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Transport and Logistics

Published: 4 November 2019
From: Department of the Taoiseach

As an island, Ireland is very dependent on maritime and air transport connectivity for imports and exports. The UK ‘landbridge’ is also very important for the distribution of goods, as is the use of direct shipping routes to continental EU ports.

The landbridge describes the route to market connecting Irish importers and exporters to international markets via the UK road and ports network. It is particularly important for short shelf-life products. With the UK leaving the EU, there are implications for the continued use of the UK as an efficient and reliable route to other markets.

Government’s priority is to continue to work with our EU partners to maintain air and road connectivity even in a no deal Brexit and to facilitate continued trade and economic development.

We want to minimise disruption to the UK landbridge while recognising that direct shipping routes to continental ports could provide potential alternative routes for traders who currently rely on the landbridge.


Airlines that may be affected by these areas are already acutely aware of the potential impacts of Brexit. Government has been engaging on these issues with the aviation sector, including through the National Civic Aviation Development Forum. The contingency measures proposed by the EU, if agreed, will ensure that flights between the EU and UK will continue, even in a no deal Brexit. These measures are dependent on the UK applying reciprocal measures. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Transporting goods through the UK - via the landbridge

After the UK leaves the EU, businesses will still be able to move goods between Ireland and other EU countries by road through Britain in either direction – using the route commonly known as the UK landbridge.

However, the way you use the landbridge will change. The most cost-effective way to move your goods via the UK landbridge after Brexit is to use the Customs Transit Procedure. This will mean that you won’t pay customs duty or other taxes in the UK or on re-entry to the EU.

There are additional simplifications, such as becoming an authorised consignor/consignee, that will allow you to begin or end the transit movement at your premises. This will further reduce the need to interact with customs at the port of departure/destination.

When using the Customs Transit Procedure, you must make a declaration on the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) . The transit procedure requires you to have a financial guarantee in place for the duration of the movement.

EU regulations require a documentary check on consignments of live animals, animal products, hay and straw. The person responsible for these consignments is required to notify the competent authority of re-entry, 24 hours before the consignment re-enters the EU via TRACES - the EU system for recording the movement of animals and products of animal origin. In addition to the documentary check, germinal products and certain categories of animal by-products are required to undergo an identity check at the point of re-entry into the EU.

To use the UK landbridge efficiently post-Brexit, businesses should:

  • Visit Revenue for further details on the Customs Transit Procedure, the NCTS and to apply to use transit simplifications, including how to become an authorised consignor/consignee.
  • Work with your bank or a customs agents/logistics provider to ensure you have the necessary comprehensive financial guarantee in place.
  • Register via the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) on the EU’s TRACES system if you are moving animals, animal products, hay or straw.
  • If not availing of the simplified customs transit procedure, familiarise yourself with location of the appropriate offices of departure/destination for opening or closing the intra-community transit movement.
  • Be aware of any routing and procedural changes within ports.

More information is available online from Revenue and DAFM . An overview of the key steps for moving your goods through ports in Ireland can be found here .

Operators may also find the following external resources useful: the European Commission lists all transit offices online; the French , Dutch and Belgian authorities have useful Brexit-specific customs and transit resources; and the ports of Calais , Rotterdam and Zeebrugge have Brexit resources available onlinr. The UK Government has also published advice for hauliers.

Road haulage

A no deal Brexit could disrupt Irish hauliers’ access to and through the UK. We are working with our EU partners to find solutions for the road haulage sector. In the event of no deal, the EU will have a temporary measure in place so that EU hauliers can continue to access the UK and vice versa. This is dependent on the UK applying reciprocal measures. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.

Driver licences

If you are resident in Ireland and hold a UK driving licence: If you hold a UK driving licence and are resident in Ireland, you should apply to exchange your UK licence for an Irish licence. In a no deal scenario, post-Brexit UK licences will not be valid for those who are resident in Ireland. You should contact the National Drivers Licence Service for further detail. The NDLS has also published some useful FAQs on its website .

In the case of non-EU or ‘third’ countries, legislation exists under our Road Traffic Acts to allow for the recognition of foreign driving licences for exchange purposes. If there is a no deal Brexit, the UK will become a third country, and arrangements can then be made for the exchange of UK driving licences.

However, this arrangement can only be made after the UK has left the EU. It also requires secondary legislation, resulting in an intermediary period where licences will be not recognised until the legislation is passed and enacted. This is why it is imperative that those who hold a UK driver licence, who do not wish to have any impact on their ability to legally drive here, should exchange their licence now.

Visiting Ireland on a UK licence: UK visitors to Ireland are not affected, there is no reason that you will not be able to drive in Ireland for holidays with your existing driving licence. You should not be required to carry an International Driving Permit with you in order to drive here, just ensure to carry your UK driving licence with you.

Driving in the UK on an Irish licence: The UK Government’s stated position is that, post Brexit, arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change. Visitors to the UK, with driving licences from EU Member States, will enjoy the same arrangements as today.

Certificates of Professional Competence

There are also potential issues around UK issued Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) for Drivers and Transport Managers and their continued validity post-Brexit and recognition of such in Ireland in a no deal scenario.

Driver CPC: A driver with a UK CPC who is resident in Ireland or working for an Irish company should exchange the UK CPC for an Irish CPC in advance of the UK leaving the EU.

Transport Manager CPC: In the event of UK leaving the EU with no agreement, UK issued CPCs will no longer be valid in Ireland or the EU. However, where a licenced operator’s Transport Manager does not meet the requirements, the competent national authority may provide some time (up to six months) for the operator to rectify the situation. It is also required that Transport Managers for road transport operators based in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU are resident in the EU.

Motor Insurance and Green Cards (Proof of insurance)

At present, vehicles from any EU country may travel within the EU without carrying documentation to prove that they have insurance in the country they are visiting.

If there is a no deal Brexit, the UK has confirmed to the Motor Insurer’s Bureau of Ireland that it will accept either a valid Irish motor insurance disc or a Green Card as proof of insurance for Irish-registered vehicles entering the UK. A Green Card is a document that proves that you have motor insurance cover when driving in another jurisdiction.

Most Irish motor insurance policies include cover for travel in the UK. If in doubt, policy holders should contact their insurance company to confirm that they are covered to drive in the UK.

Ireland is part of the EU framework under the Motor Insurance Directive. This means that Irish drivers will continue to benefit from current arrangements for driving throughout the rest of the EU.

In the case of a no-deal Brexit, Green Cards will be required for vehicles from the UK, including Northern Ireland, being driven in Ireland or other EU Member States.


Seafarers Certificates, industrial products, ship recycling and registered organisations are matters that are dealt with at an EU level with our European partners. The EU has issued a number of notices in this area which have been communicated to stakeholders.

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