A new Enterprise Ireland survey of 600 companies has revealed that customs and logistics are the top priorities among businesses as the January Brexit deadline approaches.
Enterprise Ireland said this was especially prominent among manufacturing companies with 75% stating that customs and logistics are among their top four priority areas.
When asked about preparedness, 42% of companies said they were fully or significantly ready for Brexit.
However, one in five companies are still trying to understand what they need to do as the January 1 deadline looms.
In relation to the main barriers for Irish companies preparing for Brexit, 75% of companies surveyed cited the uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit negotiations and 56% cited their focus on Covid-19.
Giles O'Neill, Manager of the Brexit Unit with Enterprise Ireland, said today's survey reveals that companies are rightly focused on the customs and logistics challenges.
He said that regardless of the outcome of negotiations, there will be new customs procedures for Irish firms carrying out business activities to, from or through the UK.
Mr O'Neill said that Enterprise Ireland is determined to support Irish companies to meet this challenge and it is now accepting applications for its 'Ready for Customs' grant.
This grant provides up to €9,000 for new employees hired to perform customs duties and can be used to defray the cost of recruitment, salary and IT infrastructure.
The Revenue Commissioners estimate that the number of customs declarations will increase from about 1.7 million a year to 20 million in 2021, which will need about 2,000 additional staff to process them.
Giles O'Neill said there is currently not enough customs clearance capacity in Irish businesses.
"This is a real risk that could ultimately damage valuable relationships with UK customers. I would urge all companies, particularly those who offer customs intermediary and logistics services, to apply for this grant," he added.