons is the adaptation to new legal requirements for digital information procedures for all means of transport.
Given that there as a rule are not customs clearance offices where goods transported by rail cross the border to Sweden, it is not possible to give presentation notification in the same manner as for road transports at the border between Sweden and Norway. Time tables (train paths) for commercial goods that are transported to Sweden are also not adapted to allow trains to stop by the border for customs inspections. Furthermore, there are no inspection facilities at the border where train cars can be decoupled for inspection without disrupting other train paths.
If the goods are placed under the transit procedure as the train crosses the border, the legal requirements for customs supervision will be met. Border crossing manifests are not required for transits by rail that are equivalent to transport by road. Consequently, the trains under the transit procedure are not required to stop by the border. Presentation notification will instead be given at the place of destination.
What happens if I fail to transit the goods?If you as an operator do not ensure that the goods entering by rail are placed under the transit procedure and that the procedure is discharged by an authorized consignee at an authorized location, you may be guilty of non-compliance with customs legislation. Non-compliance can, among other things, lead to incurring a customs debt. Swedish Customs will investigate cases of non-compliance and charge the responsible entity. In addition, non-compliance may affect existing or future authorisations.
Which authorisations do you need?
In connection with the requirement for the transit of non-Union goods in the rail flow on arrival in Sweden from 1 September 2023, at least three authorisations will be needed for the operators concerned. In order to receive non-Union goods during the transit procedure, an operator must have an authorisation as an authorised consignee (ACE) for Union transit in combination with an authorisation for a location approved by Swedish Customs and an authorisation for a comprehensive guarantee.
Depending on the type of goods and their customs status, your company will need to apply for an authorised consignee in combination with one of three locations: other authorised location, temporary storage facility or customs warehouse. Authorisation for at least one of these locations is a prerequisite for obtaining the Authorised Consignee for Union Transit (ACE) authorisation. It is your company and your flow of goods that determines which type of location authorisation you need to apply for. Requirements and possibilities differ between the different locations.
Requirements and options for other authorised locations, temporary storage facilities and customs warehouses
The company must actually operate the facility. It is not possible to obtain an authorisation for a facility operated by another operator. The operator of the location should apply for the authorisation.
The different locations allow goods to be stored under customs supervision for different lengths of time before they have to be placed under a customs procedure.
Storage of Union goods
Union goods are goods wholly obtained in the Union or goods brought into the customs territory of the Union from countries or territories outside that territory and released for free circulation. Union goods may be stored in a temporary storage facility and in customs warehouses, provided that this is included in the authorisation. Non-Union goods are defined as goods that are not released into free circulation in the Union.
Approved accounts are a requirement for the granting of an authorisation to operate a temporary storage facility or a customs warehouse.
A comprehensive guarantee entails providing a guarantee for customs and other charges for two or more events, declarations or customs procedures, e.g., an authorised consignee and a location approved by Swedish Customs.
In simple terms, storing equivalent goods in a customs warehouse means that you store both Union and non-Union goods in the warehouse, but that it is not possible to determine the customs status of the goods by their appearance. Examples of this include bulk goods (e.g., oil or gravel) where the goods need to be stored in the same location, and it is only the holder of the authorisation that can provide information about the goods status distribution of the goods. The authorisation must expressly indicate that they holder is authorised to store equivalent goods.
Limited handling of the goods while in a customs warehouse is permitted. You may not handle the goods freely, but some usual forms of handling are allowed. Permitted forms of handling are listed in Annex 71-03 of the UCC Delegated Regulation. The annex contains a 22-point list describing how goods in a customs warehouse may be handled.
Swedish Customs requires separate control areas with appropriate facilities for control of the handled goods. A control area must be arranged in a customs warehouse, temporary storage facility or other authorised location and should be special area that is designed according to Swedish Customs' instructions. This may, for example, pertain to space for canine officers, X-ray equipment and lighting.
What area is suitable for you?
Depending on the type of goods and their customs status, your company will need to apply for an authorised consignee in combination with one of three locations: other authorised location, temporary storage facility or customs warehouse. It is your company and your flow of goods that determines which type of location authorisation you need to apply for. Requirements and possibilities differ between the different locations.
Other approved location
You run an operation with direct access to railway tracks. Consignments arrive by rail from outside the EU and are placed under the transit procedure. Union goods cannot be stored at an alternative approved location. Goods in the customs territory of the EU are presumed to be Union goods unless there is a reason to the contrary. The non-Union goods must be placed under another authorised customs procedure, such as free circulation, within 6 days of the discharge of the transit procedure.
To be granted an authorisation for an alternative approved location, you must be able to provide the necessary guarantees for the proper conduct of the operations. This includes being able to ensure that Union goods will not be stored at that location. To the extent that Union goods are expected to arrive at the site, you need to measures to prevent the storage of Union goods. This should be clearly stated in, for example, routine descriptions or similar documentation. Swedish Customs will make an assessment in each individual case whether there are the necessary measures in place to prevent the storage of Union goods. In this assessment, Customs will consider, among other things, to what extent:
- there is a need to store goods, regardless of customs status, at the location;
- non-Union goods are expected to be released for free circulation immediately upon arrival;
- there are clear procedures on how goods with different customs statuses are handled on arrival.
The operator of the facility should be the applicant for the authorisation to operate an alternative approved location. This authorisation, in combination with the authorised consignee authorisation, allows the holder to receive goods under the transit procedure. You may apply for an alternative approved location by submitting an application form.
