The appointment of a dedicated minister for transport and logistics is vital to leading the country forward through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and climate change, according to FTA Ireland (FTAI), the business group representing the country’s logistics sector.
Speaking on the landmark appointment of Junior Minister Hildegarde Naughton to the new role, Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTAI, said: “FTAI has been campaigning for the government to appoint a minister dedicated to international transport and logistics for several years; we are so pleased to see the role has been created and Junior Minister Hildegarde Naughton appointed to the post.
“With climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and the UK’s departure from the EU, there has never been such pressure placed upon supply chains and logistics in Ireland before; the industry needs dedicated and expert leadership to face these unprecedented challenges and we are confident Ms Naughton, working with the new Minister for Minister for Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport, Eamon Ryan, will fulfil this role.
“FTAI stands ready and willing to work closely and proactively with the newly-formed government: a historic collation between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party. On behalf of our members, we will ensure that the key issues facing the freight distribution and logistics sector are articulated and presented in a fashion that delivers real solutions for the Irish economy, protecting jobs in our sector and ensuring Irish competitiveness on the global stage.”
FTAI has three key asks of government, covering sustainable transport, Ireland’s future trading relationships, and road safety, as Mr Flynn continued: “As negotiations escalate between the EU and the UK on their future trading relationship post-Brexit, FTAI is urging the government to work with the freight distribution and logistics sector in a proactive manner to ensure the interests of our industry are represented effectively to the EU Commission. Most importantly, government must protect the transit rights of the Land Bridge transiting Great Britain, to ensure Irish haulage businesses continue to have unfettered access to continental Europe; protecting Ireland’s accessibility to EU and UK markets is vital.
“FTAI is also urging the government to adopt a 10-year strategy to transition road transport to a low or zero carbon industry. This includes supporting the move to alternatively fuelled vehicles by working with industry to deliver realistic and fair solutions and accelerating the implementation of the recommendations from the Phase 2 Low Emission Vehicle Taskforce Report from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The recommendations include rolling out grants for low emission vehicles and installing the appropriate fuelling infrastructure.
“We are also calling for the government to support the activities of the Road Safety Authority and the Garda Síochána to enable effective, safe and fair roads policing and enforcement of commercial vehicle activities.
“The challenges that lie ahead – navigating Ireland’s new trading relationships, economic and societal recovery from the pandemic, climate change and road safety – will require focus and understanding from our political leaders that has been wanting in the past. FTAI looks forward to working collaboratively and effectively with the government, and particularly the new ministers responsible directly for the freight distribution and logistics sector.”