Hard decisions ahead for freight industry

Hard decisions ahead for freight industry

The prospect of the UK leaving the EU without a deal has massive implications for the road and maritime freight industry in Ireland. A report from the Department of Transport sets out the dependence of the industry on UK routes.

“Trade with the UK comprised 39% of all Irish maritime trade, while trade with other EU member states represented 32%. One of every two goods forwarded through Irish ports in 2015 went on to the UK . Onethird of all goods received in Irish ports in 2015 originated in the UK (below right). The equivalent figures for EU trade are 34% of goods forwarded and 32% of goods received. Thus, trade with the UK accounted for a slightly higher share of total maritime trade in 2015 than trade with other EU member states, especially for goods forwarded.”

A Maritime Industry Workshop organised by the Department of Transport in April identified a wide range of Brexit impacts from fishing to safety equipment standards, but the major concern was with  “trade using the UK land bridge”.

Uncertainty also focused on our ports:

  • How customs and border controls will be affected.
  • Implications for An Garda Síochána (AGS) /Immigration/Revenue/Customs/Dept. of Agriculture operations at ports. Increased police presence due to security/terrorism issues etc.
  • Delays and increased costs  (multiple layers of checking documentation and inspection of person & vehicle).
  • Increased reporting and paperwork requirements and increased cargo processing times.
  • Commercial impacts for ports as Northern Irish ports will become more competitive.
  • Land capacity at ports if customs are re-instated. There were strong suggestions that ports as commercial enterprises cannot be expected to provide facilities free of charge to government agencies such as customs.

Proposals from political quarters for new direct shipping routes to the continent seemed to get a mixed reception as they could be competitors for existing routes.