Avocet Clearance plans to assist NI businesses navigating challenging customs rules

Avocet Clearance plans to assist NI businesses navigating challenging customs rules

Importers moving goods through Northern Ireland are choosing to pay unnecessary customs duties for fear of non-compliance, according to one customs consultancy.

Manchester-based Avocet Clearance has recently expanded its services to Northern Ireland, due to demand for specialised knowledge and experience in the region, particularly surrounding new customs declaration requirements.

Holly Tonge and James O’Neill, who are customs consultants by trade, founded Avocet Clearance when they identified a gap in the market for customs brokerage during the run-up to Brexit.

The company has experienced a high uptake for its services since the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, growing from two members of staff to more than 20 in less than 12 months.

“We initially set up our office in Manchester concerned at how unprepared for the changes many traders were, and we now support over 600 clients across an array of industries, based in both the UK and Europe. It especially helped that we had experience in handling more complex consignments such as live animals and excise goods,” company co-founder James O’Neill said.


Holly added: “When speaking to traders moving goods through Northern Ireland, we have found they are often very confused about their responsibilities, or how they are meant to go about fulfilling them in practice.”

“We were shocked to hear that many importers are opting to pay unnecessary customs duties for fear of the consequences of non-compliance.”

There are two main systems used for customs declarations in Belfast; the Customs Declaration Service (CDS), recently replacing CHIEF to handle rest of the world imports and exports, and the Trader Support Service (TSS) which was introduced to handle the new admin requirements and declarations between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

These are in addition to the National Computerised Transit System (NCTS) which supports movements within the EU. Avocet Clearance says it removes the need for companies to try to navigate the complexities of these systems and processes.

Patrick Stratford has been appointed to lead the team in Northern Ireland. Patrick has worked with a number of local companies and has extensive knowledge of Northern Ireland trading procedures with the UK, EU and the rest of the world.

He said: “I was delighted to join the team and lead the operations in Belfast. It has been highly rewarding taking the stress away from traders, who no longer need to worry about outstanding TSS declarations, or who were looking for alternative solutions to move goods into, out of or through Northern Ireland. We have also helped many importers save significant amounts of duty.

“Of course, as a company, that’s not all we offer support with. We are often arranging transport and origin or destination clearance for them as well, for a complete end-to-end solution through our network of partners, especially across Europe. My previous experience lends itself perfectly to this role having worked and assisted companies in the agriculture, retail, pharma and manufacturing sectors.

“It’s Avocet Clearance’s mission to remove any administrative barriers for Northern Irish companies and become the ‘go to’ for those that require assistance when moving goods. With a team founded on extensive experience and excellent customer service, and having achieved the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status within our first year in business, we are sure we can deliver.”

The Belfast office is located at the Scottish Provident Building, Donegall Square West.

For more information, visit the website: www.avocetclearance.co.uk.


Photo caption:

Image one: Avocet Clearance, a Manchester based customs clearance firm, has recently opened a new office in Belfast at the Scottish Provident Building. Company Co-Founders, James O’Neill and Holly Tonge are pictured with Patrick Stratford, left, who will lead the team in Northern Ireland.

Image two: Avocet Clearance, a customs clearance firm based in Manchester has recently opened a new office in Belfast at the Scottish Provident Building. Pictured are company Co-Founders, James O’Neill and Holly Tonge, alongside Patrick Stratford, who will lead the team in Northern Ireland.