Shipping issues you may face when exporting to Ireland

21 March, 2018

Ireland is a sophisticated consumer market experiencing steady growth that makes it an attractive prospect for businesses looking to export to this part of the world.

The legal and regulatory framework is very similar to the UK and English is widely spoken. If you’re keen to export to this market then there are many good reasons to do so – although a few challenges do exist.

Local competition

Irish consumers are loyal to local brands and a robust local market could present challenges for businesses looking to make an impression here. It’s important to find a point of difference between local brands and your own if you want to overcome these kinds of obstacles – speed of delivery and quality of products both tend to have an impact on Irish consumer choices.

Exceptions to EU free movement

Ireland is part of the European Union, which makes shipping to Ireland considerably easier for those also within the EU. The right of free transit within the jurisdiction means that once a product is within the EU it can be freely transported throughout it. However, it’s still important to be aware of the exceptions to this:

  • Harmonised rules. Harmonised rules are designed to protect consumers, public health, and the environment. If the products you’re shipping don’t comply with these rules then you may find restrictions are imposed, even if products are being sent from within the EU.
  • National rules. The national rules of the destination country may also have an impact on how easy it is to ship there – these may relate to issues such as public morality, environmental protection or animal health.


When the UK leaves the EU in 2019 the requirements for shipping to Ireland may change. It is likely that the EU right of free transit will be lost and new customs rules will have to be complied with. Unfortunately, until the plans for Brexit are made clear it will be difficult to definitively establish what will replace the existing system.

Product and packaging standards

As a country that’s part of the EU, products and packaging for shipping to Ireland need to comply with EU rules when it comes to safety and design. If they don’t then this could cause issues for those exporting goods to Ireland. In addition to more general EU rules there may also be industry specific rules that apply to specific items or the packaging that is used to ship them.

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