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Customs Clearance in Belfast Port

Navigating the Waves: A Deep Dive into Belfast Port

Dating all the way back to 1613, Belfast Port has been extremely important for the province of Ulster. Representing around 20% of Belfast’s city area or 2000 acres and handling 70% of all seaborn trade that enters Northern Ireland, Belfast Port is the region’s largest cargo port. As well as this, Belfast port is Northern Ireland’s largest passenger port, accommodating 1.5 million ferry passengers every year.

With the handling of 24.5 million tonnes of cargo in 2022, Belfast Port is the fifth busiest commercial port in the UK. Located on the eastern coast of Northern Ireland, Belfast Port is a critical link in the supply chain of many Northern Irish businesses, connecting the region to the UK and mainland Europe.

Customs Clearance in Belfast Port

Due to it being part of the UK but located on the island of Ireland, Belfast Port has a very complex customs clearance procedure. As well as this, Belfast Port is capable of handling various types of cargo. These include bulk cargo, containerised goods, and general cargo. This diverse cargo handling capability means that port authorities are heavily involved in customs clearance procedures. The port authorities have invested in its customs clearance procedures. This is to ensure goods pass through Belfast Port while abiding by customs laws and regulations.

  1. Documentation: Similar to other international cargo ports across the world, documentation is necessary when importing and exporting goods through Belfast Port. The documentation needed for trade through Belfast Port includes commercial invoices and/or packing lists of the goods being imported or exported, import declarations, export declarations and airway bills/bills of lading. These documents contain vital information needed for customs clearance. The information that must be included in these documents are; value, weight, country of origin, commodity code and incoterms. If customs authorities are not given this infomration goods will not be allowed travel through Belfast Port.
  2. Checks: Goods entering and leaving Belfast Port can be subject to checks. These checks include physical checks, identity checks and documentation checks. These inspections are put in place in order to ensure goods match the description in the accompanying documentation and to ensure all goods are traveling with the appropriate declarations. Checks will become more regular in the future due to the new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM). If you would like to learn more about these regulations check out our blog here: https://customscomplete.com/border-target-operating-model-uk-import-control/
  3. Registration: Anyone who wishes to trade using Belfast Port must have an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This number is needed to engage in any customs activity. This unique identification is included in all customs declarations, and it allows customs authorities to monitor trade activities.

Other customs clearance procedures include the paying of taxes and duties for imported goods. It is crucial that companies trading through Belfast Port abide by all procedures and processes. Most businesses that import and export goods through the port partner with customs agents or brokers. These specialists can use their extensive knowledge to help you seamlessly navigate the troubled waters of customs clearance procedures in Belfast Port. Reducing costs, delays and most importantly, stress!

For more information about Belfast Port visit: https://www.belfast-harbour.co.uk/

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