The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is a system devised to bring multiple declaration reference numbers into a single Goods Movement Reference (GMR). The intention is to speed up the clearance of goods through customs at ro-ro ports to and from the EU.

Whilst this will not really have any major effect for movements out of the UK, it will force a dramatic change on how operations are fulfilled for movements into the UK from the EU. Below is a cut-down simple resume of the process. Yes, there are some variances, but it’s all about keeping it simple. HMRC issued an updated guide at the end of 2021 which is a good summation of what, why and how.

Two points to note are; that in order to be able to facilitate GVMS, the code ‘RRS01’ needs to be included in the export/import customs document at box 44. This informs HMRC’s systems that the goods will be travelling through a GVMS port, the second that one should use the Short Straits Dual Location code (FLC) which enables the drivers to switch from ferry to Eurotunnel or vice-versa without having to refresh the GVMS data.


For exports from GB to the EU, the ‘arrived’ export entry DUCR number must be provided for each shipment contained in the trailer. All DUCRs are entered into GVMS along with details of the route being taken and the vehicle registration number. Optional additional data can be provided, such as ATR Carnet numbers, Transit MRNs, TIR Carnet numbers, amongst other details.

A GMR will be issued, which the haulier must present on arrival at the point of exit which, assuming all consignments have passed authorisation to proceed, the vehicle will be allowed to board the ferry/Eurotunnel. If anything is incorrect, the vehicle will not be allowed to proceed until errors are rectified.


For import from the EU to GB, this is where we expect most complications to arise.

In brief, it means that all the import processes must be completed before the vehicle reaches the EU port of exit. All imports are pre-lodged and each ERN* (Entry number) is entered into GVMS along with vehicle registration (and trailer number if unaccompanied), details of the route being taken, plus additional information (ATR Carnet, TIR Carnet, Transit documents, as applicable); all of this in order to produce a GMR (Goods Movement Reference). Where an importer (or its representative) is authorised to use EIDR under their EORI number, this is entered instead of a ERN.

* ERN is provided using the current CHIEF system, but Import entry MRN would be used instead under forthcoming new system CDS)

The GMR is presented at the EU port of exit and it is electronically checked to ensure that all of the contents entered into GVMS relating to this GMR are present and correct. If anything is incorrect, the vehicle will not be allowed to cross into the UK until errors are rectified. During the crossing the status of each job is assessed and as the vehicle disembarks, the vehicle will either be ‘free to proceed’, or will be directed for further processes and/or inspection.

We believe that the specific exception for imports from the island of Ireland also extend to the requirement to make GVMS submissions, although that is still slightly unclear.

What happens if anything is wrong?

As said above, if anything is incorrect, the vehicle will not be allowed to board until the errors are corrected.

Whose responsibility is this?

According to the UK government, this is a process that they would expect the actual haulier to do. However, they can pass this to an intermediary to do this. If the haulier intends to do it, the haulier needs all of the information passing to them in order that they can perform the operation. Whilst there is a manual portal available for all hauliers, irrespective of their nationalities, they are required to obtain a GB EORI number and also to register on the UK’s Government Gateway system to use the service.

A further point to mention is that only one GMR can be created per unit load.

It is therefore likely that the burden of doing this will rest with a forwarder. Having invested in our systems we have agreed to act as the intermediary for all of our hauliers which we load complete trailers.

It all sounds so simple doesn’t it!? However, the issue is timing. We cannot pre-lodge an import consignment without vehicle and trailer details as well as proposed crossing details and estimated time of crossing. We cannot therefore make any preparations until we receive confirmation of loading.

Whilst there are ways ’round it’, it really does boil down to being ahead of the game.



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