Export & Freight Feb-Mar 2020

So, we have a new Stormont Executive up and running, and we have entered the so-called 10-month transition period following the UK’s exit from Europe, but as far as our industry is concerned, there is still much work to be done as we move towards a new trading relationship with the EU.

The new Conservative government assures us that there will be no checks or new reporting systems on trade crossing the Irish sea, however both Ireland and the EU insist there needs to be some arrangement in place to protect the Irish border when the so-called transition period ends on December 31, 2020. It has been said that the longer the transition period, the longer the two sides will have to work out exactly how the Irish border will function. We won’t be holding our breath.

There also remain questions about how exactly goods will move between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Under the new withdrawal agreement, the reality is that Northern Ireland will apply many EU customs rules and there will effectively be a customs and regulatory border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Irish Sea, so questions remain. Will paperwork such as customs declarations be required? To what extent will goods have to be checked? How different will the regime be for goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland compared with those going in the other direction? As we said in our last issue, we need more clarity, and soon.

But away from politics, in this issue we have a number of exclusive interviews with leading industry figures, including DAF’s Laurence Drake, Mercedes-Benz Trucks’ Sam Whittaker and the new MD at Gray & Adams, Geoff Potter. We also have a report on MAN’s latest truck generation series, and we’ve been finding out how Scania’s trucks have been performing in Norway’s harsh winter conditions.

We hear, too, from HirecoNI on how and why it is going ‘electric’ with a move into the van rental and sales market; we have been speaking to the award winning aftersales team at Diamond Trucks and we discover how Dennison Commercials is taking a charitable approach to its 50th year in business.

In our shipping section, you will also find our annual comprehensive guide that lists every freight and passenger ferry operator, shipping line and shipping agency in Ireland; it’s proved to be an invaluable reference point for the industry down through the years.

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