The Common User Charge

In our last article we explained the introduction of new controls on High, Medium and Low risk products of animal & plant origin goods entering the UK. We also explained that some products will have a Common User Charge (CUC) applied and sicussed the running costs of Border Control Posts.

Already this week we have been shocked to receive notification from numerous ports that rather than apply the charge to applicable risk shipments only, they will instead levy a blanket charge for all shipments. This is regardless of commodity. So for example, you can be shipping a full load of plastic and even though it is not animal, food, plant or anything originating from these, at some ports your plastic FTL will receive a CUC.

The Common User Charge is intended to support the creation and running of Border Control Posts to carry out physical and documentation checks. But as our previous article detailed, ports are not able to recover the running costs from the small amount of examinations expected. Instead some ports will levy the Common User Charge against all shipments meaning all importers will now subsidise the shortfall.

Dover port intend to apply the CUC per shipment based on the commodity and risk category, which is how it’s intended. But others such as Immingham, Hull & Purfleet will apply a set fee for all laden containers/trailers entering the port regardless of commodity.

Final Words

It seems a very unfair system, but unfortunately it seems typical of the lack of foresight of what a hard Brexit means. No doubt these extra costs will continue to add to the cost of living burden as it makes it’s way down the supply chain.

We feel there are other ways this charge could be specifically levied through IPAFF use and DEFRA but it appears recovering cost for what looks like expensive and now low-use facilities is priority.

The charges came into effect for shipments arriving from 30th April 2024. Please check your port of entry operator for their specific Common User Charge applications.

If you want to know more about Common User Charges, customs, risk categories or how you will be affected please contact our Head of Customs Steve Townley here.

Government information about standard charging practice can be found here