Shannon Chamber Urges Companies to be Customs Ready when Exporting to the United Kingdom

Major change can always be subject to glitches, and the current delays being experienced by hauliers and freight forwarders in transporting goods from Ireland to the United Kingdom, while linked to issues with technology, can also be partly laid at the doors of some exporters and importers who don’t have the systems in place for trading with the UK as a third country.

That is the view of Shannon Chamber director, Eoin Gavin, who is vastly experienced in dealing with international trade, as the owner of Eoin Gavin Transport.

“The delays we, as hauliers, have experienced in the past week are due, in part, to issues with the synchronisation of two IT systems, run by Irish and UK Revenue.

“Hauliers have to complete a three-part process when shipping goods. They must prepare a customs entry and get an MRN reference, or pre-clearance to ship. They then need to complete an ENS, which is a security document duplicating most of the customs’ entry detail and, laterally, they need to prepare a PBN or a permission to board a ship with the load; this must incorporate all the MRNs and ENSs. As these three layers are being completed, Revenues’ systems try to tally and match them up in the background but, this is not working, resulting, in many cases, in one stage wiping out the other stage.

“That’s the crux of the problem,” added Gavin.

“Shannon Chamber has brought this to the attention of local and national political representatives as if the issues are not resolved swiftly, it will have a significant impact on the economy. There are other issues regarding drivers getting notifications of the status of their goods – green or orange – before disembarkation from ferries at Irish ports, a display screen on the ferries and the requirement for a simple driver phone app to be put in place to make this process easier and in line with UK/France procedures, which we have also highlighted and look forward to these receiving priority attention.”

Blame for delays can also be attributed to many companies, who, despite adequate notification, are simply are not Brexit-ready.

“Many don’t have the correct paperwork ready for shipping to the UK. It is evident that some companies were waiting for a Deal to be negotiated, believing that everything would be simple and easy.

“This is not the case; the United Kingdom is now a third country and companies have to treat exports to this jurisdiction as if they were being sent to other non-EU countries.,” stressed Gavin.

Outlining the new requirements for trading with the UK, Gavin added: “Companies must apply to Revenue for an EORI number; they need to access the correct tariff codes for their products and have these on their invoices and they need to know their terms of trading, in other words, who they are selling to and who is taking the cost of the transport. If these papers are not in order, then companies are not ready to ship and will experience delays in their supply chain.

“As a Chamber of Commerce, we want our members to understand exactly what is required. We held a pre-Brexit webinar late last year to emphasise this and we will be holding a follow-on webinar on Thursday, 28 January from 12 noon until 1pm in association with PwC to review issues that companies are now experiencing and to advise them how to redress them.

“These new exporting requirements are new but easily managed once companies have the correct processes in place. It’s natural that we have experienced teething problems; all are surmountable and we look forward to seeing trade between Ireland and the UK run smoothly in the months ahead,” added Eoin Gavin.

Further information on the post-Brexit webinar with PwC can be found at