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January 30, 2024

Customs controls for goods moving from Ireland to Great Britain

In a move that will significantly impact trade routes, the UK Government’s final version of the Border Target Operating Model, published in August 2023, has outlined new customs controls for certain goods moving from Irish ports to Great Britain. Effective from the 31st of January 2024, this development will introduce full customs controls for specific categories of goods.

For goods imported directly from Ireland into Great Britain, excluding those moving from or through Northern Ireland, import processes will become mandatory. Additionally, goods traversing from Northern Ireland to Great Britain through Irish ports will also need to complete import processes under several conditions.


Goods falling under the following categories will be subject to import processes:

  • Non-Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods:

Goods that do not meet the qualifying criteria for movement without customs controls will now have to adhere to the import requirements outlined in the Border Target Operating Model.

  • Excise Goods (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Energy Products):

The importation of excise goods, including alcohol, tobacco, and energy products, will be subject to customs controls when moving from Irish ports to Great Britain.

  • Goods not moving directly to an Irish port from Northern Ireland:

Goods that, post-departure from Northern Ireland, do not move directly to an Irish port and are, for example, held in storage in Ireland will be required to follow the import requirements set out in the Border Target Operating Model.


This adjustment in customs controls requires a thorough understanding of the new import processes outlined in the Border Target Operating Model. To ensure a seamless transition and compliance with the updated regulations, businesses involved in these trade routes are advised to review and align their operations accordingly.

As your business adapts to these changes, staying informed and proactively addressing compliance requirements will be essential to maintaining the efficiency and integrity of cross-border trade between Ireland and Great Britain.


Further help and support

For any inquiries or clarification on the revised import processes, we encourage you to visit the Imports and Exports: General Enquiries section on GOV.UK. Alternatively, if your shipment is with us, get in touch with any queries you might have – we’re always happy to help.

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