Ship supply procedure

Ship supplies refer to tax and duty free deliveries from Finland to commercial ships and aircraft located in the territory of the European Union and operating in international traffic. These goods include:

  • the ship’s spare parts and equipment
  • the ship’s fuels and lubricants
  • goods to be sold to passengers on board the ship
  • goods to be consumed by staff or passengers on board the ship.

Under certain conditions, the ship supply procedure can also be used for other ships in international traffic, such as ships of authorities.

For ship supplies, the same formalities that apply to export declarations are observed and an export declaration must be submitted to Customs, regardless of the ship’s nationality or whether the ship’s destination is in the EU or not.

The ship supply declaration is submitted electronically, unless the supplier has been authorised by Customs to use a simplified declaration. The ship supply declaration shall be submitted well in advance for each consignment, so that the goods can be inspected if necessary. A ship supply declaration approved by Customs is a permission to load goods on board the ship.

Supplies from other Union countries to a ship located in Finland must have a loading permit from Finnish Customs before the goods are loaded on board the ship.

Oral declaration for ship supplies

A ship supply declaration can be submitted orally when the consignment is worth a maximum of 1 000 euros and has a net weight of no more than 1 000 kilograms. However, a declaration is required if the goods are subject to a restriction.

Restrictions on ship supplies

  • The ship supply procedure cannot be used for temporary export, special procedures or for exports with refunds (CAP exports). The ship supply procedure can be used for permanent export and when re-exporting goods placed under the customs warehousing procedure.
  • A ship supply declaration is not submitted if the consignee is a shipyard or other contractor participating in the building of the ship. The ship supply procedure can only be applied when a new ship is in the last stages of being furnished and the consignee is a shipping company.
  • A ship supply declaration cannot be submitted if the goods are delivered to a ship outside the EU. In this case, the goods to be delivered on board the ship must be declared electronically with a normal export declaration. 

The rule regarding one transport contract does not apply to supplies for ships and aircraft in international traffic.

Points to consider

With Customs’ permission, shipping companies can cater products exempt from taxes when the vessel is located in a port and when the catering is part of an event linked to the ship’s maritime practice. Such events are, for example, a shipping company’s representation events, which are linked to the marketing of the ship to interest groups. Products can also be catered exempt from taxes to passengers on the ship in so-called force majeure situations where the prerequisites for tax-exempt catering would otherwise not be fulfilled. The licence for tax-free catering must be applied in advance with a free-form application to Customs’ Authorisation Centre.

A summary on the tax-free catering events must be sent to alustoimitukset(at) before the sixteenth day of the following month.

Conditions of the license for tax-free catering (in Finnish)

In international traffic, vessels and aircraft require various goods and supplies for their operations, such as fuels and lubricants, provisions and various goods to be installed and used in maintenance and repairs. In customs legislation, deliveries of these goods are referred to as vessel and aircraft supplies. 

Vessel and aircraft supplies also include goods which are delivered exempt from tax for sales purposes and for imports as gifts.

For vessel and aircraft supplies, it is required that the goods are ordered in the name of a shipping company or an airline. Goods meant for use by vessel personnel are treated as passenger imports and exports.

Read more: Ship supply procedure



When goods are ordered from a company for delivery on board a vessel or aircraft, an electronic export declaration must be submitted to Customs concerning the delivery. The customs declaration must be submitted well in advance of the delivery onto the ship, so that Customs has the possibility to inspect the goods.

A company that regularly delivers goods to ships can apply for an authorisation from Customs to use a simplified declaration procedure, where instead of an export declaration, a summarising declaration is submitted to Customs for several different consignments.

Read more: Ship supply procedure


An electronic declaration concerning vessel or aircraft supplies is processed in the same way as a complete export declaration, with certain exceptions.

The export declaration concerning vessel or aircraft supplies is easier to draft than a normal export declaration, because only three summarising TARIC codes are used as tariff headings for ship supplies: 99302400 foodstuffs, 99302700 fuels and 99309900 other goods.

It is not necessary to provide export safety and security information or exit declarations.

Read more: Ship supply procedure


When delivering goods on board a vessel or aircraft in Finland, the supplier asks the vessel/aircraft representative to sign the export accompanying document (EAD), and then adds the signed document to its acconts as proof.

It is also possible for a supplier to obtain a decision on release with confirmation of exit for their accounts by presenting Customs with the accompanying document signed by the vessel/aircraft representative.

Read more: Confirmation of exit


Keywords Ship supplies