World’s first digital export Carnet introduced by Business West to ease strain of post-Brexit trade

November 10, 2023

Business West, the region’s largest business organisation, has helped cut through the red tape hitting temporary exporters by arranging the world’s first use of a digital Carnet.

Since Brexit, the number of ATA Carnets – or ‘passports for goods’ – needed by exporters has risen significantly for UK-based companies.

These paper forms require numerous physical authorisation stamps and must be kept and looked after, as loss or incorrect use can mean significant delays and costs.

For a large-scale movement of goods, such as those involved in an international music or theatre tour or business exhibition, there can be suitcases full of paper-based Carnets.

Business West, which runs Bristol Chamber of Commerce, helped an international logistics consultant for live events and special projects successfully transport camera equipment from Heathrow Airport to Brussels and back using a digital Carnet – the first time one has been used effectively.

Business West said digitisation of the Carnet system simplified and expedited the process of checking goods for export while also reducing the risk of Carnet loss or damage as well as having an environmental impact.

With the new digital Carnet, temporary exporters can apply via a digital platform and download an app, which produces a QR code that customs officers can scan and then digitally stamp the Carnet.

This has been in development by the International Chambers of Commerce for a number of years, working to achieve proof of concept and adoption by pilot countries’ customs authorities.

Business West head of international trade services Catherine Stephens and her team and Surrey-based logistics consultancy EFM Global have been working closely with UKNATACO (UK National ATA Carnet Organisation), which oversees the operation of ATA Carnets in the UK, to ensure its first use on the Heathrow-Brussels journey was a success.

Business West commercial director James Monk said the organisation had listened to its customers and was committed to improving the temporary export process.

“We really needed to bring paper-based Carnets into the digital age and this first complete journey shows that the process works, more countries will come on board and help aid the flow of temporary exports.

“We are passionate about innovation, increasing levels of trade and making life easier for our clients.”

He said as a B Corp-accredited organisation putting people and planet alongside profit, Business West also strived to reduce environmental impact wherever it could.

EFM Global Group CEO Mike Llewellyn added: “The digital Carnet is a massive step for international freight.

“It will make the system quicker, more efficient, and we were determined to be involved with the first, ground-breaking shipment using that technology.”


Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Bristol for just £120 a month. Email for more information.