Dublin Port calls for State agencies to reveal 24/7 Brexit staffing plan
Port to tell committee of increased delays with congested ferry arrivals from Holyhead
Dublin Port has asked for greater transparency from State agencies on how they intend to staff border checkpoints around the clock after Brexit. Photograph: Alan Betson
Warning of delays at the State’s busiest port, officials will tell an Oireachtas committee on Wednesday that the “huge Brexit infrastructure” built will not be sufficient and will need to be “manned and operated on a truly 24/7 basis by State agencies” to deal with the massive increase in goods becoming subject to border controls when the UK’s departure from the EU takes effect in January.
“We have been assured that it will be but it would be beneficial for all stakeholders if there were more transparency on the capacity the State agencies will have across the 168 hours of the week,” Dublin Port Company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly will tell the Oireachtas transport committee in his statement.
“Supply chain behaviour is going to have to change after Brexit and it would help if Customs and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine could be persuaded to publish key performance indicators of inspection activity levels each week.”
From January 1st, the number of non-EU goods subject to border controls will jump from 200,000 container and trailer units to 1.1 million when the goods arriving from Britain are included but they will have only a 24-hour lead time to process information on them.
Mr O’Reilly will tell the committee that “there is a risk that container terminal traffic, combined with the movement of HGVs [heavy good vehicles] between ferries and border control facilities, could exacerbate delays and lead to congestion”.
The committee will hear that, in a worst case scenario, congestion at Dublin Port could result in in-bound lorries exiting the Dublin Port Tunnel southbound and being “U-turned” back up to the tunnel onto the motorway network and held at parking sites “until congestion abates at the port”.
The port will say that border checks will cause delays and that eight ferries arriving in pairs from Holyhead in four waves six hours apart, with 10 minutes between arrivals, will increase those delays. Up to 1,000 trucks will pass through new border checks off those ferries every day.
Ferry arrival times
Management at the port wants to stagger those eight ferry arrivals at three-hour intervals to make the border checks and traffic more manageable but the ferry companies, Irish Ferries and Stena Line, are sticking with their existing schedules, citing customer demand.
Mr O’Reilly will say that from mid-December the port plans to launch an information campaign targeted at haulers and cargo owners suggesting that they “tell the ferry companies whether the current Holyhead arrival times actually meet their requirements or not”.
He will say that “once things settle down” after Brexit, all new border inspection facilities will need to be removed from Dublin Port and relocated to a single site north of the port tunnel within five years as the 14.5 hectares lost to Brexit will be needed for the port’s development to 2040.