Direct sailing to Europe is costing Irish hauliers €1,000 extra per lorry when compared with using the UK landbridge, president of the Irish Road Hauliers Association (IRHA) Eugene Drennan has told the Irish Farmers Journal.
“Hauliers are now forced into using the dearest sailings to the [European] mainland, avoiding the paperwork involved with using the [UK] landbridge. Each way costs an extra €500, which puts considerable costs on the exporter,” Drennan said.
“As well as the increased costs, exporters now have to contend with the increased time it takes for their products to reach the shelf. Lorries are also away on trips for longer, which has to be adjusted for.”
Drennan also warned that many lorries are returning to Northern Ireland and the Republic with no backload from Britain.
“Flow is so disjointed now. There’s a haulier logistics problem where companies are unable to organise a backload from Britain due to a lack of preparedness on their side.
“I estimate it costs hauliers €500 to run an empty lorry back to Ireland. Companies can’t afford to have a lorry sitting idle over in Britain waiting for a backload when there is such a high demand for trucks to export goods here.”
The IRHA president added that the customs system at Irish ports must be streamlined to prevent any addition to delays on the British side.
“Anything to do with foodstuffs is very cumbersome. The current customs system is not fit for purpose.
“It has collapsed six times since it was installed. We need an automatic import system to speed the process up.
“The agriculture customs checks are well staffed, but need to be streamlined. You could have six different declarations per load that all have to be processed individually.”
As of 8 February, there were 251 staff in place and available to undertake Department of Agriculture activities in Dublin Port, Rosslare Port and Dublin Airport, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue confirmed.
This ranges from staff specifically recruited for Brexit, to experienced Department officials who have been redeployed to ports, as well as a small cohort of contracted veterinary practitioners.
The detail on staff numbers came in response to a parliamentary question from Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy.