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Import & Export Between Northern Ireland and the UK: Explained!

Here at Speedy Freight, we know that the post-Brexit customs negotiations can be complex to understand. Since the UK’s exit from the EU in January 2021, the ongoing establishment of the UK’s customs and trade agreement with our neighbouring countries and states has meant changing the process of import and export. 


The process of importing and exporting between Northern Ireland and the UK has therefore changed from its inception prior to Brexit – so it’s important to understand what you need to do before you begin. Here in this guide to importing and exporting between the UK and Northern Ireland, Speedy Freight breaks down what you need to know.


Import & Export between Northern Ireland and the UK 

Due to the Northern Ireland Protocol which honours the Good Friday Agreement of no hard border on the Island of Ireland, there are some slightly more complicated import and export requirements than simply transporting goods from one place to another in the UK, even though Northern Ireland is still part of the UK. To move goods into Northern Ireland, customs entries on the goods are required – but these are not full entries identical to the customs declarations required by the EU.


The customer awaiting the consignment in Northern Ireland will need to be registered with Trader Support Service (TSS) as well as having an EORI number starting with XI in order to correctly follow the customs entry requirements. Speedy Freight will need information to ensure that the procedure can be followed: check out our checklist for importing goods to Northern Ireland below: 


  • Confirmation that importer is registered with the TSS
  • Importer & exporter EORI numbers
  • Collection and delivery locations
  • Consignment details – weight, goods description, package type
  • Speedy job number
  • Registration and nationality of the vehicle
  • Dates of travel and arrival
  • Route of travel




Once the entry is completed on the TSS site, and has been authorised by customs, Speedy Freight will then produce a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) for the driver. This GMR is a barcode, which is to be scanned on departure. For ease, for both the driver and the customer, the best route to arrive into Northern Ireland will see us travel through either Larne or Belfast. 

Once goods have arrived in Northern Ireland, the team at TSS will then work closely together with the customer to complete the remainder of the customs entry process.


Import & Export between The Republic of Ireland and the UK 


The Republic of Ireland remains part of the EU, unlike the UK. This means that full export and import entries are needed, despite there being no border with Northern Ireland. If our client does not have a customs agent in the Republic of Ireland, Speedy Freight can help to appoint one.

Our customer will need to contact  Revenue (which fulfils the same capacity as HMRC here in the UK) to advise which individual or organisation they are working with, Speedy Freight will advise the correct contact details. It is important to note that the confirmation from Revenue can take a minimum of three days, due to an increased workload throughout the Brexit and pandemic period. Once the confirmation from Revenue has been received, the import entry can officially be started.

It is possible that these can be routed to arrive into Dublin, but the import entry must be done prior to loading. This is because your Speedy Freight driver will need a boarding pass (Pre Boarding Notification – PBN), which is created from details from the export and import entries. This boarding pass is needed for any import into the Republic of Ireland before the vehicle can board a vessel. It is also possible that these goods can be routed to arrive into Northern Ireland and then transported down into the Republic of Ireland, and this import can be done after arrival. Here at Speedy Freight, this is a frequently-used means of transporting consignments into the Republic of Ireland.

If you’d like to consult with our experts about how importing and exporting goods between the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, or find out more about our international logistics, Speedy Freight can help. Simply get in touch with us today and we’ll be able to get your goods on the road – as fast as possible! 



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