What does a FLEGT licence cover? One shipment? One container?

As stipulated in the FLEGT Regulation, a FLEGT licence covers a single shipment. Note that a shipment is covered by a single Import Declaration in the EU but may include several containers.

Do shipments that are split among operators require multiple FLEGT licences?

The number of FLEGT licences required depends on when the shipment is split. According to the definition of ‘shipment’ in the FLEGT Implementing Regulation (Regulation 1024/2008), one single FLEGT licence should not be declared to more than one customs office in the EU. And one single FLEGT licence should not correspond to more than one customs declaration.  If the shipment splits before export, the initial FLEGT licence should be cancelled and new ones should be issued for each new split part of the shipment. 

If the split takes place after the shipment has left the country of export, the importer for whom the FLEGT licence has been issued should declare the entire shipment and then to proceed to split the shipment with the other operators. If the operator splits the shipment before declaring it at EU customs, information contained in the FLEGT licence and the shipment(s) will not match. In this case, the EU FLEGT Competent Authorities will not release this shipment for free circulation in the EU.

Can a single FLEGT licence cover multiple containers?

Yes. The FLEGT Regulation requires that a FLEGT licence covers only one shipment but one shipment may include several containers. If, for instance, 20 containers are covered by a single Bill of Lading or purchase order, a single FLEGT licence is sufficient provided it displays all the required information related to the products being shipped in the 20 containers. In theory, one FLEGT licence could cover several containers shipped on different vessels and arriving at different times in the EU. However, this would be impractical as despite arriving in different ports, these containers would have to be declared to the same EU customs office in one single Import Declaration.

Can the country of custom clearance differ from the country of destination indicated in a FLEGT licence?

The European Union is one customs area, and the country of destination and the country where customs is cleared can be different. For example, a shipment listing a trading company operating in the port of Hamburg in Germany as destination could be customs cleared in Austria. So information on the FLEGT licence regarding the country of destination is indicative, and only for use by the exporting authorities.