Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Out-But-In Brexit Customs Plan Has Hallmarks of Hastily Agreed Deal

18th October 2019
BrexitPorts: Small print on operational details of complex Irish Sea border checks has yet to be written. Above: AFLOAT adds is an Irish Sea ferry, the Belfast registered Stena Lagan which operates between Northern Ireland and Birkenhead (Merseyside) in the north-west of England. In addition Stena Line also serve out of Belfast linking Cairnryan, in Scotland where the British Ports Association's conference (see below) will next year be held in Aberdeen on the North Sea. BrexitPorts: Small print on operational details of complex Irish Sea border checks has yet to be written. Above: AFLOAT adds is an Irish Sea ferry, the Belfast registered Stena Lagan which operates between Northern Ireland and Birkenhead (Merseyside) in the north-west of England. In addition Stena Line also serve out of Belfast linking Cairnryan, in Scotland where the British Ports Association's conference (see below) will next year be held in Aberdeen on the North Sea. Photo: Jehan Ashmore

In a major change from the original Northern Ireland backstop to avoid a hard border will require a huge leap into the unknown. It is the area of customs.

In practical terms, The Irish Times reports, this is the most complex part of the proposed Brexit plan to manage, with much of the small print yet to be written.

By dropping the idea of a EU-UK customs territory in the original plan, London and Brussels have agreed to allow Northern Ireland to leave the EU customs union while still applying the bloc’s customs rules there.

In an effort to maintain an open Irish Border, the EU is outsourcing checks on goods coming on to the island – and possibly into the EU market – to the UK authorities, with EU officials entitled to be present for checks at (ferry)ports in the North, Scotland and England.

Beyond a broad line of how it would work, there is little detail on how it will be managed. It is not clear what exactly would happen to a truckload of widgets travelling from Scotland to Northern Ireland through Belfast Port on to Dublin and then further into the EU market. A similar customs proposal from the UK was dismissed last year by Brussels as unworkable.

The newspaper has more here to read. 

Afloat adds today marks the fourth and final day of the British Ports Association's annual conference which for the first time was hosted by Belfast Harbour. More than 300 industry representatives from across the UK and Ireland are attending.

As previously reported on Afloat, in advance of the event the BPA discussed the UK Government's 'new Brexit Border plan'. 

Published in Belfast Lough
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

tokyo sidebuttoncork300 sidebuttoncorkweek2020 sidebuttonroundire sidebuttonWave Regatta button full size

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating