How to Get a Goods Movement Reference


In the last year, changes have been made by the UK Government to update the way goods are shipped via customs to comply with the newly instated Brexit rules. Not only is there a new platform, the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (or GVMS), but lorry drivers and haulage firms now need to present a pre-lodged Goods Movement Reference number (or GMR number) which proves the award of customs declarations for entire shipments.

Why is a GMR number important?

This may sound like a headache, but in fact, the GMR number makes it simpler for those shipping goods to show that their inventory meets regulations, has been correctly covered and has been declared safe for travel outside of (or into) the UK. It replaces the need for multiple documents and speeds up the customs process for everybody involved.

What you need to do

Here is a breakdown of the steps you need to perform to obtain your Goods Movement Reference number:

  1. Apply for the necessary operator’s licence and any permits
  2. Register and obtain vehicle approval
  3. Make sure that the driver is eligible to drive abroad
  4. Make sure your driver is aware of the local road rules enforced in their scheduled destination
  5. Make sure you comply with the rules instated for the goods being shipped
  6. Check your driver has the right export documents and vehicle documents to hand

There are some requirements that need to be met to ensure safe and speedy travels, such as:

  • Your driver should have the details of the crossing to hand, with information regarding the departure and arrival port, the carrier, the registration number of the vehicle making the crossing and the departure time (if applicable)
  • Whether the vehicle arriving at check-in will also be making the journey past the crossing
  • The trailer numbers of any and all trailers that are attached to the vehicle (where applicable)
  • The direction of the crossing (departure/destination) 
  • Any necessary safety and security declaration references and transit declaration references

It is worth keeping in mind that each GMR number can only be used once and will contain the correct details for a single crossing, by one vehicle only.

When do I need a Goods Movement Reference number?

Typically, goods being shipped either to or from the EU to Great Britain (not including Ireland) will need a GMR number. Those coming from Ireland will only need one if goods are being transported under the Common Transit Convention using a Transit Accompanying Document.

Transactions between Great Britain and Northern Ireland have their own regulations – any goods shipped out to NI will need a GMR number, but those coming into Great Britain from NI will only require one if Common Transit Convention movements or TIR and ATA Carnet movements apply. You will also need one if export declarations for indirect exports are made through a Northern Ireland port or if transportation that comes under a customs special procedure is in effect (or appears on a list of goods where specific international processes apply).

All Goods Movement Reference numbers can be applied for via the GVMS portal and must be obtained before the journey (pre-lodged).

About the author

Adeline Darrow

Whisked between bustling London and windswept Yorkshire moors, Adeline crafts stories that blend charming eccentricity with a touch of suspense. When not wrangling fictional characters, they can be found haunting antique bookstores or getting lost in the wilds with a good map

By Adeline Darrow


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