To obtain an authorisation for an alternative approved location, you also need the comprehensive guarantee authorisation. A comprehensive guarantee entails providing a guarantee for customs and other charges for two or more events, declarations or customs procedures.
Temporary storage facility
You run an operation with direct access to railway tracks. Consignments with non-Union goods or Union goods placed under the transit procedure arrive by rail. You need to store goods with different Union status, and these goods should be physically or administratively distinguishable. Non-Union goods may be stored for a maximum of 90 days, prior to being placed under a different customs procedure. There are limits to how the goods may be handled. For example, you are allowed to repair broken packaging. However, you may not break and repackage the goods.
The operator of the location should apply for the authorisation. This authorisation, in combination with the authorised consignee authorisation, allows the holder to receive goods under the transit procedure. Please apply via Swedish Customs’ online services.
To obtain a permit for a temporary storage facility to be used in combination with an authorised consignee, you also need the comprehensive guarantee permit. A comprehensive guarantee entails providing a guarantee for customs and other charges for two or more events, declarations or customs procedures.
You run an operation with direct access to railway tracks. Consignments with non-Union goods or Union goods placed under the transit procedure arrive by rail. In addition to receiving the goods and releasing them for free circulation, you also need to handle the goods or store goods with different customs statuses that can only be distinguished in the accounts. You can also store equivalent goods. Goods may be stored indefinitely in a customs warehouse.
The holder of the authorisation should be the operator of the customs warehouse.
You may place the goods under the customs warehousing procedure by lodging a customs warehouse declaration, either via the Customs Warehouse online service or via your system solution (EDI). An agent can be used to file this information.
To obtain an authorisation for a customs warehouse, you also need the comprehensive guarantee authorisation. A comprehensive guarantee entails providing a guarantee for customs and other charges for two or more events, declarations or customs procedures.
Receiving goods under the transit procedure
To receive goods under the transit procedure, the consignee should be an authorised consignee (ACE) for Union transit.
You currently receive goods by rail that originate in a country outside of the EU, for example Norway. If you receive non-Union goods by rail and need to complete the transit procedure without bringing the goods to a customs office, you need to apply for an authorised consignee authorisation. If you hold an authorisation for an alternative approved location, temporary storage facility or customs warehouse, you may apply for an authorised consignee authorisation. This allows you to receive goods placed under the transit procedure, break the customs seal and discharge the transit procedure.
As an authorised consignee, you will complete the transit in the NCTS system. If you do not wish to purchase the required system, you may hire an agent to handle any transit-related communications between you and the customs authority. The transit system will be updated on 1 September 2023. The updated system, NCTS, Release 5, is similar to the current system, but there are some differences. For example, information will be provided differently. The structure is constructed in several levels, more information is required, and some data elements have been split into multiple data elements.
Things to consider
- If all the goods covered by the transit operation do not arrive at your authorised location at the same time, for example because a wagon has been disconnected from the train set, you should notify the customs office of destination without delay and request a partial discharge.
- If your goods are reloaded at an intermodal terminal, the train set needs to be covered by several different transit declarations, addressed to each authorised consignee. Another option is to discharge the ongoing transit movement and initiate new transit movements to the respective authorised consignees. This assumes that the terminal is an authorised location and has the required authorisations. It may be simpler to cover goods sent to the same consignee by a stand-alone transit procedure from the start.
- Swedish Customs cannot to grant an authorised consignee and site authorisation at a site where there is no operator. Therefore, there it is not possible to unload non-Union goods placed under the transit procedure such cases. You need to ensure that your goods arrive at an authorised consignee, in order to complete the transit procedure.
Examples showing how various operators in the chain can meet the new legal requirements.
Train wagons may be split and coupled on a marshalling yard, depending on the place of destination. If the transport is not scheduled to terminate at a marshalling yard, it is important that the wagons are placed under the transit procedure during marshalling. The marshalling is then considered an event during transport (re-loading) and will not affect the transit.
If you intend to discharge the transit at an intermodal terminal, you need to ensure that the person responsible for operating the intermodal terminal holds an approved location authorisation. If you have containers that are reloaded from a train to a trailer, you alone cannot apply for every necessary to discharge the transit procedure at the intermodal terminal. Approved location authorisation can only be granted to the operator of the intermodal terminal. Thus, this person is also responsible for ensuring that the goods are correctly handled vis-à-vis the customs authority.
If you do not hold the relevant authorisations to discharge the goods to a new or different customs procedure at the intermodal terminal, the transit procedure must be directed to a different place of destination. In this case, reloading the goods from a train to a lorry at the intermodal terminal will be considered an event during transportation.
Operators using rail transport may engage an agent for customs procedure purposes. If you need to apply for authorisation as an approved consignee without having to purchase NCTS, you may engage an agent with access to NCTS, who will submit and receive any necessary information.
As is the case with other means of transport, it is possible to use the authorisation and infrastructure of an agent to handle goods and, for example, discharge a transit procedure at an approved location belonging to an agent. For example, an agent’s temporary storage facility.
Depending on the type of goods, it is not possible to reload certain types of goods from rail to road at an intermodal terminal en route to the place of destination. For some final consignees, the goods will be transported by rail to the location, for example a factory, where the transit procedure will be discharged and the goods will enter free circulation. In such cases, the operator of the facility should apply for all necessary authorisations. As usual, it is possible to engage an agent to handle customs procedures and communications via NCTS.
All final consignees are eligible to apply for all relevant authorisations to discharge transit procedures and operate an approved location to store goods for long or short periods.
What is updated: Språklig justering