The Goods Vehicle Movement System

This article will provide businesses in Ireland and Northern Ireland with an understanding of the Goods Vehicle Movement System, how it works and how to register.

A yellow and red truck driving passed each other


The Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS) is a UK government IT system which is designed to support import, export, and transit movements. The aim of this system is to facilitate the immediate release of goods from a port where a pre-lodged declaration has been submitted.

How does the GVMS work?

All pre-lodged declarations for individual shipments of goods generate a Movement Reference Number (MRN). GVMS collates these individual Movement Reference Numbers and converts them into one single Goods Movement Reference (GMR). A GMR is a unique reference which can only be used once. This can then be presented to officials at the port of embarkation by the driver of the vehicle transporting the goods.

GOV.UK has a full list of which locations are using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

Businesses moving goods through ports which use GVMS can register on GOV.UK.

What if my port doesn't use GVMS?

If a port does not use the GVMS system, it will instead rely on a Temporary Storage model to managing the import of goods. Ports which don’t use GVMS are known as Inventory Linked Ports. Unlike GVMS where goods can leave the port before all customs formalities are complete, at Inventory Linked Ports all customs requirements must be complete before goods are cleared to leave the port.

When shipments of goods arrive at an Inventory Linked Port, they are moved into a temporary storage facility, at which point the port’s inventory record is updated. These goods will remain at this facility until all customs clearance has been completed. At this point the goods will be free to leave the port and move onward to their next destination. 

Do I need to register to use Inventory Linked Ports?

Each inventory linked port system is provided by a Community System Provider, with each port having a unique badge. Businesses hoping to complete customs clearance on inventory linked ports will need access to the specific badge for the port which they are hoping to clear customs.



Article reviewed: August 2023