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#Fishing - Marine Minister Michael Creed held a key bilateral meetings on the margins of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg this week with his Danish and Spanish counterparts to discuss Brexit and fisheries priorities.

Minister Creed met the Danish minister for fisheries Eva Kjer Hansen on Brexit, with both ministers agreeing to continue to work together over the upcoming critical period to deliver on the EU guidelines for a future relationship in respect of fisheries.

Minister Creed also held a bilateral with the Spanish Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Luis Planas Puchades to discuss development of CAP strategic plans, as well as key concerns with regard to Brexit.

“I welcome the understanding that both Ministers demonstrated in our discussions today with regard to Brexit and its impact on both the Irish agri-food and fisheries sectors,” said Minister Creed yesterday (Monday 15 October).

“There is a strong appreciation of the Irish concerns in the context of Brexit negotiations and I very much welcome the ongoing support provided by my Danish and Spanish colleagues in this regard.”

Ministers Creed and Planas also reviewed challenging issues facing both member states in advance of the full introduction of the discards ban on 1 January next and setting quotas at the December fisheries council that supports the practical delivery of this new policy.

Minister Creed addressed the setting of the mackerel total allowable catch (TAC) and quotas for 2019 in a situation where the scientific advice advocates a 61% cut from 2018.

Minister Creed said: “We need to take full account of the concerns from the scientists themselves about this year’s advice and take account of the socio-economic importance of the mackerel fishery when deciding on a TAC for 2019.

“We must work closely at an EU level with Norway and the Faroe Islands, our partners in the management agreement, to reach a balanced outcome that avoids undue inter-annual fluctuation in the management of the stock.”

Published in Fishing

#Brexit - The latest notice from the European Commission to stakeholders on Brexit preparedness concerns the field of aviation and maritime security.

Subject to any transitional arrangement that may be contained in a possible withdrawal agreement, as of the withdrawal date, the EU rules in the field of aviation security and maritime security will no longer apply to the United Kingdom.

In the maritime context, this will have consequences with regard to mandatory security information for passenger ferry services in the EU, from which the UK is exempt as a member state, and security inspections of vessels which the UK will no longer be able to carry out.

To date the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has published five Brexit preparedness notices relevant to maritime transport.

Full details of preparedness advice for maritime security are included in Marine Notice No 37 of 2018, a PDF of which is available to read or download HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#BrexitBlockchain - A leading UK port operator, Associated British Ports (ABP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work with digital logistics enabler Marine Transport International (MTI). This is to create one of Europe’s first detailed pilot programmes to examine the implementation of blockchain technology to improve port connectivity.

ABP operates 21 ports across the UK, Afloat adds among them Hull using Irish-built container cranes. Collectively these ports handling 25% of the country’s seaborne cargo. As such, it connects with a huge number of businesses involved in the logistics industry. Being able to transfer all types of cargo quickly and smoothly through its ports is critical.

“We handle almost 100 million tonnes of cargo across all sectors every year so we are a significant gateway for our customers’ supply chains,” said Jens Skibsted Nielsen, Commercial Director at ABP. “This MOU with MTI is a demonstration of our commitment to technical innovation and finding new ways to improve the UK’s supply chains.”

Ron Crean, Group Head of Marketing for ABP and leader of this project, commented, “Our aim is to support our customers in achieving frictionless trade. Based on the results from our previous proof of concept project, we are now looking at ways to deploy enterprise-level solutions that can deliver trust, security and speed.”

As part of the agreement, ABP will commit to participating in MTI’s blockchain solution in pilot shipments. Currently, each party in a supply chain, from shipper to haulier and from port operator to carrier, uses different systems, which do not all talk to each other efficiently. MTI’s technology could offer a way to securely link these disparate ways of working and could bridge the silos to reduce time spent on manually re-entering data, ensuring a single version of the truth.

“Blockchain is the buzzword of the logistics industry at the moment,” said Jody Cleworth, founder and CEO of MTI. “Yet some of the projects making a big splash are blockchain in name only. Blockchain-enabled technology has the potential to provide a transparent, secure and accurate way of capturing and sharing data with key parties, but for MTI the critical part is interoperability – it has to be able to openly connect with existing systems. The logistics industry is awash with proprietary technology that forces users to work in a certain way – with blockchain, we can connect all those systems to ensure data is accurately and quickly shared, helping speed-up and simplify the flow of trade in and out of the UK.”

Published in Ports & Shipping

#IrishPorts  - The Irish Examiner writes that exports to EU countries rose 15% over the past year with more than half of Irish goods going to the Continent in July, official figures have shown, as calls grow for Irish ports to be funded post-Brexit.

CSO figures for July showed the continental EU accounted for €5.65bn, or 51%, of exports in July, of which €1.44bn went to Belgium and €725m went to Germany.

Exports to EU countries increased by €749m, or 15%, compared with July 2017, according to the CSO.

Imports from the EU were valued at €4.8bn, or 63%, of total imports in July 2018 — an increase of €1.43m, or 43%, over the same comparative period.

For further facts and figures click the story here. 

Published in Irish Ports

#Brexit - An Irish ports industry body has called on the European Commission to shore up measures against the adverse impact of Brexit on marine passenger and freight transport between Ireland and the continent.

