Irrespective of what deal is agreed between the EU and Britain in the coming weeks, post Brexit, the UK will become a third country from 31 December 2020, and goods moving between Europe and the UK or via the UK landbridge will be subject to customs control.
Delay costs associated with importing and exporting goods between Ireland and the UK may have to be accepted given that they are destined for the UK market, however, Shannon Chamber is adamant that delay costs associated with trade between Ireland and Europe can and must be avoided and has called on Government to put in place all the supports possible for the establishment of a direct daily service from Rosslare port to Mainland Europe (Le Havre, Dieppe, Calais or Dunkirk) and a daily return service from Europe.
As Shannon Chamber vice-president Eoin Gavin explains: “Currently all perishable, time-sensitive and just-in-time goods destined for Europe move on trucks from Ireland through the Irish Sea ports, onwards via road through England and across the English Channel to mainland Europe – via the UK landbridge. After 1 January 2020 this route will be severely disrupted with long delays at UK and European ports and transit declarations to UK customs will have to be made; this will have significant cost implications for Irish exports and imports from Europe.
“Currently, the only direct ferries to Europe to take driver-accompanied, time-sensitive loads are to the port of Cherbourg on the North West coast of France. In the summer months there are sailings to Roscoff in Brittany on the west coast of France but these are not an alternative to the current speed and cost effectiveness of the landbridge,” stressed Gavin.
“The distance from Cherbourg to the Ruhr Industrial Valley in Germany is as far away as Liverpool port to the Ruhr Industrial Valley. The only way to alleviate this is to establish a daily direct service from Rosslare to the port of Le Havre or Dieppe or Calais or Dunkirk or Zeebrugge, which will be as time efficient as the current UK landbridge. This will not alone secure current Irish exports and imports but will also encourage more Irish companies to trade with their European counterparts with no customs or tariff difficulties.
“Whilst there are currently LO/LO and container services from Ireland to Europe and these will continue to serve the market of less time-sensitive goods, the only direct RO/RO sailings are to the North West of France and North West of Spain, which are served from Dublin and Rosslare ports.
Believing that a direct daily sailing from Rosslare to mainland Europe is the only solution, Shannon Chamber has written directly to Government and also engaged with both Chambers Ireland and the Irish Road Haulage Association on this issue and believes this unanimous voice must be listened to avoid disruption and unnecessary delays to trade from Ireland to mainland Europe.
“This requires urgent attention by Government. January is but a month away,” added Gavin.