Avoid mismatches

On 4 October 2021, Customs had introduced the CVB. Since then, Customs will reject incorrectly completed import declarations. This means there is a mismatch. Unlike before, cargo may NOT leave the terminal.

In practice, this often goes wrong. There are two obvious causes:

Cause 1 – Many problems with box 40

Very many mismatches are caused by incorrect completion of box 40 on the prior arrangement (the ATO) in the import declaration. What should box 40 contain?

This is how you fill in box 40

As a declarant (customs agent/importer), you do this correctly in two steps:

  1. First, you put in box 40 the code of the previous arrangement. This is always X-705.
  2. For ferry transport: After X-705, you enter the shipment number. The ferry operator created this number for the transport of your cargo. The carrier that books the crossing must quote this shipment number to you.
    For container transport: Behind X-705 you fill in the number of the Bill of Lading (B/L). This B/L number is sent to you directly by the shipping company/shipbroker or by the person who made the booking.

Filling in something else in box 40 is irrevocably wrong. This will result in a mismatch and therefore a delay!

Recognising a correct shipment number or B/L number

For ferry transport

A shipment number consists of 16 or 17 characters (depending on the ferry operator). The first 4 characters are letters identifying the ferry operator. The following 12 or 13 characters are the booking number, always ending with 001, 002 or a higher consecutive number.

For container transport

A B/L number has 17 characters, of which the first four are always letters identifying the shipping company/shipbroker.

So in box 40, for example, you enter

For ferry transport: X-705 PONFHU12345678001
For container transport: X-705 ABCD0510098765431

X-705: the code of the previous arrangement

Cause 2 – Entering the net weight instead of the gross weight

In practice, the carrier often takes the weight from the UK export declaration. However, British export declarations only state the net weight. In the EU import declaration, the gross weight is leading.

This is how Portbase helps

Are you sure that you always have the correct shipment number and the correct gross weight? The Portbase service Cargo Controller gives you easy access to the correct B/L information 24/7.

Would you like to know more?

More detailed explanations, also about filling in the weights correctly, can be found here: