Port of Zeebrugge Brexit

Zeebrugge buckles up for Brexit

As of midnight on January 31st 2020, the United Kingdom is no longer a member of the European Union. 

For now, the trade between the UK and the EU will not be affected by Brexit. A transition period, which will end on December 31 2020, allows the UK to negotiate a trade agreement with the EU. On the first of January 2021, the UK leaves the European internal market and the customs union. 

If both parties do not reach a trade agreement, the trade between the UK and the EU will happen according to the rules of the WTO. 

The port of Zeebrugge is a prominent port for cargoes to and from the United Kingdom. The objective is to remain a hub of excellence for the UK. In this respect, the Zeebrugge port authority takes various initiatives in cooperation with the private port community, the port companies and the decision makers on the Flemish, federal and European levels.

On the British side Zeebrugge is in close contact with the British customs and the British ports. The port authority also cooperates with several public authorities, such as customs, in order to become fully Brexit proof. The rapid and fluent transit of international and European goods to the UK, via Zeebrugge, is to be guaranteed after the Brexit.



With 17.2 million tons of freight transhipment, mainly roro and container loads,  the United Kingdom is Zeebrugge’s main trading partner. No less than 70 liner services per week are linking Zeebrugge and the European mainland with numerous British ports on the eastcoast and Ireland. 

Our core business consists of providing tailor-made solutions for all the cargo traffic to the UK. Zeebrugge is a bridgehead for just-in-time supplies into the UK markets.

Being the largest car handling port in the world with a total annual handling volume of 2.9 million new vehicles, we supply the UK markets with no less than 850.000 million new cars and high&heavy loads.

The trailers transiting in Zeebrugge are unaccompanied, which should represent a gain in time with regard to future border controls, since there is no driver involved.

The port accommodates the brand new Border Inspection Post, a new infrastructure which houses the Belgian customs, as well as the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain. Sufficient cold store facilities, additional parking places for trucks in and around the port and trained staff members are available to cope with possible hold-up of cargoes. In addition, a contingency plan with regard to extra parking places, is been drawn up in order to safeguard the constant accessibility of the port and the port companies, as well as the mobility of the cargo flows.


How to make your company Brexit proof


To guarantee a smooth flux of cargo flow in case of No Deal, it is of the utmost importance to take the necessary measures.


  1. Register for an EORI number  with the Customs administration. EORI stands for Economic Operator Registration and Identification and is mandatory for all businesses and people exchanging information with Customs administrations.
  2. Sign up for RX/Seaport, a datasharing platform which offers a digital connection between all links in the logistical chain. R/X SeaPort is one of the platforms that has been granted authorisation by the Belgian Customs concerning import and export. Use the E-Desk for the application of customs details and follow your goods with RX/Dashboard. The system allows you to follow your cargo in each phase of the import and export process.

More questions about brexit? Let us know by e-mail.



Ship your cargo Brexitproof



Zeebrugge -> UK

You can make your booking with the different ferry operators, like you did before Brexit.

This procedure does not change.

Without booking the haulier will not be allowed to proceed to the terminal.

UK -> Zeebrugge

You can make your booking with the different ferry operators, like you did before Brexit.

You will also be required to provide detailed information about your cargo for safety and security purposes.

Without booking the haulier will not be allowed to proceed to the terminal.




Zeebrugge -> UK

The customs details that are linked to a booking must be pre-notified via the e-Desk ferry application of RX/SeaPort.

Without the mandatory pre-notification of the customs data, the haulier will not be allowed to proceed to the terminal.

UK -> Zeebrugge

The terminal operator is informed of the customs status of your cargo via the e-Desk ferry application of RX/SeaPort.  Based on their information, the cargo can be released for transport.

The cargo cannot be be collected without this mandantory pre-notification.


Green light check



“GREEN light” check

  • You can always pre-check your access via the RX/SeaPort dashboard.
  • Truckers can easily find their way to and from the port via the Truckmeister app on their smartphone. 

Do not come to the port without the necessary formal requirements. 



Interesting links and publications:


P&O hull

Flyers and Brochures of the Belgian Customs

Brexit Impact Scan (Dutch only)

Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) offers specific guidance to companies focusing on the UK. (Dutch only)

Have a look at the website of FAVV.

European Commission info on getting ready for the end of the transition period

In need of a customs or forwarding agent? Check the list here:

Meer last minute Brexit-nieuws vanuit Zeebrugge?

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