Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme: groupage and mixed load consignments


Last updated 31 July 2023

This guidance is for traders and hauliers moving consignments of scheme-compliant agrifood products within grouped loads (known as ‘groupage’) from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Details of eligible products can be found in the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS) guidance.

It also notes the steps to take to utilise the certification and standards benefits of the NIRMS when moving scheme-compliant goods in a load which contains non-NIRMS goods (which will be subject to full Official Control regulations (OCR) controls).

You can read existing guidance on moving groups of agrifood products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland under full OCR compliance.

What is groupage

‘Groupage’ movements are groups of products, collected from two or more companies, or a single company moving a mix of NIRMS and non-NIRMS goods, transported in a single sealed trailer or container.

Under the Windsor Framework you can continue to move goods using any of the following groupage methods:

If you use a haulier to transport your goods, you should agree with them which model you should use for the movement, and therefore whether they will need to register for NIRMS.

Moving multiple consignments under the NIRMS

In order to move grouped consignments under the NIRMS, both the business listing the Establishment of Departure (the ‘consignor’) and business listing the Establishment of Destination (the ‘consignee’) must be members of the NIRMS.

All consignments in the load must be NIRMS compliant.

Businesses may need to register multiple Establishments of Departure and Destination if sending goods to or from several addresses.

Consignor actions

In line with current arrangements under STAMNI, after contacting the haulier to arrange the movement of goods, the consignor will:

  • complete a General Certificate (GC) for the consignment
    • where a consignor is sending goods bound for separate traders and/or establishments, GCs will be required for each consignment (i.e: one GC per unique journey
    • each GC will include one Establishment of Departure and Establishment of Destination
  • provide a packing list with your GC
  • submit both the GC and the packing list, confirming consignment meets the scheme conditions
  • send the GC and attachments to the Consignee in Northern Ireland, who will raise a Common Health Entry Document (CHED)

Consignee actions

In line with current arrangements under STAMNI, once the GC and all attachments have been received from the consignor the consignee will:

  • Produce a retail movement CHED at least 4 hours in advance of arrival in Northern Ireland, using TRACES-NT, attaching the GC (including seal number) and packing list. When completing the CHED, the person responsible for the goods in Northern Ireland should enter:
    • the word ‘Groupage’ in box 1.3
    • the estimated time of arrival in the NI port In box 1.10
    • the trailer number in box 1.13
  • The Northern Ireland destination business must inform DAERA of the arrival of the goods at the Northern Ireland listed establishment within 48 hours as is currently the case under STAMNI

Sealing your NIRMS consignment (and if all consignments on lorry are NIRMS consignments)

All consignments must be sealed with an authorised seal under appropriate supervision. The seal must have a unique identifier with associated number, and the number must be included in the GC.

DAERA will complete all verifications of the seals in line with the requirements of the scheme.

To assist with identity processes of groupage consignments, a paper duplicate of the consignors’ commercial seal must be attached to the outside of the consignment.

When the load is complete, the haulier will seal the lorry.

Completing the consignor and consignee steps before arriving in Northern Ireland will facilitate the grouped load moving swiftly through the Northern Ireland SPS Inspection Facility.

Procedure for a mixed load of NIRMS and non NIRMS consignments

If the grouped load contains a mix of NIRMS compliant goods and consignments which are not eligible for the NIRMS, the lorry as a whole cannot benefit from all the facilitations under the NIRMS.

However the subsection of goods which are compliant with NIRMS requirements will still benefit from moving under a general certificate, rather than requiring veterinary signed health certification for all individual products, as well as the ability to move under the relevant UK standards that scheme applies where applicable. For example, chilled meats still could move in mixed loads where the relevant consignment within the truck was moving under NIRMS.

For mixed loads, the consignments in the load which are not compliant with the NIRMS will need to meet full OCR sealing requirements. Where a lorry/container contains non-NIRMS consignments, it must also meet those sealing requirements and any other relevant OCR control procedures.

Depending on the nature of the goods, they may also be able to benefit from the customs elements of the Green Lane and therefore be ‘not at risk’ for tariff purposes. You can find further guidance on declaring goods ‘not at risk’.