Frequently Asked Questions

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Are there any import conditions for my consignment

If you have a general enquiry about a product that you are considering importing you can look for further information on our import guidance pages where there is guidance on the legislation as well as links to sources of further information.

We can assist importers using the ports of Felixstowe, Ipswich and Harwich with enquiries in relation to their imports. In order that we can capture the relevant information about your consignment please complete the Import Enquiry Form. Enquiries for imports to other ports should be made to the relevant port health authority/local authority.

What are the rules about importing composite POAO?

Please see detailed guidance available on the assessment of composite POAO.

Do the new plastics rules apply to dog and other pet food bowls and containers?

No, the new rules only apply to food for human consumption, items that will come into feed for pets are not covered.

How can I ensure that my container clears port health promptly?

To enable prompt examination and release ensure that you get your documentation to us at least 24 hours before the vessel arrives, so we are able to carry out the necessary documentary checks and request your container for examination before it is unloaded.

This will mean that the container is placed in a more convenient location for presentation at the examination facility.

There are other advantages in getting paperwork in early; if there are any queries with the documentation submitted these can often be resolved before the examination and the import will not be delayed.

When is my container going to be examined?

You can check the location of your container on the Port of Felixstowe website

If the code is TTYCOLD then the container is at the TCEF/ coldstore (Temperature Controlled Examination Facility) being examined.

If the code is TTY70SH then the container is at 70 Shed the ambient examination facility.

Codes with a Q mean that the container is stored at the dedicated examination storage facility. Containers are often brought here the night before the examination is due, however, this does not guarantee that your container will be examined next day and you may wish to check with the relevant examination shed to find out when your examination is scheduled.

To find out which of the examination facilities to contact, you can check on Destin8 if you have access to it.

How long will it take for my container to be examined?

The Port of Felixstowe has a target time for examinations of two days after landing with a maximum of three days.

My consignment has been held/detained by port health what do I do?

Port Health reviews the manifests for every vessel entering the port. The descriptions are checked to ensure that consignments which are subject to controls under the law, or are considered to be a risk to public health; meet the import requirements. All suspect consignments are detained/held via the Destin8 system – which means that the consignment cannot leave the port until the detention is removed.

The descriptions on the manifest system are not very detailed and sometimes we will detain consignments that are not subject to checks because we don’t know what they are. For example plastic bags could be plastic bags containing food or they might be empty plastic bags.

If we detain your consignment you will need to send to us a copy of the invoice, packing list and bill of lading so that we can see what the product is and arrange for it to be released.

If you are importing a controlled product you will need to send through the commercial documents plus any certification or analytical reports that are required. You should check the import guidance pages for details.

How do I access EU Legislation?

EU legislation can be found at:

Under the tab ‘EU law’, click on ‘Legal Acts’. On next page click on ‘Search in legal acts’.

Half way down the next page in the boxes under ‘Document reference’ enter the year and number of the legislation. Click the ‘search’ button (top or bottom of the page).

On the next screen, click on the heading of the legislation you require. Make sure you select the correct legislation as different legislation can have similar numbers.

The heading of the legislation is a hyperlink to the legislation. (Note there is also a hyperlink to the latest consolidated version at this point if you need it but see below). On the next page click on the pdf icon under the language you require to bring up the original version of the legislation.

However the original legislation is frequently amended. Over time, these amendments are incorporated into a consolidated version of the legislation but note that a new consolidated version is not issued immediately the legislation is amended, it could be some months later. This means here may be some outstanding amendments not yet included in the latest consolidated version. So before using the latest consolidated version you must check there are no additional amendments not yet included which you need to know about.

To check, click on ‘Document Information’ on the left side of the screen. Scroll down and you will see, under ‘Amended by’, all the amendments to the original legislation and below that all the consolidated versions with the latest at the top of the list. If there are any amendments after the date of the latest consolidated version you will need to consult these too.

Please be aware that sometimes an amendment is included in the consolidated version but the changes do not come into effect immediately, e.g. a new certificate is laid down but the new certificate is not mandatory for 6 months. This delayed implementation will not be reflected in the consolidated version.

Also the preamble (the ‘recitals’) which explains why the legislation was issued now appear only in the original legislation and are not included in the consolidated version.

How much will I be charged for the examination of my consignment?

Charges are calculated annually on a cost recovery basis.

A list of the current Port Health charges can be found on the fees page.

Other Charges

In addition to the charge that Port Health makes the Port of Felixstowe may also make some additional charges to produce your container for examination and for the storage of the goods. Please see the full list of costs.


Devan/revan charges will be imposed where appropriate, you should discuss this with the LCL office. Costs are higher at the TCEF.

What are all the charges that I have got?

Importers sometimes contact us when they have received their final bill from their agent and find that it is higher that they anticipated. This may often be where the consignment has been refused entry and destroyed. In such cases there may be several elements to the charge some of which will be from port health and some which will be from the Port of Felixstowe to cover their costs of handling and storing your consignment.

You should ask your agent for a break down of the charge, so that you can find out which part of it relates to port health, if you are still concerned about the costs please contact us.

I am not happy with the service that I have received what do I do?

We are always sorry to hear if you are unhappy with the way that you have been treated.

We will always work with you to resolve any issues.

Please see the information in the Feedback section providing details about our complaints policy and advice about steps that you can take to raise your concerns with us.