Brexit Update 14-10-20

Posted by owen

Irish importers and exporters now understanding importance of GB ‘landbridge’ in terms of BREXIT

At this time, it remains unclear as to whether there will be a trade agreement before 31 December 2020.  The on-going uncertainty presents many challenges for logistics providers and their customers.

An element which for many Irish SMEs importing and exporting to continental Europe has largely gone unappreciated until now is the extent to which these routes depend on the GB ‘landbridge’.

Goods between Ireland and Europe generally move over or ‘transit’ the GB ‘landbridge’ but the UK’s departure from the EU has made the route’s future problematic in terms of customs checks and queues at ports for those who do not recognise that they need to work with their logistics suppliers to prepare.

As a minimum, companies will need to establish a list of EORI numbers for companies involved in their cross-border supply chains.  EORI stands for “Economic Operators Registration and Identification number”.  Businesses and people wishing to trade must use the EORI number as an identification number in all customs procedures when exchanging information with Customs administrations.

The EORI number exists out of two parts:

  1. the country code of the issuing Member State; followed by
  2. a code or number that is unique in the Member State.

It is vital that the EORI numbers you supply are valid.  All EORI numbers can be checked in the handy online EORI Checker.

Use the handy online EORI Number Validator to check your EORI numbers are valid.

Those Irish SMEs that do not prepare or engage with their logistics supplier risk severe disruption to their supply lines.  At best, they will face serious congestion and delays caused by new regulatory checks at Irish, GB and EU ports.  It is also possible that fines will be imposed while the loads are unable to travel and companies could also face huge storage costs.

It is essential that Irish SMEs importing and exporting to continental Europe talk to their logistics suppliers to get a clear understanding of where customs clearance responsibilities lie and what can be done to prepare for BREXIT and help minimise disruption to their supply chains.

Top BREXIT Preparedness tips for SMEs

  1. Talk to your logistics supplier
  2. Get your list of EORI numbers together
  3. Make sure your logistics supplier can act as your Customs Agent if required

In the next few weeks, as negotiations between the EU and UK hopefully come to an end, we will begin to roll-out the systems and procedures we have developed to help us and our customers successfully transition to the new post-BREXIT environment (whatever that may be!).

Donard McCann

LL.B, MSc. Head of Brexit Coordination