Customs formalities when importing LNGs into Finland

Image of an LNG gas tank

Finland is a major importer of liquid nitrogen gas (LNG) from outside of the EU, but how does customs work with this commodity? Hanna Santala, from our Finnish office, explains in this article.

Tell us about the LNG trade in Finland

Most of the LNG trade in Finland is to do with imports. Norway and the USA, both of whom are not in the EU, are two of the main providers of LNGs to Finland. Most of the liquid nitrogen that we see here at Customs Support Finland is from Nordic suppliers.

Do you need any special licences to import LNGs into Finland?

LNGs are offloaded into pipes and sent to warehouses before being distributed. These must be customs warehouses that have permission to hold excise goods.

What do Customs Support Finland help with?

We provide import customs clearance for LNG traders here in Finland, as well as customs consultancy and applying for customs permits.

One of the things we’ve helped a lot with recently is being compliant when it comes to using floating terminals.

To explain: usually a vessel docks, the tanks are funnelled into the pipes, and the gas is transported to the bonded warehouse. With the creation of floating terminals, however, the LNGs are stored at another site before going to the mainland warehouses.

The issue is that these floating terminals were not seen as customs facilities in Finland, so they were not authorised for holding goods with suspended taxes. Clients were required to pay excise and VAT, even though the goods were destined for an excise-approved facility inland.

It was unclear whether the exemption from import tax in § 94(1)(2) of the VAT Act applied to gas imported to floating LNG terminals. We carried out research and received confirmation from the authorities that the exemption clause can also be applied in this case, in which case the importation and, in particular, the customs clearance phase do not cause difficulties.

It is important to note that this rule for floating terminals varies throughout the EU. Some countries will not allow excise to be suspended; some also require VAT to be paid. You must check with your local authority, or work with a customs consultant in your country.

Need advice on customs and LNGs in Finland?

Customs Support is here for you. As the first AEO-approved company in Finland, our consultants are habitually up to date with learning and implementing changes to legislation. If you need help with customs when importing LNGs into Finland, contact us today.