Freight News, Road, Business

Updated-2: UK ‘could stay in EU Common Transit Convention’ to speed intra-Ireland freight

[ August 16, 2017   //   ]

The UK government has suggested that the UK could remain part of the EU Common Transit Convention to help smooth the flow of freight between Ulster and the Republic of Ireland, the BBC reports.

In its second paper published in three days on suggested post-Brexit customs arrangements, this time on the specific case of the Northern Ireland land border with the EU, it suggests that there would also be a continued waiver on entry and exit declarations, a trusted trader arrangement for larger firms and a cross-border trade exemption that would eliminate customs processes at all for smaller traders.

The paper also dismisses the idea of a customs border at Irish Sea ports as economically and constitutionally unviable. Concerns have already been raised in the Welsh Government about possible paralysis if customs clearances were to be imposed at busy ferry ports, particularly Holyhead.

UK Chamber of Shipping communications director, Jonathan Roberts, said: “The Government’s commitment to avoiding a hard land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is welcome. But they need to ensure that any new border is not merely shifted to seaports.”

He pointed out that since the removal of customs checks at ports in 1992, the number of HGV lorries using ferries to cross the Irish sea has risen by more than 600% into Holyhead alone.

Robberts added: “There simply is not the physical space nor capacity in ferry ports to park these lorries for long periods whilst customs checks take place. Any ‘hard’ seaport customs stops could result in severe disruption to the entire supply chain of goods coming from and going to Ireland and beyond. We’re pleased that the British and Irish governments recognise this to be true.

“It is now incumbent on the European Commission to work constructively with the UK Government, to not just dismiss these interesting proposals but rather recognise that reaching a meaningful agreement is in their own economic interests too, and that the jobs and prosperity of EU citizens are in part reliant on a healthy trading relationship with the UK.”

The Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) said it was strongly in favour of the UK government’s recommendation that there is no hard border established between the North and the Republic of Ireland. FTAI’s general manager Aidan Flynn called on both sides around the negotiating table to keep the issue at the heart of conversations moving forwards, to ensure that Irish industry continues to trade freely cross border and with the UK mainland.

“At FTAI we believe it is imperative that the UK and EU negotiation teams put Irish considerations first in their Brexit trade talks, in order to achieve workable solutions that will keep the Irish economy buoyant moving forwards.”

FTAI has also published a Supply Chain Management briefing note, which outlines the potential impacts of Brexit on the Republic’s Supply Chain, as well as highlighting ways to develop a “Trusted Trader” solution – or call 01 844 7516. 



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