This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.

ukraine aid

Charities trying to send aid to Ukraine say they are being hindered by post-Brexit customs rules and procedures.

Multiple lorries carrying aid for Ukrainian refugees were held at the border in Britain with requests for customs documentation.

Charities have said that the requirements do not fit with their humanitarian mission and that their ‘exports’ are aid and not for sale, reports Politics Home.

Paperwork issues

The Independent reports that Lewisham Polish Centre had three vans loaded with sleeping bags, nappies and sanitary items stuck in Dover for two days due to paperwork issues.

Every item being transported to the EU from the UK has to be accounted for under post-Brexit legislation. Officials insisted the vehicles needed T1 documents, said Agnieszka Lokaj from the charity.


The Daily Mail reports that Ciaran Donovan, a St Albans-based courier who transports goods across Europe, helped the lorries get on the ferry at Dover.

He said that 13 other vans transporting medical equipment on behalf of charities “still haven’t left the UK after four days of trying to get customs paperwork”.

Cash not cargo

HMRC has advised that the best way to donate to Ukraine is financially and that the Export Support Service has been set up to support traders implicated in the crisis – including those trying to send goods to Ukraine.

“Anyone requiring advice about transporting humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees can contact the free-to-use Export Support Service (ESS) helpline at 0300 303 8955, which can be used by individuals, businesses or charities,” it stated.

The UK government has promised a £120m humanitarian aid package for Ukraine to help aid agencies. This is on top of a £100m economic package for Ukraine announced earlier this month.

Countries waive rules

According to the Loadstar, the situation for aid movements should get easier after the UK and France removed border controls and sanitary checks on humanitarian relief to keep trucks moving.

The Dutch Embassy in the UK has said customs procedures in the Netherlands have also been temporarily simplified for Ukraine aid arriving from the UK.