The volume of goods coming in to Ireland via Dublin Port is down 50% on normal levels so far this year, according to Irish customs officials.

Speaking at a multi-agency briefing on the impact of Brexit on trade, Revenue’s head of customs at Dublin Port, Tom Talbot, said trade volumes coming in through the port were still very low and were down 50% on normal levels for this time of year.

Major drop

Talbot said the major drop in trade flows through the port was down to a number of reasons, including product stockpiling before Christmas, the forced closure of many businesses due to COVID-19 restrictions as well as many Irish businesses taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to the impact Brexit would have on imports from the UK.

While cargo volumes are way down on normal levels, Talbot said the percentage of goods being ‘green-routed’ through the port had now rising to over 80% of all imports, which is up from 75% last week and 45% in the first week of the year.

Green routed

Cargo being imported from the UK cannot leave Dublin Port without being ‘green routed’ by customs officials. Talbot said he expects the volume of trade coming into the port to increase significantly this week and warned that this increased volume was going to bring challenges in terms of the capacity at Dublin Port to carry out all the necessary paperwork and food safety checks on goods.

Advance notification

Helen Sheridan, a senior inspector with the Department of Agriculture, said some UK food companies shipping product to Ireland were still failing to provide advance notification to the Department that their consignment of food products was on the way.

Sheridan added that the veterinary health certificates required under the EU’s sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules were also causing considerable problems for UK food companies. Consignments of UK food cannot leave Dublin Port until the necessary SPS certificates are provided to inspectors, she added.