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Freight between Ireland and UK dropped by half in January

Trade between Ireland and the UK dropped significantly after the Brexit transition period ended, but is slowly increasing again.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/

TRADE BETWEEN IRELAND and the UK took a hit in January as the Brexit transition period ended compared to the same month last year.

The volume of trade on routes between Ireland and Britain fell to only half of trade in January 2020, according to a post-Brexit operational update from the government.

However, trade is gradually increasing each week, with 1,334 freight vehicles from Britain arriving in Ireland on 28 and 29 January, compared to 61 in the first two days of the month.

17,500 freight vehicles in total came to Ireland from Britain over 390 ferries during January, with similar numbers – 16,900 – travelling to Britain from Ireland.

The government said there is “no one issue contributing to the lower volumes”.

“Rather, the combination of a number of factors including Brexit stockpiling, Covid-19 restrictions, new Brexit checks and controls and the emergence of new direct services with additional capacity on European routes,” the government said.

“Government departments and state agencies recognise that the new trading arrangements with Great Britain represent the biggest change for trade and business in almost 50 years,” it said.

“The challenge the new checks due to Brexit create for traders is fully acknowledged – and there is ongoing intensive engagement between government departments and agencies and stakeholder groups, sectoral representative bodies, businesses and individuals to assist them through the new processes,” it said.

While many are successfully continuing to trade with Great Britain, mainly as a result of their levels of preparation ahead of 31 December, some businesses, large and small, are having difficulty, in some cases severe difficulty, adapting to the new system of controls.”

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Revenue’s 24/7 Customs helpline answered 7,230 calls between 1 and 27 January.

Overall, freight volumes on European routes have increased by 100% between January 2020 and January 2021.

Between Ireland and France, weekly sailings to Northern France have increased from 12 in January 2020 to 36 this year.

The UK officially left the EU single market at the end of 2020 when the one-year Brexit transition period ended.

About the author:

Lauren Boland

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