Freight News, Sea

Brexit could put huge strain on Welsh ports, warns Assembly Member

[ February 14, 2017   //   ]

Labour Welsh Assembly Member Eluned Morgan has warned that the UK leaving the EU customs union could require immense infrastructure at Welsh ports, the BBC reports. There is a danger that freight traffic could be diverted away from Wales if there was a hard border with Ireland, she said.

One of Morgan’s fears is that the price of a ‘soft’ border between the north and south of Ireland could be more stringent checks between Wales and Ireland.This would tempt freight to cross from Liverpool or Cairnryan to Larne or Belfast rather than risk getting snarled up in queues at Holyhead or Fishguard.

With the UK outside the customs union, it is hard to see how these goods and people could be let in without being inspected, she argued.

Ports such as Holyhead would also have to create parking space for hundreds of trucks, she said.

At a hearing of the assembly’s external affairs committee on 13 February, the Welsh Assembly’s Brexit Minister David Jones said there had been discussions with the UK’s Border Force on the issue and that the Home Office was in process of developing policy. In response to a question, he said it remained to be seen whether there would be customs and border controls at Welsh ports.

Westminster Brexit minister David Jones also told Welsh Assembly ministers that it remains to be seen whether there will be customs checks.

The UK has had a common travel area with the republic since the 1920s, with no passports required by travellers. However, Brexit has put a question mark over how this arrangement would be maintained if the UK was to control immigration via the Republic of Ireland, which remain in the EU.


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