What’s happening in Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The UK Government published its Border Operating Model on 25 June 2020 – a further update was published on 7 October. This document gives valuable information as to how the process of importing and exporting will change next year.
Click here for the Border Operating Model

The process for importing and exporting goods through British ports will change. There will be a phased approach towards the introduction of customs and agri-food checks:

  • From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods will have up to six months to complete customs declarations, this control is at the EORI number level. We recommend that the customs declaration is processed as close to the arrival day as possible to prevent a backlog of declarations building up. Certain controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco will have to be declared from the 1st January 2021. There will also be a need to declare all high- risk live animals and plants on arrival. A full list of controlled goods can be found in section 1.2 of the Border Operating Model
  • From January 2021: Export declarations will have to be completed prior to dispatch of goods destined for the EU along with goods for ROW as you do today
  • From January 2021: Transit forms will be required if your goods are not being declared at the first port of arrival in the EU
  • From April 2021: All agri-food products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation
  • From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations prior to or at the point of importation, pay relevant tariffs and submit full Safety and Security declarations.  From July 2021, some ports in Great Britain will adopt a ‘Pre-lodgment’ system called GVMS in which there will be a requirement to have the UK import declaration available before the goods can leave the EU port. Other ports will use a ‘Temporary storage’ model in which the declaration can be made before, upon arrival or after the goods have arrived in the GB port

More accurate information needs to be shared with P&O Ferrymasters when the transition period comes to an end. The information is listed on our ‘what you should do now' page needs to be shared ‘live’ so as not to delay your goods. We are required to record and share this information with shipping companies and authorities so that ‘safety and security’ declarations can be completed to allow us to cross the borders.

Trading with Northern Ireland will change as different arrangements will apply for this part of the United Kingdom. The UK Government published its approach to implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol on 20 May 2020 and published further detailed guidance on 8 August 2020. The UK Government will establish a new, free service, the Trader Support Service (TSS), which will record electronic information on goods movements into Northern Ireland from Great Britain and the rest of the world.


P&O Ferrymasters - Email:


Useful websites

UK Government Transition Page

UK guide on how to prepare

Northern Ireland TSS

Irish Government

Irish PBN

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