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Friday 9 June 2023 Dublin: 17°C
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# Brexit
Freight group warns of trade disruption as supply chains 'slow up' due to new rules
FTAI General Manager Aidan Flynn said it is “unbelievable” that 30% of goods imported into Dublin Port are being inspected.

FREIGHT TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION Ireland has warned supply chains “are slowing up” and criticised as “unsustainable” the current level of inspection of goods coming into Ireland. 

In a week that has seen disruption to supply chains and stocks across the island of Ireland, the FTAI has raised concerns about the impact of post-Brexit importation and the timelines given to the industry to adjust to new rules. 

FTAI General Manager Aidan Flynn said it is “unbelievable” that 30% of goods imported into Dublin Port are being inspected, which he described as “unsustainable”. 

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Claire Byrne, Flynn said the industry is not able to handle the new documentary and regulatory requirements. 

He said industries “haven’t had a chance to test” these new regulatory customs requirements and that “supply chains are slowing up” as a result.

While some issues may be ironed out, there is significant pressure on the haulage industry which operates on “very, very tight margins, who really don’t have any time to waste, as we try and understand what the new requirements are,” Flynn said. 

Last week, Revenue gave a stern warning that many businesses “were not as prepared as they thought or significantly underestimated what was involved in being Brexit ready”.

At a Brexit briefing in December, Eddie Burke from the Department of Transport was asked how long it could take for traders to get used to new post-Brexit checks and systems. He said it unclear how long it would take. 

Given the new processes and checks that have to be done on goods, particularly on goods entering Ireland from the UK, delays are inevitable. 

“Customs and other regulatory checks take time — and some take longer amounts of time than others,” Revenue Commissioner Gerry Harrahill explained last week.

These aren’t new processes — Irish authorities have been carrying them out on goods coming from ‘third countries’ for years.

However, these have never been applied to UK goods until now, meaning the overall volume of imports that have to be checked increased basically overnight on 1 January.

Agricultural and food products travelling from the UK into Ireland will have to be checked to ensure they meet European safety standards. 

Plant and animal products coming from Britain will have to travel with a health certificate signed by a UK vet and official identity seal.

Farm equipment will have to be checked to make sure it’s not contaminated with soil.

Consignments can be rejected or unloaded and the individual boxes checked if they don’t meet the new requirements. 

While there have been “isolated instances” of empty supermarket shelves this week, FTAI’s Flynn said many retailers had stockpiled before Christmas and said there is “no cause for concern at the moment.”

“But there’s no doubt that supply chain is reliant on efficiency. We do rely on Britain and have done a lot for the landbridge to connect continental Europe,” said Flynn. 

“We do have new direct services to continental Europe, but we just don’t have enough to be able to handle the volumes we are seeing, over-bookings on ferries, which obviously highlights the fact that the increased demand needs to be dealt with.”

“And we didn’t see an awful lot of support for new ferry operations into continental Europe…and we need more support from various different departments in Government to help support industry transition so that there isn’t a long term issues with supply chains.”

With reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha and Ian Curran

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