Hauliers warn over post-Brexit Irish Sea trading

Imports and Exports | | MIC Customs Solutions |

Trade between the UK and Ireland could be disrupted from January as post-Brexit customs systems are not ready to be implemented, it has been claimed.

Hauliers in Ireland have warned that systems for implementing customs checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea between the UK and Ireland are not ready for the start of post-Brexit trading rules on January 1st.

The Irish Road Haulage Association has claimed that disruption to the movement of goods through the port of Holyhead in north Wales could be "terrible" for at least the first six months of 2021, as key software systems have not been fully tested, BBC News reports.

While inbound freight into Wales will not face any checks by UK authorities until July 2021, the EU is planning to begin enforcing border controls on goods entering Ireland from day one of the post-transition environment. This could lead to delays in securing customs clearance at the port.

Holyhead is the UK's second-largest ferry port after Dover, handling 1,200 trucks and trailers a day. This also makes it one of the key entry points to the Republic of Ireland, not just from the UK, but also the rest of the EU.

The port's owner Stena Line has already confirmed plans to set up inland customs facilities away from Holyhead, which are believed to be in Warrington and Birmingham in England, to ensure goods can be pre-cleared before arriving at the border.

Meanwhile, new ferry routes are also being set up to link Ireland directly with France and ensure the UK can be bypassed completely for goods transiting to and from Ireland and the EU mainland.

Any disruption at the border is likely to have significant knock-on effects for industries such as manufacturing, which depend on the 'just-in-time' delivery of parts.

Chris Yarsley of Logistics UK told BBC News: "Any break in that supply chain will cause manufacturing issues, therefore people will look to other places to source their goods and that could impact on the economic viability of the UK."

Elsewhere, the potential for post-Brexit delays in trade across the English Channel has also been highlighted this week, as the Guardian reported that a trial of post-Brexit border checks by French border officials resulted in long tailbacks for goods vehicles heading to Dover.