A new online training programme to support Irish businesses deal with increased customs requirements as a result of Brexit has been launched. 

The programme, provided free of cost, comes from Skillnet Ireland, in conjunction with the Government's "Getting Ireland Brexit Ready" campaign.

It was developed in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). 

By the end of the year 2020, businesses - trading either with or through the UK - will be subject to a range of new customs formalities and other regulatory requirements. 

It is estimated that the number of customs declarations required will increase, from 1.6 million a year to an estimated 20 million after the UK's departure from the Customs Unions and Single Market. 

Skillnet Ireland said these changes will happen regardless of the outcome of the ongoing negotiations and businesses will find it increasingly challenging, without the necessary arrangements in place or required skills in-house, to deal with these additional responsibilities.

The Clear Customs training programme is targeted at Irish businesses, or others acting on behalf of businesses such as customs intermediaries. 

The initiative, which is being made available immediately to eligible businesses, together with customs agents and intermediaries, will be delivered through a new mobile app and virtual classroom training sessions.

Skillnet Ireland's chief executive Paul Healy said there are now less than four months to go before businesses that trade with Great Britain will see significant changes in the customs regime.

Mr Healy said this poses serious challenges for many businesses and they will need to ensure as soon as possible that they have the skills and tools to respond.

"Our collaboration with Carlow Institute of Technology to accredit this programme adds additional value to both participants and businesses, while our partnerships with key industry bodies such as CILT and Government agencies ensures that the Clear Customs programme fully addresses this important business need," he added.