The commission is proposing to realign the TEN-T network’s North Sea Mediterranean Core Network Corridor, which currently links Ireland to France via the UK land bridge.

The EC proposal would amend the corridor to link Dublin Port and the Port of Cork directly with core ports in Belgium and the Netherlands.

While the Irish Ports Association (IPA) says it welcomes this approach, it also believes that “additional measures” are needed “because of the adverse impact of Brexit on Ireland’s peripherality”.

“It is vital for all three of Ireland’s core ports and at least one French port to be included in these new maritime links,” said IPA chair Des Whelan.

“Importantly also, existing routes between Ireland and France are between comprehensive ports in both countries, and it is important that the Commission finds a way to include these strategically important comprehensive ports in the North Sea Mediterranean Core Network Corridor, even if they don’t fit neatly into the TEN-T framework.”

Whelan added: “The challenges facing Ireland and northern France as a result of Brexit are unprecedented, and sea port connections for direct routes between Ireland and France are more important now than ever before.

“It would be also be beneficial for Ireland to be linked directly to the Atlantic Core Corridor. Ireland is one of three member states that have no road or rail links into the internal market and, instead, have to rely on sea transport.”

Whelan said the IPA also calls for the European Commission to “explore new ways of supporting Ireland’s smaller ports in their efforts to help them to adapt to Brexit”.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#Fishing - Authorities in France and the UK have stepped into the ‘scallop wars’ that broke out between rival fishing fleets in the English Channel near Le Havre last week.

As the Guardian reports, some 35 French boats chased away five British vessels off the Normandy coast in a standoff over restrictions on the region’s scallop fishery.

Between March and October, French boats are barred from fishing for scallops in the 40 miles of international waters off Normandy called the Baie de Seine.

Smaller British boats dredging for scallops in the same waters are under no such prohibition, which has raised the ire of their French counterparts who claim their stocks are being poached.

The French navy has already pledged to intervene in the event of any further clashes — prompting Downing Street to push for further talks between the two sides.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#Brexit - The latest Marine Notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport (DTTAS) sets out the European Commission’s recommended actions for Brexit preparedness for all stakeholders that may be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union next year.

Examples of necessary legislative changes at an EU level are indicated in the communication attached to Marine Notice No 34 of 2018. Some of these relate to the maritime sector.

The DTTAS also draws attention to other technical notices published by the European Commission, which set out the legal and practical implications of a no-deal Brexit. The department has published four of these notices relevant to maritime transport:

  • Notice to Stakeholders in the Field of Industrial Products
  • Notice to Stakeholders on Seafarers Certificates
  • Notice to Stakeholders in the Field of Maritime Transport
  • Notice to Stakeholders – EU Ship Recycling Regulation

The relevant notices were attached to Marine Notice No 7 of 2018 and Marine Notice No 23 of 2018.

Full details of all previous stakeholder notices are available from the European Commission website.

Published in News Update

#IrishPorts - The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said Ireland will have to hire around 1,000 new customs and veterinary inspectors to prepare the nation's ports and airports for Brexit.

As the Journal.ie reports, Varadkar said that “with growing uncertainty” about whether the UK government will pass a withdrawal agreement through Westminster, Ireland will need to “change the gear and up our preparations when it comes to Brexit”.

He was speaking after a Cabinet meeting at Derrynane in Co Kerry.

Varadkar said that this plan includes making preparations to our ports and airports, including Dublin Airport, Dublin Port and Shannon, for a change to the rules of trade between Ireland and Britain in January 2021.

“That involves preparing for and hiring veterinary inspectors to carry out sanitary checks on agricultural products and plant-based products coming in from Britain and also customs inspectors,” Varadkar said.

“We estimate that the number of people we will have to hire over the course of the next year is about 1,000 people. That’s customs and veterinary inspectors to prepare our ports and airports for Brexit.”

To read more including a list of Government measures that the cabinet has signed off, click here.

Published in Irish Ports

#Oysters - Unauthorised oysters farms have exploded in number on Lough Foyle amid a continued dispute over its ownership, as the Belfast Telegraph reports.

The estuary between the counties of Donegal and Derry remains a point of contention as Brexit looms, with both the UK and Irish governments claiming dominion over its waters.

As a result, there has been a proliferation of unregulated oyster farming that could be worth £20 million or €22.89 million each year, according to the Loughs Agency.

The Belfast Telegraph has more on this story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#IrishPorts - There are growing calls writes the Irish Examiner for additional funding to be given to ports to improve connectivity to continental Europe following Brexit.

Speaking at a joint Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) and Rosslare Europort conference in Wexford, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan said that Brexit will happen and that its final model was the only question that remained.

He called for a doubling of capacity at Rosslare, and for all ports to examine capacity, adding the forthcoming EU regional policies from 2021 to 2027 represented an opportunity for funding for which the Republic must be ready.

President of the IRHA, Verona Murphy said that because the Europort in Rosslare represents the shortest sea route for goods and passengers to continental Europe, it was ideally positioned to expand and grow in a post-Brexit scenario.

For further reading click here.

Published in Irish Ports
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