Revenue has introduced a temporary easing of measures for the lodging of safety and security declarations that will help business meet their customs obligations and get their goods moving between Ireland and the UK.

Britain's departure from the European Union has introduced reams of paperwork and costs that must be completed to move goods across the new customs border. 

For Irish firms, it means a 12-fold rise in the number of import and export declarations, the tax authority warned ahead of the changes.

Revenue said it recognised that some businesses are experiencing difficulties in lodging their safety and security ENS (Entry Summary Declarations) in respect of RoRo goods movements and also said it was aware that some trucks have been denied boarding in Holyhead. 

"However, we expected challenges such as this to arise where trade and or business didn't make the necessary advance planning arrangements that we have strongly advocated over at least the last two years," Revenue said.

"We made it very clear in our engagements with industry that real, permanent and immediate changes would arise. Those who are having difficulties is the outworking of that warning," it said.

Revenue also reassured businesses that its ICT systems are fully operational and stable and working as intended and thousands of customs declarations have been processed. 

Businesses who have prepared and adapted their processes in line with the new requirements have been able to move their goods to and from Great Britain with minimal delay, it added. 

Revenue said the extent of the difficulties businesses are having as a result of the changes brought about by Brexit is evident from its engagement with various trade, industry and business stakeholders  over the past week.

"It is clear that many were not as prepared as they thought or significantly underestimated what was involved in being Brexit ready," it said. 

"Revenue will continue to actively work with trade and business, on both a collective and individual basis, to assist them in overcoming the challenges and issues arising," it added.

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Revenue said that a new Movement Reference Number (MRN) can be used on a temporary basis if a business is unable to generate the ENS due to the absence of key information or because of other impediments that prevent you completing the process. 

It said this will facilitate the completion of a company's customs formalities, the creation and population of Pre-Boarding notifications (PBN) and ultimately boarding of the ferry for movement of goods.

Take-up of this temporary facilitation will be a signal to Revenue that a company needs support, it said. 

"We expect trade and business with genuine difficulties that are impeding their ability to complete the ENS process to engage with Revenue in a cooperative endeavour to overcome their difficulties.

"A failure to engage may result in this temporary easement being withdrawn, so early engagement with Revenue is strongly encouraged," it added.

Lynda Slattery, Principal Officer at the Revenue Customs Division, has urged businesses to engage with Revenue to ensure that they can transport their goods through British ports to Ireland, and that they should not rely on the temporary measures put in place this week. 

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Ms Slattery said Revenue's temporary move to ease customs procedures for goods being transported through British ports to Ireland are already having an impact on easing the flow of freight. 

She stressed that the temporary easing is only on the elements of the "safety and security declaration, and that import, export and transit declarations are all still required". The full customs formalities still apply", she added. 

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Ms Slattery said Revenue have processed thousands of declarations in the past week, but said there is clear evidence that companies have underestimated how much preparation they needed to do post-Brexit." 

She said the new system is working "for those that prepared". 

But Eugene Drennan, President of the Irish Road Haulage Association, has said the post-Brexit system being used by Revenue is "letting haulers down".  

He told RTE's News at One that the Irish and UK systems are not compatible with each other, and that the declarations required is "overload, and cumbersome".

The temporary easing of border controls by Revenue is a "sticking plaster", he added. 

Meanwhile, the Director of Food and Drink Ireland, Paul Kelly, said the temporary Revenue measures "appear to be working".

He said there is a big administrative burden on companies now at customs post-Brexit. 

Meanwhile, Stena Line has reduced freight traffic due to problems caused by new customs and regulatory checks. 

It has cancelled 12 sailings over the coming five days on its Dublin-Holyhead and Rosslare-Fishguard schedules, due to travel restrictions, a decline in freight volumes and problems in supply chains.

Stena recently doubled its direct Ireland to France freight service in response to demand for an alternative route to the British "land-bridge" used by around 3,000 lorries each week pre-Brexit to ship goods to and from mainland Europe.

And logistics group DFDS said today that a high number of vehicles travelling from Britain to France have been refused entry or delayed due to having the incorrect paperwork after Brexit. 

Trade flows between Britain and the European Union have remained low this week after many companies stockpiled goods in late 2020 to avoid having to cross the new customs border in the first week after Britain left the EU's orbit on December 31. 

"We are experiencing a high volume of vehicles being refused and delayed at the Ports of Calais, Dunkirk and Dover, due to incorrect paperwork being presented at check-in," DFDS said on Twitter.