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Maritime Connectivity in the Context of Brexit: ACT Now and Prepare to Switch

The Irish Maritime Development Office in conjunction with the Department of Transport, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation and Department of Agriculture Food and Rural Development is today launching a communications campaign to encourage the logistics and maritime transport sectors to ACT now (Assess, Communicate, Trial) and to Prepare to Switch to direct routes to the Continent. It is inevitable that there will be delays in UK ports. The Irish Government have been strong on this message since 2018 and this concurs with the UK’s own assessments.

This campaign serves to reinforce the message that there is maritime capacity available to transport goods directly to Continental Europe. The options are many and varied across different modalities (ro-ro, con-ro, lo-lo) providing both accompanied and unaccompanied options to exporters.

On 31st December 2020, the Brexit transition period comes to an end, the UK having formally left the EU earlier this year. While negotiations on a Trade Agreement between the EU and UK are ongoing, businesses in all sectors have been preparing contingency plans.

As set out in the Government’s updated Brexit Readiness Action Plan, published on 9th September 2020, businesses are being asked to consider moving, in advance of the end of the transition period, to direct route options for the movement of goods from Ireland to the Continent, to avoid potential delays and the new procedures that will be introduced associated with using the UK landbridge. Shipping companies should also continue to assess expected future demand requirements and remain ready to respond.

Liam Lacey, Director of the Irish Maritime Development Office, expressed confidence in the Irish shipping industry’s ability to meet emerging demands. “We are fortunate to have so many excellent shipping companies in the Irish market. They have demonstrated their ability to respond to the needs of the Irish market and have invested heavily in the provision of reliable, modern tonnage” Lacey commented.

It is important that importers and exporters continue to communicate with shipping companies to ensure that adequate capacity is made available over the coming months. Direct services to the Continent, both Ro/Ro and Lo/Lo, represent reliable alternatives to UK Landbridge, for many importers and exporters. If there is sufficient demand, shipping companies have demonstrated that they will respond to market needs, as evidenced by the new capacity that has recently become available on direct routes to the Continent.