Ireland prepares import logistics plans as UK-EU trade deal talks pause once more

Mon 7 Dec 2020
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

With the Republic of Ireland representing the UK’s fifth largest export market (see below), small wonder its ferry ports are putting in procedures for dealing with increased post-transition checks on goods arriving in Dublin.

The city's port receives the lion’s share of goods from Britain, travelling from Holyhead in Wales.

Irish media, including the Belfast Telegraph, revealed plans for “enhanced traffic spacing, a queue management system for HGVs on the [Dublin] orbital M50 motorway and additional lorry parking facilities on the M1 motorway from the capital northwards [to Belfast]”.

'Major changes'

Ireland’s transport minister Eamon Ryan said: “No matter what happens in the ongoing Brexit negotiations, there will be major changes in how we do business with the UK from January 1.

“This traffic management plan, which is the result of close collaboration by many different agencies, is designed to deal with any congestion that may arise due to increased levels of checks at Dublin Port and to minimise the impact on the port tunnel, nearby motorways and the rest of the city.”

Staggered ferry arrivals

Meanwhile the Irish Times reports that Stena Line has offered to extend ferry arrivals into Dublin Port from Holyhead by between 25 and 40 minutes to avoid post-transition congestion at the port.

The port is concerned that, with new border controls being introduced on goods arriving from Britain, this will lead to delays and has asked for three-hour arrival intervals.

The operator of Dublin Port had asked Stena and Irish Ferries to stagger their sailings by three hours to ease the pressure at the port from January when border controls come into operation.

Irish Ferries is sticking to its existing schedule, while Stena said it wanted any changes to be temporary in case they don’t work out.

Ireland-France bridge

The news comes as a new ferry route has been established between Ireland and France which Irish politicians hope will “minimise disruption” when new border controls are erected between the UK and EU on 1 January 2021.

Danish shipping line DFDS announced the new ferry route between Rosslare Europort and Dunkirk in November.

Fact box: Ireland as a UK export market

  • In 2019, UK exports to Ireland were worth £38.3 billion; imports from Ireland were £24.4 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of £13.8 billion.
  • The UK had a surplus with Ireland in both goods and services. 
  • Ireland accounted for 5.5% of UK exports and 3.4% of all UK imports. 
  • Ireland was the UK’s 5th largest export market and the 9th largest source of imports.
  • The UK recorded a trade surplus with Ireland every year between 1999 and 2019.