The BBC says, at 23:00 on New Year’s Eve a new EU trade border was effectively created in Northern Ireland’s ports.
It is, in many ways, unlike the EU’s other frontiers.
One difference is the EU’s usual rules on customs and product standards are not yet being fully enforced.
This is due to what are known as grace periods – essentially time for NI businesses and their suppliers in the rest of the UK to adapt.
The first of these grace periods is set to expire at the end of March and businesses are already anxious about what comes next.
The grace period for food means that some businesses, particularly major retailers, do not need to comply with all the EU’s usual certification requirements when importing products from the rest of the UK.
At the centre of the EU’s food safety procedures are what are known as Export Health Certificates (EHCs).
These involve a vet, or other professional, signing off a complex piece of administration for every consignment of products of animal origin – meat, fish, dairy and eggs.
Supermarkets and other retailers feared their systems would be overwhelmed so they have been granted three months where some products do not require EHCs.
However it is those products which do require the certificates which will give us an indication of what might happen at the end of the grace period.