Calls for Wales to have one ferry port in Pembrokeshire instead of two due to declining trade following Brexit would be a “disaster” for the county, a Senedd candidate has said.
Rosslare in Ireland’s January traffic to the UK was down 49% on last January, with freight direct to the European mainland up 446%.
Glenn Carr, general manager at Rosslare Europort in Ireland, suggested closing either Pembroke Dock or Fishguard ports to compensate.
But the Liberal Democrat Senedd candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire said that would be a “disaster” and called for Welsh Secretary Simon Hart to “take urgent action” to solve the situation.
“Some companies have chosen to take the sea route from Ireland to the European continent rather than going through the UK’s land bridge,” he said.
“They have done this to avoid the trading barriers which have arisen from our hard Brexit. Mr Hart and his government colleagues need to ‘step up to the plate’ and take urgent action to eliminate these trading barriers before we lose one of our precious ferry ports.”
Conservative Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb also called on the UK Government to “get a grip” on the situation.
“There’s now a big fight on to retain competitiveness and win back business that seems to have been lost out of the Welsh ports since the end of the Brexit transition period,” he said.
“So the UK government needs to get a grip on working out simpler, more effective, streamlined procedures for complying with this paperwork, making it less of a headache for doing business through the Welsh ports between the Republic, the UK and the continent.”
Tina Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Senedd Candidate for Preseli Pembrokeshire also said both Fishguard and Pembroke Dock are vital ferry ports to our local community and to local businesses.
“Staff at these ferries have worked very hard to provide an excellent service which also benefits tourism and local trade,” she said.
“The government needs to end its trading barriers with Ireland to avoid the catastrophe of one of these ferries closing.”