SITL 2021

Always be one step ahead!

CONEX is a major player in the dematerialisation of customs and security information shared between import/export operators and customs authorities.

We offer businesses a full range of software and data processing solutions that make their organisations more agile. We cover all their interconnection needs with their customers, suppliers, partners and multiple customs authorities.
Faced with the complex regulations of international trade, companies need tools that ensure processing automation, data exchange traceability and security, and communication with third parties.

It is in this context that CONEX's activity has evolved over more than 35 years. Time is a force that has enabled us to acquire the recognition of customs administrations and international standardisation bodies as well as the confidence of many international Supply Chain actors.

Come and meet our team at the SITL trade fair, where you will have the opportunity to discover or rediscover our solutions. We will share information with you on the customs and security evolutions to come and the solutions we bring to the business problems that shippers and forwarders encounter on a daily basis.


To obtain your free badge, enter the code EXH69219 when making your request on the SITL website.



brexit douane ICS

GB S&S - Security declaration postponed to 1 January 2022

In a statement released yesterday, the UK Government announced that it has decided to postpone up-coming deadlines for the introduction of a number of procedures and requirements linked to a post-BREXIT customs and cross-border environment. These were due to follow on from post-BREXIT procedures that have been in place since 1st January 2021.

Last June, we announced a timetable for the phased introduction of controls on imports from the EU into Great Britain, to ensure businesses could prepare in a phased way. This timetable was based on the impacts of the first wave of COVID. We know now that the disruption caused by COVID has lasted longer and has been deeper than we anticipated. Accordingly, the Government has reviewed these timeframes.”

In terms of advanced security declarations:

  • Safety and Security Declarations for imports will not be required until 1 January 2022.

What does this really mean?

Currently, and since 1st January 2021, Entry Summary declarations (ENS) must be filed to the new GB S&S system for all goods arriving in the GB territory from third countries other than the EU. Goods arriving in Great Britain from the EU customs territory had been the object of an initial exemption which was due to end on 1st July 2021. This exemption has now been extended until 1st January 2022.

Requirements to file all other advanced security declarations (EU/ICS, NI/ICS and GB S&S (RoW) remain unchanged.




Dear customers, dear partners,
The year 2020 has been such a challenge for us all, with Covid 19 as our ‘Sword of Damocles’... We also discovered the virtues of teleworking.This mark on our lifestyles, without being indelible, will leave traces in companies’ organisation and the relationships with employees. From the very first confinement, Conex was able to organise itself to allow it to ensure “business as usual” for our customers.
You have not had to endure any defect in the continuity of our services and have been able to continue your activity in full transparency. This proves that the notion of customer service is a priority for our teams. Given the epidemiological forecasts for 2021, we will have to keep this organisation going for a few more months to come.

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brexit douane ICS

And we really needded Brexit of all that!

During this particularly troubled time, “Our English neighbours” (as it has been agreed to call them) continued to distance themselves from the European Union. We were required to adapt our tools to the new concept of the Smart Border, but not content with that, we decided to cross the Channel ourselves and pitch our tent among the British.

Transposing our national rules in the Anglo-Saxon fashion was not easy, given this period of change within the United Kingdom. Initially, HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) planned to change their existing IT system (CHIEF) to a more up-to-date system (CDS) of Dutch origin.

But that was before ... the decision in favour of Brexit.
With Brexit on the horizon, HMRC (belatedly) gave up starting with CDS and fell back on CHIEF, making a number of adjustments as they went along. We had to review hastily our development strategy, initially based solely on CDS, taking a 180° turn to make our solutions compatible with CHIEF. Different codifications, EDIFACT message structures, modified transmission technologies….

In short, rethink everything … Everyone to battle stations, with a deadline of 01/01/2021.

Here again, the notion of customer service has prevailed in our teams who have stepped up their efforts and gone the extra mile to allow those who entrusted us in the United Kingdom to be operational by D-Day.

SAFE-Safety-security-declaration douaneCDS, CHIEF and ICS :
double word score

At the same time, the closer the fateful Brexit date approached, the more the acronym ICS (Import Control System) made people talk about it…. With ten years of experience in this security regulation, CONEX has been able to provide the entire chain with a solution designed according to the needs of each individual operator, whether carrier, forwarder or shipper. This solution is particularly suited to RoRo modes of transport, regardless of the point of entry in the European Union.



blockchain conex

Collaborative Plateform on Blockchain background

Notwithstanding all this work, CONEX undertook and finalised a collaborative platform under the name of zen via conex™. It supports the collection of declarative data and documents, managing them in the form of an EDM (Electronic Document Management) with Blockchain technology contribution of course, a close link with the customs declarations produced through our software.

In addition to traceability of the evolution of each file, Zen via conex™ enables analysis to be performed through a set of KPIs, thus offering its users complete investigation freedom over its customs operations and data.

Thanks to variable geometry shareability, Zen via conex™ makes it possible to set up exchange and communication "clusters" of varying sizes.

We are now certain of our customers' interest in a product like this. Many of you have already opted for this solution which is ready and waiting for you to express your wishes in order to improve even further.



Last but not least

At the end of such major works in 2020, I would be remiss if I did not mention the EDI platform PASScom via conex™ which has had a makeover. This technological change took place behind the scenes without disrupting your business. However, it has allowed the complete renewal of our server park based on the latest technologies, and its relocation to ensure even better security conditions.

The year 2020 will go down in the history for Conex.

I hope that 2021 will allow our teams to slow down just a little.

Alban Gruson
Chief Executive Officer


Novembre 2020


In this back-to-school season, which requires our attention on all fronts at the same time, there is still one subject that we can anticipate: the arrival of Brexit … In all the time we’ve been talking about it, and even if there are still many questions pending in negotiations with the European Union, one thing is certain: private economic operators will have to become accustomed to making new declarations.
From 1st January 2021, a safety / security declaration will have to be carried out for goods coming from the United Kingdom to the European Union customs territory. We invite you to carry out a rapid check that you are ready to manage this turning point which will require us to live different relationships with our English cousins and to quickly take the necessary actions to comply. The countdown is approaching zero!
January 1st will also mark the return of customs formalities with the United Kingdom… CONEX is there to tell you everything you need to know to be operational from this important date! Don’t miss our WEBINARS ?

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ICS Post-Brexit,
Conex present its
solution as a european one-stop-shop
Next session
le 10th november

The countdown has begun … As of January 1st, 2021, for all goods originating in the United Kingdom and arriving on European Union soil, economic operators will be required to draw up a safety / security declaration. This Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) falls within the framework of the European Import Control System (ICS) regulation. The SAFE via conex ™ ICS solution is your “one-stop-shop” for Safety / Security requirements: it is directly connected to practically all European administration servers thanks to our regulatory, technical and technological skills. This is the solution to simplify Post-Brexit ICS for you in total security and peace of mind, regardless of the first point of entry into Europe. WEBINAR Next session on November 10th.

Smart Border, launching on 1st January for DELTA G, T and ICS: BREXIT frontière intelligente

Conex teams have been on deck for many months in order to anticipate the changes linked to Brexit and to facilitate your transmissions to the authorities. The return of customs formalities with the United Kingdom come into force on January 1st, 2021 regardless of the outcome of negotiations … The CONEX solutions are ready to communicate with the BREXIT SI (Information System) for your French customs operations, transit and ICS (Import Control System), AND YOU?

Discover all the details in 2 minutes, ON VIDEO!

Want to learn more? Sign up for our WEBINAIRE Smart border via conex™ Sign me up!

 BREXIT flux douaniers

Facilitate your customs exchanges on both sides of the Channel

CHANNELpass via conex™  allows you to manage customs flows for France, United Kingdom and Belgium in fully optimised processes that ensure full compliance with local customs. Strengthen the automation of your reporting processes on both sides of the Channel and consider performing your French, Belgian and or UK declarations from a single location.

Brexit, what’s at the end of the tunnel?

It’s a never-ending cycle. Four years have passed since the announcement, in the wake of the 2016 referendum, of the UK’s exit from the European Union. Brexit will come finally into effect on January 1st, 2021. Time is running out and the end of the year is going to be crucial. 



So where are we really?

EU heads of state and government met on October 15-16 at the EU summit to assess progress of the talks and possibly give the green light to open a final round of negotiations. Despite the British threat not to respect the withdrawal treaty and the infringement procedure initiated by the Commission against the United Kingdom on October 1, some European diplomats still dare to evoke “positive” negotiation dynamics.

Read the article


It's a never-ending cycle. Four years have passed since the announcement, in the wake of the 2016 referendum, of the UK's exit from the European Union. Brexit will come finally into effect on January 1st, 2021. Time is running out and the end of the year is going to be crucial.


So where are we really?

EU heads of state and government met on October 15-16 at the EU summit to assess progress of the talks and possibly give the green light to open a final round of negotiations. Despite the British threat not to respect the withdrawal treaty and the infringement procedure initiated by the Commission against the United Kingdom on October 1, some European diplomats still dare to evoke "positive" negotiation dynamics.

The British Prime Minister even believes it is possible that the two sides reach a compromise but stressed that "various issues remain to be resolved". "The European Union must understand that we are very serious about the need to control our own laws and our own regulations," he warned.

In fact, none of the last major obstacles, namely fishing rights, the rules of a “level playing field” in terms of competition and state aid, judicial and police cooperation as well as the means to settle disputes, has been overcome so far, as President Macron has pointed out.

Appearance of a new (virtual) border to take goods out of England

Without a deal between London and Brussels, the British government has estimated that 7,000 lorries could be stranded in Kent for up to two days before being allowed to cross the Channel. To remedy this disaster scenario, from January 1st, drivers of heavy vehicles will need to obtain a permit to enter the County of Kent, in which the port of Dover is located. The objective: to avoid traffic jams linked to customs controls. In fact, this measure will create a kind of border inside the country!

Drivers of lorries over 7.5 tonnes will therefore have to prove that they have all the necessary papers to transport their goods to the continent before arriving in this south-eastern county. Drivers who are not up to date with their paperwork will be detected via automatic recognition of their license plate, and invited to turn back, not without being fined 300 pounds!

“This is not a forecast or prediction of what will happen but rather a stretching scenario.” Minister of State Michael Gove told Parliament. Thus today, it is estimated that only "30 to 60%" of trucks would arrive at the border having completed the necessary formalities for their goods. Without these formalities, it will be impossible for drivers to board ferries to the continent.

Claire Fournier - CONEX
International Development Manager



Brexit - Fourth Round: London and Brussels drawn at 0-0

The fourth round of Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom ended last Friday like the previous three: with a failure.

"There has been no significant progress," said Michel Barnier, after a new round of sterile discussions with the British negotiators. Whether it is on fishing rights, on the question of governance or on the ‘level playing field’, each party remained camped on its positions. However, "on all these points, we ask for nothing other than for the Political Declaration to be respected," Michel Barnier declared.

December 31st is looming and without any compromise, it is the World Trade Organisation rules and its customs duties that will apply, while Boris Johnson continues to refuse to seek an extension of the transition period. "He seems to be incorporating the scenario of a no deal," said Aurélien Antoine, director of the Brexit Observatory. Such a situation means that, if there is no extension of the transition period, an agreement on a legal text must be reached by October 31st at the latest, that is in just under 5 months.

However, everything is still possible since a high-level meeting, agreed in the Political Declaration, to take stock of the negotiations must be planned before the end of June. Nevertheless, Michel Barnier concluded his speech at the end of this fourth round of negotiations by opening a door to the hope for a positive outcome: "... and if we maintain our mutual respect, our serenity and our determination, I have no doubt that, during the summer or at the latest at the beginning of autumn, we will find common ground between the United Kingdom and the European Union. And finally, that we will find an agreement on our partnership for the future."

