Sea traffic

Regular vessel traffic

Goods to be transported in regular vessel traffic approved by Customs are considered to be Union goods, unless otherwise indicated. Union goods are exempted from customs formalities at the port of destination.

The shipping company can apply for an authorisation from Customs for regular vessel traffic if it only transports goods regularly between ports within the customs territory of the Union. The place of exit of the goods, the destination or port of call on route, cannot be outside the territory of the Union or in a free zone in the customs territory of the Union.

The export procedure of goods placed under an export procedure and transported in regular vessel traffic, is not ended when the goods are loaded into the vessel. Under certain circumstances, the export is ended when the rule regarding one transport contract is invoked, or when an electronic loading list or transport document is used as a transit declaration.

Non-regular vessel traffic

Goods transported in non-regular vessel traffic are considered to be non-Union goods unless otherwise indicated, and normal customs formalities are applied at the port of destination.

There are separate instructions on proving the customs status of Union goods transported in non-regular vessel traffic: Proving the Union status of arriving goods

When goods placed under the export procedure are loaded into a vessel in non-regular traffic, the export procedure is ended based on exit declarations submitted for the goods. Read more: Goods exiting the EU

Points to consider

Bunkering, i.e. filling out a ship’s fuel tanks, is always subject to authorisation from Customs. The Customs Sea Traffic Centre (MEKE) must be notified about bunkering from ship to ship by email to

The Sea Traffic Group (MEKE) of the Electronic Service Centre is open for customer service on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4.15 p.m. In urgent matters, you can contact the on-duty officer at the Electronic Service Centre by email: .

Prior to the arrival of a ship, a declaration must also be submitted to the “port@net” system.

Fairway dues must also be paid on an arriving ship.

Entry and exit declarations to be submitted for bunker fuel

Transport operators are responsible for providing the entry summary declaration, temporary storage declarations and exit declarations to Customs. If a transport operator so wishes, it can also use a representative for submitting the declarations.

  • For undeclared goods arriving directly from a non-Union country, Finnish Customs requires an entry summary declaration IE315, followed by an arrival notification and presentation IE347
  • When a ship arrives from another Union port and unloads goods on Finland’s territorial waters or at a port in Finland, Finnish Customs requires a declaration for temporary storage (FI337) and a presentation notification (FI332) for the goods to be unloaded
  • Exit declarations IE547 and IE590 are also submitted for an exiting ship
  • If fuel is bunkered from one Finnish ship in commercial traffic to another, declarations on arriving and departing traffic are not submitted

Bunkraus kansainvälisessä liikenteessä olevaan alukseen

Additional information on bunkering to be given on declarations

In the entry summary declaration, the name of the port where bunkering takes place is to be entered in the “Place of unloading” field, along with the text: ”unloading to ship X”. The letter X stands for the IMO number of the ship to be bunkered.
In the temporary storage declaration, you should provide A – Designated location as the type of location, V – customs office and the identifier of the customs office at which the bunkering will take place. Enter the additional information code FISSL – Direct transhipment and the description “bunkering and the name of the port where the bunkering takes place”. Enter the additional information code FIXXX – Other additional information and the description “unloading to ship X”, where X stands for the IMO number of the ship to be bunkered.

As soon as bunkering to the fuel tank of another ship has taken place outside the port, the ship that has received the fuel, or a representative of that ship, must submit exit manifest presentation IE547 to Finnish Customs, indicating the summary declaration MRN and consignment number. After the exit manifest presentation, exit declaration IE590 must also be submitted.

Regulation (3/2018) issued by Finnish Customs on the notification procedure for vessels arriving at and departing from Finnish ports

Arrival and exit

Goods can also be transported in non-regular vessel traffic under a transit procedure. In that case, the transit procedure is suspended during the transport at sea. An entry summary declaration (FI315) or temporary storage declaration (FI337) must still be submitted to Customs for all goods to be unloaded at a port of destination in Finland. This is why goods placed under the transit procedure must also be presented at the vessel’s port of destination. The transit declaration must be presented before the transport can continue to the customs office of destination. When the transit declaration is presented, Customs registers the goods as cleared in its system.

Transports that arrive in a Finnish port in non-regular ship traffic under a T transit initiated at the place of departure can continue directly from the port to the customs office of destination or to the authorised consignee. 

In the arrival notification, a warehouse ID for unloading is not required. Instead, the consignment is declared for customs clearance immediately. Customs will manually enter the consignment in the AREX system as having undergone customs clearance in exchange for the T transit under the procedure. 

