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Government Operational Update - Dublin Port – First week post Brexit transition

At the end of the first week following the completion of Brexit, trade volumes have been lower than anticipated, but are beginning to build, and State agencies are working intensively with trade and business to support them in complying with new customs formalities. 

New checks are inevitably taking additional time, but this time is minimised through the completion of necessary procedures in advance. Business and trade are reminded of the importance of the submission of timely and accurate information and of the support and advice available to them from the relevant state agencies.

The new customs formalities are required now that Great Britain is fully outside of the European Union to ensure that Ireland fulfils its obligations as a member of the EU and that the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union is protected.

This is vital for Irish businesses in order to assure our European partners that goods in free circulation in Ireland, and potentially eventually ending up elsewhere in the EU, meet key requirements, such as food and product safety standards.

Over the course of the week, traffic volume on ferries arriving into Dublin Port and Rosslare Port has grown from 61 inbound goods movements between the 1st and 2nd of January to 689 inbound goods movements between the 7th and 8th of January. The percentage of vehicles/trailers being ‘Green Routed’ in Dublin Port and Rosslare Port, meaning that these goods could leave the port immediately upon their arrival, rose from 28% on 1st/2nd January to 68% on 7th/8th January.

The efforts and work of trade and business and their representative bodies in meeting the challenge of the UK departure from the EU are fully recognised. 

New Customs Formalities

Relevant Government Departments and State agencies have engaged extensively with trade and business, collectively and individually, with the clear focus of helping them adapt to the new customs formalities and to assist them in overcoming the challenges and issues arising. Based on this engagement, businesses have been found to fall into the following broad categories:

  • Businesses which are fully prepared, are submitting customs declarations and creating Pre-Boarding Notifications (PBN) without any issues and have had a relatively seamless transition to operating under the new procedures
  • Businesses which had prepared well, but are still less familiar with the practical operation of the new procedures and are still on a steep familiarisation curve.
  • Businesses which have not prepared well and in some instances not at all. These businesses have faced significant challenges in moving goods under the new procedures.
  • For exports, the evidence is that customs formalities are being complied with and there are no significant challenges for business.
  • For imports, for the core import declarations, the evidence and feedback suggest that trade and business, subject to some bedding in of new processes and deepening the levels of familiarisation with the procedures and formalities, is working well.
Importance of complete and accurate customs declarations
  • The submission of timely and accurate information as part of making customs declarations is essential in order for Revenue and other State agencies to be able to facilitate legitimate trade with the minimum of interruption.
  • The arrival of consignments where there are incomplete or missing declarations have resulted in such movements being stopped and delayed until all of the outstanding formalities and necessary declarations are completed. This has meant that truck drivers and the goods they are transporting have been held up at the port.
  • The period of delay, where it has arisen, has been dependent on the relevant business or transport company providing all outstanding information and documentation to the relevant State agency.  
  • Customs and other State agency officials are on site 24/7 and are working with hauliers to obtain all outstanding information as soon as possible. The goods are being cleared to exit the port once all of the documentation is in order. 
ENS Declarations
  • Arising from extensive engagement with business and trade, a particular challenge was identified in relation to the completion of the necessary import safety and security (ENS) declarations that are an integral part of completion of customs formalities.
  • Acknowledging the challenge, once identified, a temporary administrative easement measure has been put in place by Revenue on 7th January. A dedicated ENS Master Reference Number (MRN) has been provided. This will enable businesses to complete their customs formalities, allow for the creation and population of the PBN which ultimately permits the vehicles carrying the relevant goods to board the ferry.
  • Take-up of this temporary facilitation will be a signal to Revenue that support is required. A dedicated team has been set up to provide practical guidance and upskilling to trade and business who use this temporary facility. This will enable all businesses currently experiencing difficulties in completing a valid ENS declaration to develop the capability to lodge ENS declarations after the temporary facilitation period.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Checks

In addition to customs procedures, the EU’s SPS rules now apply to all imports of animals, plants and products of animal and plant origin from Great Britain, just as they do to goods coming from other non-EU countries.

  • The volume of SPS goods requiring import controls at both Dublin and Rosslare ports has been relatively small. In general, good preparations had been made by operators responsible to comply with EU requirements.  In some cases, issues have been encountered that have led to the checks taking longer, or consignments being detained.  
  • Importers are reminded that the person responsible for importing the consignment must complete a Common Health Entry Documents (CHEDs) in the EU Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). Creating a correctly completed CHED, at least 24 hours in advance of arrival of the consignment in Ireland, as well as the submission of the health certificate through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s (DAFM) Imports Portal, will speed up the passage of goods through the SPS checking process.  
  • Detailed advice for businesses can be found on
  • The Department continues to provide advice and support to agri-food businesses at this time at Border Control Posts and through a dedicated Brexit support line on 076 106 4443 and email
Traffic Management
  • Plans have been in place to deal with traffic congestion, should it occur at Dublin Port and Dublin City (particularly the Port Tunnel and motorway system). 
  • Traffic levels, including through the Port Tunnel, are being actively monitored by Dublin City Council, Dublin Port Company and Transport Infrastructure Ireland. This ongoing and coordinated monitoring provides the information necessary to trigger implementation of a phased traffic management response, if required.
  • Traffic levels in the Port and on the adjacent road network have been lower than usual over the past week in comparison to the same period in 2020

Notes to Editors

Revenue Engagement with business and trade

With the clear focus of assisting businesses with the transition and providing information that will assist with familiarisation of new processes, in this past week Revenue has:

  • provided important Customs advice to hauliers and truck drivers moving goods from Great Britain (GB) into Irish ports
  • issued a detailed step by step (sequenced screenshot level) guide on how to create and, if necessary, edit a PBN for import and export declarations
  • provided information and clarification on the correct procedure for completing an ENS (Entry Summary Declaration) declaration for RoRo movements
  • engaged with freight forwarders on a collective basis
  • engaged with individual businesses to resolve matters specific to their business models
  • engaged with shipping companies in relation to companies having difficulties in boarding ferries in Great Britain
  • issued stakeholder group updates
  • provided significant level of support to businesses through their range of support services (24/7 Customs telephone helpline (01) 7383685, eCustoms Technical Support and
Customs Channel Look Up
  • It is really important that drivers check their customs channel within 30 minutes of the arrival of the ship using the Customs RoRo Service.
  • This will give them certainty about what they need to do and where they need to go when they have disembarked the ferry.
  • The timing of the channel check is key - the customs channel will not be available before 30 minutes out because Revenue’s risk analysis process is running while the ship is travelling between GB and here.

Useful Links

For details and practical advice, see Brexit Hub

For relevant contact details, see Brexit - If you need to call