Post-Brexit agenda update

After two unsuccessful first sessions, in a context weighed down by the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Kingdom and the European Union resumed their negotiations on post-Brexit relations on Monday 11th May.

Crystallisation of quarrels over Northern Ireland issues and fishing rights

Previous talks in late April cast considerable uncertainty over London and Brussels' ability to come to an agreement by the end of the year. "The United Kingdom did not want to make a serious commitment on a number of fundamental points," regretted Michel Barnier, EU's chief negotiator. Negotiators must theoretically decide in June whether or not to extend the transition period and thus allow themselves more time to negotiate. But London still rejects this idea, even if the Coronavirus epidemic has disrupted the calendar of discussions which now take place via videoconference. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned on May 9: "The British government still refuses to extend the deadline (…) If this continues, we will have to face Brexit, in addition to the Coronavirus at the end of the year".

Among the quarrels is the continued existence of an EU delegation office in Belfast, Northern Ireland after the end of the transition period. The UK has formally rejected the idea twice, with British Minister Penny Mordaunt seeing it as a "political and community divide" in the province. Following the last round of talks in April, Mr Barnier stressed that the EU needs "hard evidence that the UK is making progress on new customs agreements".

A third round of negotiations ended on 15 May with British chief negotiator, David Frost and Mr Barnier blaming each other for the deadlock at the heart of the talks.

The United Kingdom is asking nothing more from the EU than a classic free trade agreement, along the lines of that concluded by the EU with Canada, around which several sectoral agreements could then be negotiated. The EU replies that it can only propose an ambitious trade deal to London if it is accompanied by solid additional guarantees in the area of fair competition, the famous "level playing field". In particular, the question of fishing rights remains contentious: the United Kingdom reaffirms its ambition to become an independent coastal state, with annual renegotiations on fishing quotas in its waters, a measure the EU refuses.

Until the next round of negotiations scheduled for June 1, the idea of a hard Brexit lurks, with a return to trade under World Trade Organization (WTO) conditions in 2021!

And meanwhile… the UK is also talking to the US

While post-Brexit trade negotiations with the EU have continued to be bogged down, further talks between the UK and the US began via videoconference in early May with a view to an ‘ambitious’ free trade agreement. More than 100 government officials from across the Atlantic are involved. The first session of negotiations is part of a calendar of meetings held every six weeks, the British government’s goal being to have an agreement signed before the end of the year, in parallel with the post-Brexit pact with the EU.

But on that front, nothing is straight forward either: the congressional and presidential elections to be held in November reduce the chances of reaching consensus in time. In 2018, the United States was the United Kingdom's most important trading partner, accounting for almost 19% of British exports and 11% of its imports.

Boris Johnson’s government wants to reach agreements covering 80% of its foreign trade within 3 years and has chosen to favour the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

A new customs tariff under study

In this context, on Tuesday the United Kingdom presented its new customs tariff, UK Global Tariff (UKGT), for a post Brexit context which will replace the EU’s CET (Common External Tariff). Customs duties will be maintained on a certain number of products from the agricultural, automobile and fishing industries in order to preserve the sectors concerned locally.

The UKGT retains a 10% tax on the importation of cars, but will remove all tariffs below 2%, which should make it simpler and cheaper than the European CET. In addition, customs duties will be eliminated on a wide range of products: 60% of trade would thus enter the United Kingdom duty free from the 1st January 2021, under WTO conditions or via the current preferential access, according to the government.

Border controls for the entry of goods

Still on the customs front, in a letter addressed to the Northern Ireland parliament, Boris Johnson acknowledges that there will need to be customs checks within the Northern Ireland territory for goods coming from Great Britain, after the post-Brexit transition period. These checks will be carried out in the three ports of Belfast, Warrenpoint and Larne.

