The government must support the establishment of new ferry services to offset the risk which a No Deal Brexit presents to the route between Ireland and mainland Europe across the UK, according to FTA Ireland (FTAI).
The call follows the launch of Irish Maritime Development Office’s (IMDO) document, Report to the Department of Transport: A re-assessment of Ireland’s maritime connectivity in the context of Brexit and COVID-19 challenges.
Comments Aidan Flynn, General Manager of FTAI: “A No Deal Brexit could lead to serious disruption on the UK’s so called land bridge – the route across the UK mainland to Dover/Calais and on to Europe – and delays of just 12 hours would compromise Ireland’s maritime connectivity to continental Europe severely. To establish robust and sustainable alternatives to the route, the government must help to install multiple new, fast, daily ferry services to Northern France; this would also serve to open Ireland up to new trading opportunities post-Brexit transition period.
“While IMDO’s suggestion of expanding the current routes to Cherbourg and Roscoff are welcome, with a sailing time of 18 hours, these services do not offer a viable alternative to the land bridge, which allows vehicles to access the European mainland in a fraction of this time. We must ensure that Irish hauliers, once landing in France, have not exceeded their drivers’ hours and are able to complete their journeys to the heart of the EU market in a timely fashion.”
He adds: “Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands are critical markets for Ireland both in terms of imports and exports. Also opening new routes closer to these markets will serve to protect the international haulage sector in Ireland.”