Requests to Revenue for post-Brexit customs warehouses rises

More firms seeking sign-off for duty-exempt storage to hold UK goods after March

Revenue officials are said to be busy inspecting warehouses for authorisation in time to handle goods from the UK before it leaves the EU on March 29th, 2019, as companies step up no-deal planning.

There has been a steady increase in applications for customs bonded warehouses to store non-EU goods without paying import duty or VAT in preparation for Brexit.

The rise in applications is a signal of Irish storage companies and transport companies stepping up their planning for imports coming from the UK when the country is outside the EU from March 2019.

The Revenue Commissioners has approved applications for five bonded warehouses this year and is processing a further six as firms prepare get ready to handle goods from the UK as a non-EU country.


This is up from nine applications in 2016, excluding 45 companies in Shannon Free Zone which was removed from the EU’s union customs code that year, and 10 that were approved by the Revenue in 2017.


There have been three times as many applications for authorisation to operate bonded warehouses in the years since the Brexit referendum in 2016 as there were in the two years before the vote.

Revenue officials are said to be busy inspecting warehouses for authorisation in time to handle goods from the UK before it leaves the EU on March 29th, 2019 as companies step up no-deal planning.

Businesses that import materials in bulk or hold goods for extended periods of time before exporting the goods again or releasing them into general circulation tends to use customs bonded warehousing.

Duty and Vat payments are not made until the products are moved. No duty or Vat is paid on goods exported outside the EU, while no Vat is paid until goods are dispatched to another EU country. Bonded warehouse space can be held within part of an existing warehouse if the boundaries are clearly marked.

Graham Wilson, who runs global moving and relocation company RAS Group in Blanchardstown, Dublin, said the company was currently applying for its own customs bonded space in its warehouse.

“One official said to us that he has never seen it so busy with companies seeking approvals,” he said.

The Revenue said that it was working with Government departments and agencies with responsibility for facilitating trade from non-EU countries to ensure goods arriving from the UK “move efficiently post-Brexit”.

The vast majority of trade from non-EU countries, about 92 per cent in 2017, do not require any interaction with Revenue or any department or agency and can be dealt with the submission of customs declarations.


Additional documentary checks took place in 6 per cent of products arriving from non-EU countries into the State in 2017 and physical examinations in only 2 per cent of cases, according to the Revenue.

“Revenue have been actively engaged with other Government departments, trade representative bodies and individual trades to ensure they are fully aware of their customs obligations in order to ensure that the majority of goods movements continue to move freely through our ports and airports post-Brexit,” a spokesman said.

“This is heavily reliant on the provision of customs declarations and any supporting documentation in advance of the arrival of goods.”

As part of contingency planning in the UK, major car manufacturers BMW, Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors are buying up bonded warehouse space at British ports as they prepare for Brexit.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times