The customer must email Customs a list of consignments declared for customs clearance that are accompanied by a T transit. Lists can be sent weekly, for example in Excel format, to the customs office at the port in question.

The list must contain the following information: 

  • MRN and goods item number of the entry summary declaration
  • Transit reference number
  • Declarant/contact person details

As the subject of your email, you should give “customs clearance of AREX consignments under T transit”.

Email addresses of port customs offices:
Hanko: hanko.valvonta(at)
Kotka: kotka.tulliselvitys(at) 
Vuosaari: helsinki.tavaravalvonta(at)

In normal circumstances, transits are presented for discharge at the customs office of destination or at the authorised consignee’s location.

Read more about transit discharge.

The electronic transport document (ETD) may be used as a simplification subject to authorisation in order to place goods carried by sea or air under the transit procedure. The authorisation can be granted by the Customs Authorisation Centre upon application by an airline or a shipping company.

The electronic transport document is a document drawn up by the carrier when a sea-going vessel or an aircraft leaves a port or an airport, and which establishes the goods loaded onto the vessel or aircraft. The electronic transport document can be used as a transit declaration, if it contains the data required by Annexes B (column D3) to the Delegated Regulation (DA) and the Implementing Regulation (IA) and the data is submitted to Customs’ system or Customs has access to the customer’s system.

Codes used:

The electronic transport document (ETD) may only be used as a transit declaration if one of the following codes is indicated on it for each goods item:

  • T1 – goods placed under the the external Union transit procedure
  • T2 – goods placed under the the internal Union transit procedure
  • T2F – union goods placed under the the internal Union transit procedure and moved across the border of a special fiscal territory. (DA Art. 188)

On the same transport document, the customs status of other transported goods can also be indicated with codes:

  • The code TD is used for goods for which there is a separate customs declaration.
  • The code C is used for goods for which the operators at the airport of departure have sufficient proof of union status.
  • The code X is used for goods that have been placed under the export procedure or for which there is an exit confirmation.

The customs office at the airport or port of destination can check the customs status of the goods from the place of departure with the form TC21 – Request for verification used e.g. for post-clearance controls.

For each goods item, the customs office of departure and the intended customs office of destination must also be indicated. 

Customs office of departure

Every ETD must have a unique reference number (LRN) issued by the airline or the shipping company. It can be the voyage number or any other number that is unique for the operator in question and with which the declaration can be found afterwards as well. 

Customs accepts the ETD transit declaration if the goods covered by it have been presented to Customs. Presentation does not mean that the goods actually are at the airport or port, but Customs must know that the goods are kept in a place agreed on with the operator (e.g. in a warehouse or in the cargo space of the aircraft or the vessel).

The declarant can make corrections in one or more details on the declaration. The information on the corrected details must be available to Customs in case there is a need to carry out post-clearance controls or look into observations, such as discrepancies, made by the customs office of destination. Special attention must be paid to corrections concerning the changing of non-Union transit goods into Union goods and vice versa. In such case, e.g. the previous procedure or function and must be checked and, when necessary, corrected.

When the ETD transit procedure is used, the electronic transport document has been accepted and the goods have been released for the transit procedure when the aircraft or vessel leave the airport or port and the ETD contains the codes required for initiating the transit procedure. The declaration can also be rejected, if Customs finds that the ETD has insufficient or incorrect details. In such case, Customs must notify the airline or the shipping company of the rejection.

If the transport of non-Union goods has been started without a transit declaration having been submitted or accepted, a customs debt is incurred through non-compliance in accordance with Article 79(1) of the Union Customs Code (UCC).

Customs office of destination

The details of the ETD transit must be the same at the customs office of departure and at the customs office of destination. The details must be available to the customs office of destination no later than when the goods arrive at the port or airport. In practice, when using the operator’s system, the details are already available when the goods are released for the transit procedure upon departure.

The legislation does not provide for any time limit for discharging the ETD transit procedure. The transit ends when the goods have been placed in temporary storage at the airport of destination, in another place approved by Customs or under a subsequent customs procedure. The unique reference number (LRN) of the transit declaration must be indicated as previous procedure in the records of the temporary storage facility, of the place approved by Customs or in the declaration for the subsequent customs procedure as.  

The transit procedure is considered as discharged directly after it has ended, unless the customs office of destination has not been informed of or found that the procedure has not ended appropriately (e.g. notification by the airline or the shipping company or an inspection of the goods). The airline or the shipping company has the obligation to notify Customs of all irregularities, violations or discrepancies observed. Such notifications must contain a reference (LRN) to the document concerning the goods.