Talks Extension Must Not Be A ‘Winding Down The Clock’ Exercise: We Need A Deal, Says FTAI


Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTA Ireland (FTAI) discusses the latest Brexit developments and the need for effective contingency planning at Ireland’s biggest port:

“FTAI is urging both sides – the UK and the EU – to reach a trade agreement urgently to protect Ireland’s supply chains, as well as the trading relationship between the two blocks. Despite an extension to the talks – a move welcomed by FTAI – the risk of a no-deal is still substantial, and we are concerned that politicians are neglecting to take account of reality. The level of change that will manifest itself on the 1 January 2021 is incomprehensible for the freight distribution and logistics sector in the event of a no-deal. While the Irish logistics industry has been preparing as best it can, there will be significant barriers to trade that will result in delays on deliveries and severe traffic congestion; we want to see an adjustment period in place to allow those on the front line to prepare effectively for the new trading environment.”

Speaking of the challenges that lie ahead at Dublin Port post-EU Exit transition period, the busiest port on the island, Mr Flynn comments:

“Delivery and collection times will have to be reviewed. Ferry timetables will need adjusting to take into account obvious pinch points at Dublin Port when it comes to arrival and departure times to aid the free flow of port traffic; collection and delivery of containers must also be examined to consider likely congestion. Government regulatory bodies must ensure that they have the resources available to facilitate speedy and consistent checks – both documentary and physical – to keep traffic moving and reduce the risk of congestion in the ports.

“FTAI members participated in a readiness trial at Dublin Port and identified significant gaps with the levels of preparedness across state agencies. This includes an issue with the very limited space available for trucks to manoeuvre; this could present opportunities for vehicle damage and creates a health and safety issue for all. Key to success, in FTAI’s view, will be consistent traffic systems, effective signage and safe inspection points that are marked clearly, segregating pedestrians and traffic and welfare facilities for drivers as they wait to be called for inspection.”

Mr Flynn concludes: “All freight forwarders, consignors and consignees need to understand the plight of the haulier. New relationships will need to be considered to ensure that all parties support each other during the adjustment period to reduce the risk of delays. Conversely, state agencies must continue to engage industry, share information and work to develop improved efficiencies in the inspection regime.”

FTA Ireland is a not-for-profit membership trade association for the Irish freight, passenger and logistics industries. We are wholly owned and governed by our members, and act solely in advancing their best interests. FTA Ireland covers all aspects of private and public freight transport, passenger transport and logistics supply chain, including road, rail, sea and air. FTAI represents some of the largest freight and passenger operators in Ireland, with more than 25,000 employees and 10,000 vehicles operating between them. 

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