Check how to move goods through ports that use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service

Guide

Last updated 30 December 2021

You need to create a goods movement reference if you’re moving through a border location using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

This is a new requirement at ports using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service. You will not be able to move goods without a goods movement reference and you may face delays at the port.

This service brings together multiple declaration reference numbers into a single goods movement reference. This is to speed up the clearance of goods through customs.

You may need to create a goods movement reference for the following journeys:

  • goods from the EU (not including Ireland) to Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) — a goods movement reference is required for all movements
  • goods from Ireland to Great Britain — a goods movement reference is only required if you’re moving goods under the Common Transit Convention using a Transit Accompanying Document
  • goods from Great Britain to the EU — a goods movement reference is required for all movements
  • goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland — a goods movement reference is required for all movements into Northern Ireland ports using the goods vehicle movement service
  • goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain — a goods movement reference is required for movements through Northern Ireland ports using the goods vehicle movement service in the following circumstances:
    • Common Transit Convention movements
    • TIR and ATA Carnet movements
    • EU (Ireland) export declarations for indirect exports from Ireland to Great Britain through a Northern Ireland port
    • movements from Northern Ireland to Great Britain under a customs special procedure or on a list of goods where specific international processes apply

If your movement type is not listed, you do not need to create a goods movement reference even if travelling through a port using the goods vehicle movement service.

If you’re a trader

If you are a trader sending goods, you must:

  1. Check if the port where the goods are arriving is using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service because you need to pre-lodge declarations.

  2. Before the goods arrive at the departure port you must give the haulier your movement reference numbers from any safety and security declarations, import or export declaration, TIR and ATA carnet numbers. Alternatively you must give your EORI number if you’re approved to make an entry in your own records and declaring goods in this way.

  3. If your goods are travelling under common and union transit, you must give the haulier the transit accompanying document, as well as the movement reference numbers for any safety and security declarations. A single vehicle may be carrying more than one transit movement. You must give the haulier a Transit Accompanying Document for each movement and a movement reference number for each safety and security declaration.

If you’re a haulier

If your business has been hired by someone to move goods, you must:

  1. Check if the ports where the goods are moving from and to are using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

  2. Register for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service if you’re a haulier.

  3. Get a goods movement reference — you must enter references for all the goods contained in the vehicle, trailer or container.

  4. You must follow instructions about whether you need to get your goods checked by customs on arrival or if you’re able to continue your journey.

For imports from 1 January 2022

You should use your goods movement reference number in the ‘check if you need to report for an inspection’ service to understand if your goods are held. If you’re arriving into the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, you’ll need to attend an Inland Border Facility to have these checks carried out. For all other goods vehicle movement service locations, you must proceed to the inspection facility within or near the port if your goods are held.

In some cases you may also be stopped by Border Force officers within the port to have checks performed on your vehicle or load.

If this happens, you must still attend an inland border facility to complete customs functions if you have been instructed to do so.

The goods must be taken to an inland border facility directly and the goods must be in the same condition as they were at the time of importation.

You may be liable to a penalty of up to £2,500 if you fail to follow HMRC instructions.

For exports from 1 January 2022

Please see check which locations need an arrived export declaration from 1 January 2022.

If you’re a carrier

If you are transporting a vehicle for a haulier, you must:

  1. Check if the port where the goods are arriving is using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

  2. Get access to the carrier application platform interface (API).

  3. Check if a goods movement reference is valid.

If you’re a postal operator

If you’re a postal operator or an Extra-Territorial Office of Exchange and goods you move include postal items moved under Universal Postal Union rules, you must tell the haulier to select the ‘Postal Declaration’ option when creating their goods movement reference. This applies to goods with CN37, CN38 and CN41 movement documents, and CN22 and CN23 item declaration forms.