New customs facilities being built in Dublin Port ahead of Brexit

Checks by uniformed officers will be necessary once the UK leaves the EU

New checks and facilities are being put in place at Dublin Port in anticipation of Brexit Photograph: Eric Luke.

New checks and facilities are being put in place at Dublin Port in anticipation of Brexit Photograph: Eric Luke.

 

Dublin Port has started putting up new buildings for customs officials to check vehicles coming off ships and ferries after Brexit.

Eamonn O’Reilly, chief executive of the port, said people travelling by sea will again be met with uniformed officers as necessary checks are put in place when the UK pulls out of the European Union.

“We are building the basic infrastructure that is needed, if you like, to put the man with the peak cap with the harp on it, to check vehicles when they are coming off,” he said.

“But the checks will be much more sophisticated than that. We are doing a lot of work with government agencies. We had 11 civil servants down at five o’clock in the morning last week to have a look at ships discharging at that time, to get a sense of the scale of what is going to be necessary, precisely so we don’t get queues when the necessary checks are put in place, whenever that may be.”

Mr O’Reilly has previously said if the new customs checks are not needed in March 2019, he has “reasonable certainty” they will be needed 12 months after that.

Discussions have been ongoing between Dublin Port, the Office of Public Works and other State agencies about “what they require in Dublin Port”.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland on Wednesday, he said works are also being carried to “strenghten, deepen and build new piers and jetties” as bigger ships circumventing the UK are already arriving.

“We are seeing larger ships coming already, tending now to go on routes directly to continental Europe,” he said.

Dublin Port announced on Tuesday it would invest up to €1 billion in new facilities over the next 10 years.

Cargo volumes in the first half of the year are better than expected. Publishing details of a revised masterplan, the port said that by the end of this year its business will have grown about 37 per cent over the past six years.

Roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) freight increased 4.6 per cent in the first half of the year, container volumes increased 5.8 per cent while tourism numbers are also up – 2.7 per cent on last year, with ferry passenger numbers reaching almost 800,000. The number of cruise ships calling to the port rose by 14 to 64.