Smart border system tested in run-up to Brexit


In preparation for a no-deal Brexit, a new smart border system between the United Kingdom and the European Union has been operationally tested in France. Geodis, a global expert in transport and logistics, partnered up with Arkema, the French leader in chemicals, to take part in the dry runs organized by French Customs.

If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in a ‘hard’ or no-deal Brexit, it will be necessary to reinstate a border between the UK and France. In this context, a computerized ‘smart border’ has been developed to automate the border crossing for freight vehicles in France. Since September, the French customs authorities have been running a series of full-scale simulations to test the new system under realistic conditions. The trials involve transporters, shippers, customs representatives and customs clearance software providers.

Simulated post-Brexit conditions

Geodis and Arkema jointly participated in operational trials of the smart border on 24 September. The two companies coordinated the shipment of goods from the Arkema plant in La Chambre, southeastern France, to the UK under simulated post-Brexit conditions. The companies had to arrange the advance transmission of customs documents, the coordination of logistics, the matching of customs data with that of the vehicle, and the actual crossing of the border. All of these tasks were completed successfully, enabling the shipment to cross the border safely and smoothly.

“This full-scale dry run was key to guaranteeing the free flow of trade,” comments Rémi Poteau, Key Account Manager at Geodis. The planned customs arrangements will be crucial in ensuring that safe and reliable logistics and transport operations can continue between France and the UK with minimum disruption to customers and suppliers, irrespective of the future Brexit scenario.