Traders ‘abandon’ Holyhead port post-Brexit, says Irish gov agency report
Traders are abandoning the port of Holyhead post-Brexit, according to a report from an Irish government agency.
The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) says that trade frictions caused by the UK’s departure from the European Union has “significantly altered” freight traffic between Ireland and Britain.
The agency, which provides support to maritime businesses in Ireland, adds that this has sparked a steep rise in volumes to and from Ireland and other European Union members.
The introduction of checks on a number of goods since the UK left the EU’s trading orbit on Dec 31 has cut imports from Britain by 35% in the first five months of 2021.
At the same time the number of shipping routes to mainland Europe more than doubled.
What is called roll-on/roll-off or RoRo traffic between Irish and British ports was 20% lower in the second quarter compared to the same pre- pandemic period in 2019. Volumes on Irish/EU routes were up 99% on 2019.
According to IMDO, the most significant factor behind the changes was traders abandoning the once-speedier British “land bridge” where hauliers would take a ferry between Dublin and Holyhead, drive across Britain before taking another one to mainland Europe.
The agency’s quarterly report found that many any are shunning the route over concerns about delays and disruption due to new customs controls.
It said: “It is clear in the first six months since Brexit, the configuration of Irish RoRo traffic has been significantly altered.”
Traffic between Irish and British ports has plummeted from 67% of all Irish Ro-Ro volumes compared to 84% two years ago. Direct routes to the EU have doubled their share to 33%.