Moving goods to and from the EU after 1 January 2021

09 December 2020 - Elizabeth Nichols

If you are a trader, haulier or carrier and need to move goods through Customs at a UK port then you need to act now to ensure you have the correct paperwork for 1st January 2021.

Registration has now opened for a goods movement reference which you will need if you move goods to and from the EU. You will also need this for transporting goods from GB to Northern Ireland and may need it for moving goods from there back to the mainland. Register for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service – GOV.UK (

What is a goods movement reference?
This is a new requirement from the government’s Goods Vehicle Movement Service, which is designed to bring together multiple declaration numbers into a single goods movement reference. The intention is to speed up clearance of goods through Customs. The reference will be needed even if the vehicle is empty.

What can I do to prepare?
If you don’t have an EORI number then you must register for one as soon as possible through the Government Gateway which you can do online Get an EORI number – GOV.UK ( You’ll need your Government Gateway username and password.
You can then register for the service. Once you have registered then you should look out for government guidance on getting your goods movement reference.

Is there any more I need to do at the moment?
There are now only a few weeks until the January 1st switchover date, so we recommend that hauliers, carriers and traders act now to organise their paperwork where they can.
If you are a haulier and have been hired by someone to move their goods:

  • Register online for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service to get a reference number and guidance as soon as it is available.
  • Check that the ports you are using will be operating the Goods Movement Vehicle Service.
  • Make sure you and your drivers are clear about instructions (when available) on whether your cargo needs to be checked by Customs on arrival, or if you are able to continue your journey.

Government advice is being updated on almost daily basis and we recommend that you check the webpages as frequently as you can. These are some of the relevant pages to check:
Carry out international road haulage from 1 January 2021 – GOV.UK (
HMRC Developer Hub
Transport goods out of the UK by road: step by step – GOV.UK (
Register for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service – GOV.UK (

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