Ireland to EU shipping up by 50% in six months due to Brexit

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Exporters are moving away from traditional Dublin to Britain transport routes to avoid the mountains of new red tape that has come into effect since Brexit. The volume of goods going through Ireland to EU shipping ferry routes has soared by 50% in the last six months according to official data. 

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has published figures that show a significant move away from the routes that service Dublin to Britain, and a pick up in traffic to some of the 32 new ferry services that travel directly to places such as Le Havre, Cherbourg and Dunkirk in France, and Zeebrugge in Belgium. 

The report shows freight volumes from Dublin port to Liverpool and Holyhead in Anglesey down 19% in the first three-quarters of 2021 compared with 2020, and down by 30% on the two routes from Rosslare in south-east Ireland to the Welsh ports of Pembroke and Fishguard. 

“It is clear that the new trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK have had a significant and negative effect upon ro-ro [roll-on roll-off lorry haulage] freight traffic between the two countries,” the IMDO report said. “Underpinning all of these trends are the new customs and trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK that came into force on 1 January 2021,” it added.

“One-third of all ro-ro in the Republic of Ireland now operates on direct routes to ports in the European Union, up from a 16% share in 2019,” the IMDO said. Ireland to EU shipping is already up 52% in the mid-quarters of 2021 compared with the whole year of 2019.

The Europort in Rosslare has benefitted most in the move away from the traditional British routes. On Saturday 27 November, it reported its busiest day ever. The port’s general manager spoke to and said the demand was due to avoiding the UK routes, but also a reduction in general trade with Britain. “In particular industries, we’re definitely seeing where traditionally a lot of goods were sourced in the UK or exported to the UK, there’s been a switch to Europe. We definitely see it in the port in terms of the mix of goods that are there now – ingredients, food, dairy, pharmaceuticals”, he said.

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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