' . t('You are here') . '

Preparing for End of Transition


In the build up to the end of transition the challenge for the Irish Sea Logistics industry is significant.

Seatruck Ferries is here to help and want to provide our customers with information and support to understand the procedures that will be in place at our terminals.

All Irish Sea operators will work on the same pre-lodgement model and our systems will be adapted to comply with the new procedures and to permit entry of the new information required prior to check-in.

The pre lodgement model is when both the importer and exporter has completed the customs formalities along with the haulier completing any safety and security declarations and pre-lodgement processes prior to arriving at the port of departure.

The pre-lodgement will ensure that delays at terminals are minimised as loads will clear customs during the crossing. However some goods will still be subject to routine and random checks following discharge.

By the nature of this short summary document we cannot cover every issue that different businesses face but we have provided additional information links.

The situation is now relatively clear with regards to movements into Dublin but less so with routes into Northern Ireland. We will endeavour to update this document with the latest information as more is known.

We are here to help, but it is now essential that all customers understand the requirements from 1 Jan 2021.


From 1 January 2021 traffic moving on our routes connecting Dublin with Liverpool and Heysham will be subject to full customs procedures, irrespective of a free trade agreement being reached

On these Dublin routes customers will be required to pre-lodge all relevant customer documentation prior to check-in and provide Seatruck with both the Irish ‘PBN’ (pre boarding notification) and UK ‘GMR’ (goods movement reference).

These reference numbers will group all declarations together that relate to that movement, simplifying check-in.

At check-in the PBN and GMR will be validated. Traffic attempting to check-in without valid PBN’s and GMR’s will not be granted access to the terminal.

Seatruck IT systems will be adapted to permit on-line entry of these numbers. By pre-booking and using Seatruck online facilities the check in process will be made as simple as possible for customers.

On our Heysham Warrenpoint route a GMR will be required for movements from Heysham – Warrenpoint. Traffic from Warrenpoint – Heysham will most likely move without requirement for any new documentation. However the situation with Northern Ireland is not yet agreed with the EU and is therefore subject to change.

Customs model UK - Ireland

UK - all Irish Sea routes to/from UK will operate under the UK’s ‘Pre-Lodgement’ customs model.

Ireland - Dublin will operate under the ‘Pre-Boarding Notification’ rules within the ROI ‘Customs Roll-on Roll-off Service’.

The core requirement under both of these models is that all necessary declarations – export and import, including safety and security – will need to be completed prior to checking in at the port of departure, without exception.

These models will each generate a single ‘envelope ID’ reference number that will be used at check-in to validate that all declarations have been completed.

Ferry bookings will need to be updated with the Goods Movement Reference number (GMR) from the UK Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), and the ROI Pre-Boarding Notification reference number (PBN) from the Customs Roll-On Roll-Off Service, before check-in can take place. Without the relevant references against a booking, you will not be able to check in or enter the port / drop a trailer. Important notes

With additional processes to undertake prior to boarding, check-in times will be fully applied from 1/1/21 and may need to be amended as procedures are clarified.

Please ensure that your supply chain lead-times reflect the need to make full declarations prior to check-in.

Many food products and Products of Animal Origin (POAO), that were previously in free circulation will require pre-notification to relevant authorities 24 hours in advance of arrival. Customers should familiarise themselves with all requirements and be aware of potential impacts on supply chain lead times.

What should you be doing now

  • Apply for an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number in your home administration
  • Ensure that for all goods you are moving, it is clear who will make export and import declarations and that they will be ready for 1st January. If you are the declarant, appoint a customs intermediary to act on your behalf if you do not intend to undertake this work yourself.
  • Depending on the shipping routes you utilise, as a haulier you will need to be registered (or have agreements with qualified parties to register and act on your behalf) with GVMS (UK) and the Customs Roll On/Roll Off Service (ROI), as well as the relevant UK/EU systems for registering safety and security declarations. It is highly likely you will also need access to other systems – refer to relevant state authorities’ guidance.
  • You (or an agreed party as above) will be responsible for completing all safety and security declarations (ENS), for both accompanied and unaccompanied shipments. If shipping under transit arrangements through the CTC mechanism, consider applying for or encouraging your main partners to apply for Authorised Consignor / Authorised Consignee status at their premises to avoid congestion and delays at customs facilities, especially if these are at a port location.
  • We understand that some original hard copy documentation may be required to travel with a vehicle or be available at its point of entry at the time it arrives (for example Export Health Certificates, Transit Accompanying Documents or TADs); please check full requirements with authorities. We will not be able to accept such documents into our care or operate a ‘Ship’s Bag’ arrangement - if you ship unaccompanied trailers, please ensure that you have made suitable arrangements for the secure transfer of such documents with the load they relate to – for example in a lockable document box attached to the trailer - allowing for inspection by the authorities if required.
  • Seatruck Terms and Conditions will be amended to reflect responsibilities in this new environment; please ensure that you review all updates in detail.

Northern Ireland

The final situation with goods moving on UK-NI routes such as Heysham Warrenpoint is yet to be fully agreed with the EU and is therefore subject to change.

Goods moving from Warrenpoint to Heysham will not be subject to any checks and no new declarations of any type will be required providing unfettered access to the UK market from Northern Ireland.

Goods moving from Heysham to Warrenpoint will require a GMR number prior to check in. The UK Government’s Trader Support Service (TSS) is being established to provide information and to process entries on your behalf, free of charge. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trader-support-service

The procedures regarding traffic using Warrenpoint and then crossing the border into Ireland are still under review with more information expected soon.

The procedures regarding traffic originating from Ireland crossing the border and using Warrenpoint as an exit port are still under review with more information expected soon.

MySeatruck and EDI links

Seatruck is amending MySeatruck and EDI services to support customs single references.

Bookings can be created just as they currently are; the GMR and PBN can be entered along with the booking or appended prior to the unit checking in.

Seatruck will offer a method of validating single references; our systems will communicate with HMRC or Irish Revenue and confirm that the single reference is valid or not within a few seconds.

If you are not currently using MySeatruck or EDI, we would encourage you to do so. Please apply here or email [email protected]


Useful links

UK links

Ireland Links