It has been some time since we spoke about BREXIT here, but given the recent developments and news coverage centred around the logistics industry, I felt it was time to put pen to paper. In my last blog, I quoted Feargal O’Rourke from PwC who said: “the only thing we can be sure of is that disruption and change are inevitable – firms need to prepare now for additional costs, border issues, disruption to supply chains and people mobility issues”. Frankly, we appear to still be in the same precarious position as an industry, and the implications that BREXIT could have on just-in-time (JIT) delivery is quite significant.
So what is the issue exactly?
UK Land Bridge
For some readers who aren’t familiar with this, the UK land bridge is the term used to describe the route to market that connects Irish imports and exports to mainland Europe through the UK port network.
This route has been vital to Ireland as it gives fast access to the single market. Putting it into numbers, 21 million tonnes of imports and exports travelled to and from the UK in 2019 alone.
No Deal Scenario
There is still much uncertainty around what the outcome of BREXIT will be and what the logistics industry will face on January 1st 2021 and beyond. The bottom line is that as an industry, we need to prepare ourselves as best we can to be resilient during these times of change.
The biggest concerns with the no-deal scenario are; travel times and additional costs.
- Travel Delays
Without the land bridge on RORO, services via direct sea-route can take up to 40 hours while LOLO services via direct sea route can take up to 60 hours. These delays have a considerable effect on time-sensitive products such as food exports (fish, meat, dairy), and businesses like ours who rely heavily on JIT delivery on sensitive equipment.
- Additional Costs
With more paperwork, comes more costs and with more time spent on the road comes more costs again. These price hikes have a knock-on effect on competitiveness and put pressure on businesses.
What Does the Industry Need?
Direct Ferry Routes
The Irish Times reported last week that The Irish Road Haulage Association had urged the government to help set-up fast and direct ferry services to mainland Europe to avoid post-BREXIT disruption.
Security Checks at Dover Port are said to have resulted in Irish drivers taking more than 3 hours to travel just 2km which in turn has an onward delay.
As mentioned in my last blog, many ferry companies are introducing new routes from Irish Ports to Europe directly. These are the main routes that have been announced to date:
- CLDN: Dublin to Zeebrugge, Belgium
- Irish Ferries & Stena Line: Dublin to France
- Brittany Ferries: Cork to Santander, North Spain
We are still waiting to see if Stena Line and Irish Ferries adjust their timetables to give a daily service from Cherbourg to Ireland; rather than both sailing on the same day.
As of Tuesday, October 6th, it has been reported in the Irish Times that “Rosslare Europort are in advanced discussions with a shipping company to star a direct ferry service to continental Europe.” You can read the full article here.
IT Management Systems
Experts are emphasising the importance of having IT management systems in place to ensure that exports on route to the single market adhere to EU requirements. These systems will help manage the flow of lorries at UK borders and ensure that consignments are cleared to proceed to the EU – Fleet.ie
Driver Rest Times
It has also been suggested that mandatory rest times should be taken into account when the drivers are on the ferries so that they can make up for lost time on the road.
Right now, these are the conversations that are taking place, and I hope that the next time I sit down to write on BREXIT that there is a more concrete roadmap for our industry with minimal disruption.