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Stena calls for Brexit stay of execution

[ December 9, 2020   //   ]

Stena Line is calling for a Brexit implementation phase and for the EU to take a pragmatic approach to customs after Brexit transition period ends.

The Harwich-Hook and Irish Sea ferry operator says that systems and infrastructure required for customs checks in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK will not be finalised in time for 1 January and many companies in the supply chain are still not ready.

While the recent news on the Withdrawal Agreement is positive Northern Ireland is only one part of Brexit there remain many unanswered questions.

It points out that the UK Government has chosen to delay, by six months, the imposition of full controls on most imports to Great Britain and would like to encourage the EU to take the same approach as the UK. It is in the interests of the both the UK and EU to prioritise trade flows over customs and agri-food checks at the border. The goods being transported will change little in the short-term, and with the UK adopting all EU rules, there will be little risk after 1 January.

It is vital the UK’s role as a land bridge connecting Ireland to the rest of the EU via Great Britain and vice versa continues. Logistics networks are geared around processing and distribution centres in the UK’s central corridor, that feed the supply of goods across Britain, Ireland and the Continent. These centres process goods for distribution for sectors such as retail and pharmaceuticals. They have been set up as part of the land bridge network and cannot be by-passed by a direct route. The land bridge remains the shortest route for Irish goods to enter the EU market, and vice versa, so it is particularly vital for Ireland that the EU plays their part to keep freight moving through Britain and on to the Continent.

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