New training procedures set alongside COVID-19 safety protocols


The reality of BREXIT on 1 January 2021 has been at the forefront of the Irish International Freight Association’s (IIFA) planning throughout the year. As the National Association representing Ireland’s Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers, IIFA has developed a successful training programme to prepare Operators within Businesses to handle the Customs challenge. In response to COVID-19, this training is now delivered on line. During lockdown, the IIFA’s Training Team researched training delivery methods, trialled various initiatives and crafted a solution for the difficult task of the training of complex Customs Declaration procedures via an online platform.


Complexity needs Clarity

Customs Clearance is a profession in and of itself. It is not possible to complete a Customs Declarations without an understanding of National and EU Rules and Regulations, working knowledge of operational Customs Clearance software and the formalities that are required both in advance of and after submission of a Declaration.

IIFA developed a 6-week programme that offers the opportunity to become a competent Customs Broker by delivering the academic and practical knowledge that is required. Training is delivered through a period of guided self study, on-demand informative webinars and its key strength; practical Customs Declaration practice periods, delivered over Zoom and with practice assignments set between sessions. There are 12 such 90 minute sessions delivered across the 6-week period, ensuring continuous engagement with Leaners and providing the learning environment to ensure that learning is achieved, not just consumption of content. Participants will complete over 20 practice Customs Declarations throughout the training period, including simulations of RoRo shipments with the UK. Each Participant also receives a 160 page Customs reference manual, which includes up to date procedures such as Revenue Customs PBN – Pre Booking Notification system.

Use of Customs Clearance software for practice assignments is provided in partnership with Thyme IT. This is a key characteristic of the training at it allows Participants the opportunity to practice simulations in an environment reflective of the reality they will face on 1 January 2021. The Trainers for this Customs course are all experienced Customs Brokers with full knowledge and understanding of the processes involved.

 “While the challenge ahead is significant, Customs Clearance Declarations is the existing work of IIFA Members. They do have the knowledge and resources to carry out this complex work yet, they are faced with a capacity challenge. They will need more bodies to aid in handling the increased amount of Declarations that will be required for trade between the UK and Ireland when the UK becomes a Third Country on 1stJanuary 2021. As Forwarders and Brokers, we do know that more is required for this work but also the additional procedures such as Transit operations, Safety & Security Declarations and the new announced Pre Booking Notifications,” commented Tom Thornton, IIFA BREXIT Spokesperson.

“As Ireland’s National Representative Body for the Freight Forwarding and Customs Brokerage firms that will be set against this challenge, IIFA has taken sincere steps to craft the type of training that is required to mould a Customs Broker and give them confidence to carry out their critical work for the Irish economy in 2021.”

Full details of course structure, Participant resources and the content of the Zoom sessions are available on the IIFA website via the below link: