Check how to move goods through ports that use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service
Find out what you need to do to get goods through customs if you’re using a UK port which uses the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.
You will not be able to move goods through ports using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service without a goods movement reference and you may face delays at the port.
The Goods Vehicle Movement Service brings together multiple declaration reference numbers into a single goods movement reference. This is to speed up the clearance of goods through customs.
When you’ll need a goods movement reference
You may need to create a goods movement reference for journeys of goods through locations using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service from:
- the EU (not including Ireland) to Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) — a goods movement reference is required for all movements
- 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
- Great Britain to the EU — a goods movement reference is required for all movements
- Great Britain to Northern Ireland — a goods movement reference is required for all movements
- Northern Ireland to Great Britain — a goods movement reference is required for movements in the following circumstances:
- Common Transit Convention movements
- Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) and Admission Temporaire or Temporary Admission (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.
How to move your goods
To move your goods, you’ll need to:
Find out which ports use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.
If you’re a trader sending goods
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 declarations
- Transport Internationaux Routiers (TIR)
- Admission Temporaire or Temporary Admission (ATA) Carnets
Alternatively, you must give the haulier your Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number) if you’re approved to make an entry in your own records and declare goods in this way.
If your goods are travelling under the Common Transit Convention, you must give the haulier the relevant movement reference numbers to be included in the goods movement reference.
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
You must enter references for all the goods contained in the vehicle, trailer or container. You must follow instructions to find out if you need to get your goods checked by customs on arrival, or if you’re able to continue your journey.
If your business has been hired by someone to move goods, you can register for an application platform interface (API).
If you’re a carrier
If you’re transporting a vehicle for a haulier, you must:
Check if the port where the goods are arriving is using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.
Get access to the carrier application platform interface (API).
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.
Last updated 29 December 2021 + show all updates
The requirements to get a goods movement reference from 1 January 2022 have been updated. This is because of changes to the goods vehicle movement service and the decision to temporarily extend staged customs controls for goods moving from Ireland and Northern Ireland (where applicable) to Great Britain.
From 1 January 2022, haulier's will need to check if they need to report for an inspection if they are arriving a the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel or Holyhead. Guidance on how to do this has been added.
More information about when you need a goods movement reference has been added.
Information about when you need a goods reference number and what to do if you're a trader sending goods that are travelling under Common Transit Convention has been updated.
Information about if you're a haulier using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service has been updated.