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Warning that Ireland could face 'unprecedented disruption' to movement of goods in next four weeks

The Oireachtas Transport Committee will hear from hauliers this morning.

Trucks at Dublin Port (file photo)
Trucks at Dublin Port (file photo)
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

THE HEAD OF the Irish Road Haulage Association will warn that the next four weeks could see a “period of unprecedented disruption” to the transport of goods in Ireland due to Brexit, regardless of whether a deal is agreed between the EU and the UK or not.

Eugene Drennan will tell the Oireachtas Transport Committee this morning that disruptions to Ireland’s supply chain could have “catastrophic consequences” if certain measures are not in place by next year.

In his opening statement, Drennan will say that the next four weeks will be “a period of unprecedented disruption for the movement of goods in Ireland”.

“For the first time in nearly 50 years customs and import controls will apply at ports and airports on both sides of the Irish Sea,” he will say.

“Even if a deal is reached and implemented between the EU and the UK on tariffs, the new arrangements involving inspections by the Revenue, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the HSE and An Garda Síochána will create hold-ups at our ports and airports.

“For hauliers, these disruptions and obstructions will have catastrophic consequences.”

Drennan will also tell TDs that that hauliers are dependent on those in charge of ferries, ports and traffic, and that ports are heavily congested at certain times, even without new checks and controls.

He will also explain that hauliers are currently under pressure to get their goods to their destination on time, before taking the disruption that Brexit will cause into account. 

“God only knows what the level of disruption will be once the new checks and controls take effect from 1 January 2021,” he will say.

“The disruption that this will cause is immense and has the capacity to bring the licensed haulage industry to a standstill.”

Drennan will call for a single entity to take responsibility for the free movement of traffic at and around Irish ports, claiming that “uncoordinated chaos” will occur if this does not happen.

He will also suggest that less concentrated ferry schedules should be put in place, and that port authorities should enforce these changes if ferry companies refuse to do so.

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Finally, he will ask TDs for the State agencies responsible for inspections and controls at Irish ports after Brexit to deploy adequate resources and technology to allow them to do so with the least disruption possible.

“The success or failure of Ireland’s preparation for Brexit will not be on the shoulders of my members,” Drennan’s statement concludes.

“It will firmly rest with the different State agencies who have been asked by the Government to carry out the preparations.”

Separately, Kieran O’Callaghan of Chief Executive of Cargo Logistics will warn TDs that a direct daily ferry service to France will slow down cargo deliveries, which would have a negative impact on the transport of goods after Brexit.

He will tell TDs the UK will maintain an influence over Ireland’s supply chain after Brexit due to Ireland’s “over-reliance” on the UK land bridge.

He will suggest that the Irish government should invest in a ‘Cargo air bridge’ to Liege in Belgium, saying this will provide speed, reliability, and autonomy to Ireland’s airfreight model.

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