The fallout from the UK decision to leave the EU will have profound consequences for all stakeholders involved. The full extent of these consequences will take months, even years, to emerge. However, what is absolutely clear is that the European country to be impacted most by Brexit, perhaps even more than the UK itself, is Ireland. This is because Ireland is so heavily dependent on trade with Britain, far more than any other EU country, and also because of the unique historical and political relationship between the two countries.
Carriers Please note
A safety and security entry summary declaration (ENS) must be lodged in respect of all goods where Ireland is the first point of arrival into the EU (i.e. direct imports from non-EU countries which do not arrive in Ireland via another member state). The carrier is responsible for the lodgement of the ENS and it is lodged electronically via the Import Control System (ICS) in advance of the goods arrival.
The deadlines for lodging the ENS vary depending on the mode of transport carrying the goods into the customs territory of the Union.
The data required in the ENS includes the details of the Consignor, Consignee, Carrier etc., the transport document references, place of loading/unloading, goods description etc.
Currently Norway, Switzerland (including Lichtenstein) and Andorra are not members of the EU. They are however members of the EU security area and an entry summary declaration is not required for goods originating from these countries. It may well be that a similar arrangement could be put in place between the EU and the UK. As in many other areas, the question is whether such an arrangement could be put in place before Brexit. If not, carriers that previously dealt exclusively with goods plying between the UK and Ireland will need the systems and software to permit them to engage with ICS.
The EU rules on safety and security requires that a notification of arrival must be lodged at the customs office of arrival for all sea going vessels and aircraft entering the customs territory of the Union. Legislation provides that the requirement for an Arrival Notification from the Carrier may be waived where the information is otherwise available to the customs authorities. We have dispensed with the requirement for an arrival notification because we already receive arrival information on all sea going vessels and aircraft from DTTAS and DAA respectively. It is not envisaged that Brexit will place any strain on these processes
All goods brought in to Ireland from a 3rd country, the status which will most likely apply to the UK post Brexit, must be presented to customs immediately upon their arrival at a pre-designated customs office or at any other place approved by customs for the presentation of goods, e.g. temporary storage facility. In Ireland in the case of goods arriving by air and sea, this requirement is fulfilled by the lodging of the e-manifest. There are two distinct processes in the e-manifest procedure, depending on whether the goods are non-union or union goods. Currently goods coming from the UK are union goods and, while a manifest is required for the enforcement of national prohibitions and restrictions, there are no systematic controls imposed on these goods. However, post Brexit these goods will be non-union goods and as a result the manifest will be fully processed and the goods in question will not be released until all customs formalities have been completed.
Presentation in a land frontier scenario is likely to require both a form of electronic notification as well as physical arrival of goods at a designated customs station.
All goods imported into Ireland from the UK will be required to be declared to Revenue electronically through the Direct Trader Input (DTI) facility. This system allows importers or their agents to clear consignments at import by lodging an electronic Customs declaration to Revenue. The form and manner of the Customs Declaration for release for free circulation is determined by EU law and there is no possibility for a reduced or simplified data-set based on the country of origin. Simplified Procedures may be approved but only on a trader by trader basis and subject to the relevant conditions
Although a relatively uncommon procedure at present, Temporary Importation is likely to see a major growth. Given our geographical proximity to the United Kingdom, the temporary movement of goods between the two States is very significant. An obvious example is the three-day national ploughing championship which sees a significant volume of equipment moved into Ireland from NI and the UK for the duration of the event. If the UK were no longer in the EU, all of these products would need to be declared under the Temporary Importation Procedure with guarantees or ATA Carnets required for the period of the Importation. In addition to the routine processing of the associated declarations, EU customs procedures would require a significant level of checking to ensure the re-export of these goods at the conclusion of the Temporary Importation period.
A further concern would be the number of times that equipment (e.g., large construction equipment or even just tools) moves a few miles over and back across the border with N.I. today. Given that these temporary movements would now be across the border of the EU customs territory, controls would be unavoidable.
