Ro/Ro Cargo and Ireland

Learn more about GVMS and Ro/Ro Traffic from UK to IE

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is a key part of Ro/Ro trade between the EU and the UK, but how is it different in Ireland? Find out in this article.

The GVMS process

When transporting goods between the EU and the UK, the Goods Vehicle Movement Service is the mechanism for processing the export and import clearances once the vehicle has boarded the ferry.

To do this, both the import and export declaration MRNs need to be assigned to the GVMS system before the vehicle can board the ferry.

Upon completing your registration on the GVMS, your Goods Movement Reference (GMR) will be generated which acts like the Unique Consignment Reference you are used to seeing with containerised and other inventory movements.

When the ferry departs, both declarations will be processed and you will receive the results of your clearance before arrival at the destination.

This is how it works for trade between Britain, Northern Ireland, and mainland EU, but not for the Republic of Ireland.

How is GVMS different in the Republic of Ireland?

You still need to raise a GMR for goods that are leaving the UK for the Republic of Ireland (ROI), but the import process is finished on a different system.

The ROI requires Irish Ro/Ro clearances to be assigned to the Pre-Board Notification (PBN) system. The mechanism is the same as that of the GVMS, but the system is different. All cargoes which have a commercial nature (or use a special process such as Transfer of Residence or ATA Carnet) must be registered on this system before departing for the Republic of Ireland.

Clearances are also processed differently on arrival in the Republic of Ireland, with green, amber, and red status (known as channels) applied to all import shipments.

When your driver is aboard the ferry, they will receive a text with an update on their cargo’s status approximately an hour before arrival. If a text is not received because of signal or some other reason, there are also terminals on board and on arrival for checking.

Being allocated the red or amber channel means that a further check is required upon landing. This “Call to customs” can be for a variety of reasons which are normal, such as documentation check, unpaid duty and VAT, Port Health examinations, or for X-Ray.

A green channel allocation means that you are cleared to remove the cargo from the port. If you have not received advice that you have green channel clearance, you should not remove the goods from the port!

Common issues associated with Ro/Ro between the Britain and the Republic of Ireland

  • Like GVMS, it is important for you to have all of your Movement Reference Numbers (MRNs) attached to your PBN. Otherwise, you risk arriving with goods which have not been declared to Irish customs.
  • Check that you have definitely received a green channel clearance and not a red or amber one. You cannot leave the port without release for removal.

Need customs clearance in Ireland or the UK?

Customs Support is here for you. With several offices across the UK and Ireland, our declarants work with businesses like yours to provide smooth sailing across the Irish Sea. Contact us for more information.