13 Feb 2018 | 10.51 am
‘Existential’ Brexit Threat For Ireland’s Trade
Engineers say Ringaskiddy should be ramped up
13 Feb 2018 | 10.51 am
The disruption to Ireland’s trading patterns which will result from Brexit makes it imperative to prioritise investment in land and sea routes serving south coast ports to enable Irish exporters to respond, according to research carried out by the Irish Academy of Engineering.
The engineers’ report, ‘Brexit: Implications for Transport Infrastructure Investment’, concludes that the two key priorities will be the development of Ringaskiddy port, near Cork, and a Galway-Limerick-Cork-Ringaskiddy motorway.
IAE chief executive Gabriel Dennison said: “The impact Brexit will have on the Irish economy is becoming clearer as the EU-UK negotiations progress. A hard Brexit, with the UK leaving the customs union, is looking increasingly likely. If this happens, companies exporting to Europe from Ireland will face major disruption.
“In particular, Irish exports passing through Dover will face unprecedented delays. If every one of the 10,000 trucks passing through Dover every day had an extra two-minute delay due to passport/customs checks it would cause a 17-mile tailback, according to Dover Port Authorities, affecting exports from Ireland destined for Europe.”
A very high proportion of Ireland’s goods trade, particularly exports, are carried on Ro-Ro ferries or on container ships, and almost 85% of that passes through Dublin ports, and two thirds of trade with mainland Europe passes through the UK. The academy believes that the pattern of concentrating shipping routes on the east coast must change in response to the “existential threat” posed by Brexit.
The report’s key findings include:
- Except for fuels, ores, grain, animal feed and transport equipment, the vast bulk of Ireland’s goods trade is carried in trucks, on Roll On-Roll Off (Ro-Ro) ferries or in containers, on Load On-Load Off (Lo-Lo) vessels
- At present almost 85% of this trade passes through Dublin Port, predominantly to the UK
- Two thirds of trade with Continental Europe is estimated to pass through the UK, much of it through Dover
- Trade with Asia and Africa is shipped via deep sea container ports in the UK
- Dover is the busiest Ro-Ro port in Europe and UK authorities recognise that Dover is incapable of operating a customs regime, because of the very limited land area at the port
- Dublin is the second busiest Ro-Ro port in the UK and Ireland and is now the busiest city port in these islands
- Enlarging the capacity of Ireland’s south coast ports, particularly Ringaskiddy, would improve supply security and direct access to the Continent
- This would require new investment including completion of the Atlantic Cities Motorway Route linking Galway, Limerick, Cork and Ringaskiddy, to deliver one-hour travel times from Galway City to Limerick and from Limerick to the Dunkettle interchange
- This will require investment of €1.1 to €1.8 billion
- It would contribute to balanced regional development by relocating a significant portion of the employment in supply chain management, warehousing and distribution, now concentrated in the Greater Dublin Area
- It would also reduce traffic congestion and housing demand in the GDA