FTAI warns government over No Deal Brexit planning

The Irish government is unprepared for a No Deal Brexit scenario and the logistics industry will suffer as a result, according to FTA Ireland.

The association, which represents the country’s logistics industry, has called on the government to urgently advance and clearly communicate its contingency plans for the haulage sector should the UK leave the EU without a deal, or face significant threats to the country’s supply chain.

Aidan Flynn, General Manager, FTA Ireland commented: “A No Deal Brexit would have a seismic impact on the UK’s trading environment and in turn, the freight distribution and logistics sector on both sides of the Irish Sea. If the UK leaves the EU without an agreement in place, it would cause major disruption to our integrated, interdependent supply chains.

“And with more than 60 per cent of ambient food product consumed in Ireland coming from the UK, it is vital that enforcement authorities take a pragmatic approach to regulatory requirements for trade with a third country if no deal is reached between the UK and the EU. The checks which could be implemented on arriving and departing goods in this case would be hugely disruptive both to businesses awaiting deliveries of raw materials or finished items, and to the end users who will face delays, disruption and rising costs.

“The UK is set to leave the EU in four weeks’ time and our members are none the wiser as to how they are to conduct their vital business, which keeps the country trading. Today, FTA Ireland is calling on the government to provide detailed contingency plans on how it intends to prevent the risk of increased delays, substandard driver welfare facilities, red tape, and damage to future business opportunities – all of which will have a significant impact on the logistics industry and those it serves.”

As Mr Flynn continues, with a huge dependence on fresh produce and live exports, Ireland’s food businesses and those serving them are seeking urgent clarity on key issues:

“FTA and its members are still waiting confirmation on how many veterinary inspectors will be trained and available to immediately commence work at 23:00 on March 29, 2019 in the event of a No Deal exit. In addition, business also waiting on the publication of traffic management plans to deal with the expected increase in traffic surrounding Ireland’s ports – both key issues which FTAI has been seeking clarification on for two years.

“Dublin Port itself is of particular concern; there is currently no capacity for traffic to build in or out of the Dublin Tunnel in the event of congestion in the ports. The Road Safety Authority must decide what action to take when, inevitably, these increased delays cause drivers to exceed their working time; plans must also be in place to ensure delays and congestions will be effectively communicated across the road network. And while the government is investing in facilities at Dublin Port to accommodate traffic into and out of the UK, where are the welfare facilities for drivers? With few, if any, alternative stopping points close to the port, this is a major concern to FTAI.

“The government may be taking steps to ramp up its contingency planning, but the current approach – where all regulatory bodies are mandated to have resources in place to deal with Brexit – does not manifest itself in the private sector. Here, many small and medium-sized business simply do not have the resources to invest in or make changes, until there is certainty about what those changes need to be, and with four weeks to go, time is running out.  Logistics businesses cannot be left in the dark like this, if products and services are to continue to move freely in and out of the country.”

The Minister for EU Affairs, Helen McEntee, will update delegates on the latest government preparations at FTAI’s Transport Manager Seminar, which takes place on March 5 at the Johnstown House Hotel, Enfield, County Meath. 

For more information on FTA Ireland, including how to join, please visit www.ftai.ie