A sensitive issue. As a principle, the Northern Ireland unionist parties have long refused anything that might appear to be a de facto border within the United Kingdom. Irish nationalists from Sinn Fein, for their part, refused any border between the Republic of Ireland (a member state of the European Union) and the British province of Northern Ireland. However, each year, 450,000 lorries transport goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to the value of €12.42 billion. Traders in Northern Ireland are claiming formality exemptions for products intended for the local market only. They have evaluated the additional cost of controls at £100 (112 €) per lorry. "A document detailing how the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland will function will be released soon," said a spokesman for Downing Street.

Immigration control

On May 18th, British parliamentarians also adopted post-Brexit immigration reform, which will end the right for workers in the European economic area to immigrate freely to the United Kingdom in 2021. This means workers from the European Union but also from Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. New entry criteria are not yet detailed, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already presented a points system project, which is expected to favour candidates in highly qualified occupations. The Republic of Ireland will be exempt from immigration rules under a free movement agreement which pre-dates the two countries joining the EU in 1973.


BREXIT-matter settled

Brexit matter settled!

It is settled,” Minister Michael Gove, number two of the British government, said last Friday, effectively closing the door to any further discussion on the possibility of an extension to the transition period beyond January 1st, 2021. “This brings clarity and certainty for companies and allows them to prepare,'' he insisted during a television interview. And for sceptics who may still doubt the determination of Boris Johnson’s government, Mr. Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator said to British MEPs: "Even if the EU demands it, we will refuse it."

So, it’s settled, even if the two parties deemed the last rounds of negotiations disappointing and without progress, and there are no less than 700 bilateral agreements to be negotiated before October 31st, given the deadlines for ratification by the United Kingdom and the 27 Member States involved. The working sessions will intensify and become weekly, including in July and from mid-August, in addition to the negotiation cycles initially planned. "We must now make progress on substance," warned Michel Barnier.

A pragmatic and flexible approach” to Brexit from January 1st, 2021, according to a British government source

As soon as it leaves the European Union on January 1st, the United Kingdom plans to introduce gradual customs controls, so as not to penalise British companies already affected by the coronavirus crisis. A number of stages have been envisaged for the imports of goods from the EU up to July 1st. For the time being, Brussels has not promise reciprocity, and it is still expected that goods exported from the United Kingdom to the EU will be subject to declarations and controls, as is the case for goods imported to the EU from any third country.

In the first half of the year, British companies buying products from the EU (excluding controlled goods such as alcohol and tobacco) will have to keep a record of their imports but will have six months to declare them to customs. They may also benefit from the deferral of any duty payments until the goods are actually declared. Alcohols and tobacco imported from the EU will be subject to controls. Physical controls will also be carried out on high risk live animals and plants, either at destination or in approved places. Safety and Security declarations will not be required at this stage. However in April, for all Products of Animal Origin (POAO) such as meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products, as well as all for plants and plant products subject to specific regulations, pre-notification and health documentation will be required.

From July, full controls will be introduced for all types of goods imported into the UK. British importing companies will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant duties and taxes simultaneously. Sanitary and phytosanitary products will be subject to an increase in physical checks and sample-taking by UK Border Control Posts. In addition, full Safety and Security declarations will be mandatory.

The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland: the next step?

A specific committee has been set up to finalise the Protocol on a solution to the situation concerning the future relations between the Republic of Ireland (EU Member State) and Northern Ireland.

This Protocol, which should come into force on January 1st, includes the following sensitive points:

  • Establishment of all necessary checks and controls for goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain,
  • Application of EU rules on customs and sanitary and phytosanitary protection,
  • Presence of European Union representatives in the Northern Ireland territory, in accordance with Article 12 of the Protocol.

Only in these conditions can peace and stability between all communities on the island of Ireland be assured, the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement (10th April 1998) be upheld and the EU Single Market be preserved, according to European Commission Vice President, Maros Sefcovic.