Goods to be exported to the UK will need to be covered by a pre-departure declaration to be lodged electronically at the competent customs office via AEP; this pre-departure declaration may take the form of an export declaration that contains the necessary data for risk analysis and safety and security purposes. The obligation to ensure that a pre-departure declaration is lodged within the time-limits lies with the carrier
Entry to the UK
Once the goods have been released for exit they will be free to leave the declared office of exit and move to the UK. On entry to the UK the goods will need to be declared for import into the UK. While Irish import and export declarations are subject to the rules on format and content set down in EU law, the UK will determine exactly what data they need in respect of each transaction and in what format it should be lodged. Again, this will present carriers and exporters with an extra administrative burden and will require them to have access to whatever systems that HMRC develop for such declarations. In all likelihood, this should be an expanded version of the CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) system used to process imports into the UK from 3rd countries today. It is understood that this system is in the process of being upgraded at present, so it can be assumed that any new system will have the necessary inbuilt capacity to deal with post Brexit volumes.
A further potential complication is that a post Brexit environment would see the UK permitted to apply any national prohibitions and restrictions that they deem necessary to goods that are presently deemed to be in free-circulation
Goods arriving into Ireland from (or through) the UK
Under transit, it is possible for goods to proceed directly to an inland location before customs formalities need to be completed. Where a trader wishes to move goods arriving from or through the UK directly to their premises they will need to be approved as an authorised consignee and also have the appropriate premises approved as a Temporary Storage facility as the goods will have the status of non-union goods.
Where traders are not approved as authorised consignees then those goods declared for the transit procedure would be required to be presented at the declared customs office of destination for control purposes and in order to end the transit procedure. This in effect would require that current Revenue offices not assigned the function of a customs office of destination in NCTS would need to be assigned that status and be in a position to provide suitable examination facilities where necessary controls can be performed. Providing suitable facilities and associated human resources may prove difficult for Revenue.
Economic Operators Registration Identification (EORI)
While it is not deemed necessary for carriers to have an EORI number to transport goods to and from Northern Ireland it is a requirement for carriers to register for an EORI number if travelling to or through the UK. EORI is a system whereby every trader who interacts with Customs Authorities in any Member State of the EU is allocated a unique reference number. A declarant is obliged under legislation to register for EORI. Any trader not established in the customs territory of the Union must apply for an EORI number at the customs authority or, if different, the designated authority of the Member State where the declarant first will lodge an entry summary declaration. This means any trader exporting goods from the UK to Ireland who does not currently possess an EORI number will need to apply here for one. Currently there are some 22,000 Irish registered Economic Operators involved in the Import/Export business. With the number of VAT registrations at 250,000, it would be expected that a significant number of new registrations will occur.
Express Carriers and couriers
There are four global express carriers operating In Ireland namely DHL, FEDEX, TNT and UPS. In an industry that continues to grow, there are also a large number of smaller operators e.g. GLS, DPD, Nightline, Fastway, etc. All of these companies would have significant volumes of goods coming from the UK. Currently, these goods move relatively freely and are only subject to minimal levels of control for prohibitions or restrictions purposes. However, post Brexit these goods will need to be declared as Imports and subsequently be subject to the associated customs controls.
The aforementioned “big 4” express carriers already have the necessary infrastructure and systems to deal with customs formalities for their UK traffic, but most other operators will need to significantly upgrade. In addition, customs resources will be needed to carry out physical controls at the depots of larger operators or at the relevant port, airport or frontier station in the case of smaller operators where volumes would not justify customs attendance at individual premises. It should also be noted that all couriers moving via road from Northern Ireland will also need to be adequately controlled.
Time limits for lodging an Entry Summary Declaration
Time limits for lodging an Entry Summary Declaration
Mode of Transport
- Containerised maritime cargo
24 hours before loading onto the vessel on which the goods will enter the customs territory of the EU
- Bulk or Break-Bulk maritime cargo
- Air Transport
- Road Transport
- Combined Transport
- 24 hours before loading onto the vessel on which the goods will enter the customs territory of the EU
- 4 hours before the arrival of the vessel at the first port of entry into the customs territory of the EU
- No later than the actual time of departure
- 1 hour before the arrival at the place for which the customs office of first entry is competent
- Time limit applicable for the active means of transport entering the
customs territory of the EU