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Customs rules relaxed amid post-Brexit backlog

Revenue officials made the decision to temporarily lift some regulations in response to delays and trucks being refused entry on to ferries.

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Revenue Commissioners have relaxed some customs rules in response to delays and trucks being denied boarding on ferries (Niall Carson/PA)

Revenue Commissioners have relaxed some customs rules in response to delays and trucks being denied boarding on ferries (Niall Carson/PA)

Revenue Commissioners have relaxed some customs rules in response to delays and trucks being denied boarding on ferries (Niall Carson/PA)

Irish customs authorities are temporarily relaxing regulations around goods moving from Great Britain, as traders face backlogs due to border controls and paperwork.

Revenue Commissioners made the decision to lift some customs rules in response to delays and trucks being refused entry on to ferries.

Exporters shipping goods to Ireland have to complete post-Brexit paperwork, which is causing administrative pressure for companies.

Revenue officials issued a general code for hauliers to use to overcome administrative difficulties and allow the movement of goods to ports.

In a statement, Revenue said it recognises that some businesses are experiencing difficulties in lodging their safety and security ENS (entry summary) declaration for the movement of goods.

“In response, Revenue is implementing a temporary easement to alleviate these current difficulties,” it said.

“We expect trade and business with genuine difficulties that are impeding their ability to complete the ENS process to engage with Revenue in a co-operative endeavour to overcome their difficulties.

“A failure to engage may result in this temporary easement being withdrawn, so early engagement with Revenue is strongly encouraged.”

In a statement issued to the PA news agency, a Revenue spokeswoman said they are aware that trucks have been denied boarding in Holyhead.

“Revenue appreciates that the new requirements and customs formalities present significant challenges and impose additional burdens on businesses,” she said.

It is clear that many were not as prepared as they thought or significantly underestimated what was involved in being Brexit-readyRevenue Commissioners

“However, we expected challenges such as this to arise where trade and or business didn’t make the necessary advance planning arrangements that we have strongly advocated over at least the last two years.

“We made it very clear in our engagements with industry that real, permanent and immediate changes would arise. Those who are having difficulties is the outworking of that warning.

“However, the extent of the difficulties businesses are having as a result of the necessary changes brought about by Brexit is evident from our engagement with various trade, industry and business stakeholders over the past week.

“It is clear that many were not as prepared as they thought or significantly underestimated what was involved in being Brexit-ready.

“In this regard, Revenue has put in place temporary facilitation measures relating to the lodging of safety and security declarations that will help businesses to meet their obligations and get their goods moving.”

Meanwhile, ferry operator Stena Line is cancelling 12 of its crossings from Friday until next Tuesday because of the post-Brexit decline in freight and passenger numbers.

Problems in the supply chain have resulted in a significant fall off in freight volumes this week at our Holyhead and Fishguard portsStena Line

In a statement, Stena Line said it is reviewing the sailings and schedules on Irish Sea routes as a result of Irish travel restrictions and the decline in freight volumes during the first week of Brexit.

“Problems in the supply chain have resulted in a significant fall off in freight volumes this week at our Holyhead and Fishguard ports,” the company said.

“Our business model is based on a freight and passenger combination, so to have the two parts severely restricted at the same time is putting severe pressure on our ability to maintain our normal levels of frequency on certain routes.

“Volumes are expected to remain light as we move towards the weekend, consequently we will reduce some sailings on a temporary basis.”

Northern Ireland is following the rules of the EU single market to avoid a hard Irish border and has shifted checks on food standards to Irish Sea ports.

Goods arriving from Great Britain are among those subject to checks under the agreement made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the EU.

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken called for the UK Government to put pressure on HM Revenue & Customs to ease trade flows into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

“This move from the Irish customs authorities demonstrates why we warned the Irish Government about their negotiating approach and the implications of it,” he said.

“The geography of these islands will always require pragmatism and we are seeing that today.

“Anyone who has encountered the frustration of empty shelves in supermarkets this week will be questioning why our own Government can’t take similar action.

“Despite ridiculous claims from the Secretary of State, amongst others, there is a regulatory border in the Irish Sea and we are seeing the impediments it is causing.”

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: “Despite what the Secretary of State may claim, there is a border in the Irish Sea which is disrupting trade with Northern Ireland and also with the Republic of Ireland.

“The evidence becomes clearer by the day but it is ironic that, whilst the UK Government slavishly follows the diktats of the EU single market requirements and the bureaucracy attached to it, the Irish Government has been prepared to sweep EU documentation demands aside.”

PA


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