Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Dublin Port: How Is It Preparing For a Possible No-Deal Brexit?

13th January 2019
972 Views
"Brexit-busting" super-ferries sail directly between Dublin and Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, bypassing uncertainty in Britain. AFLOAT adds above is the North Wall Quay Extension (close to the East-Link bridge) where for the most part Irish Ferries new €147m cruiseferry W.B. Yeats has docked within the port since arriving for the first time last month.  "Brexit-busting" super-ferries sail directly between Dublin and Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, bypassing uncertainty in Britain. AFLOAT adds above is the North Wall Quay Extension (close to the East-Link bridge) where for the most part Irish Ferries new €147m cruiseferry W.B. Yeats has docked within the port since arriving for the first time last month. Photo: Getty Images

#ferries - On top of the roof of Dublin Port Company's headquarters, you can see lots of building work amidst all the docked ships at the River Liffey's mouth.

And while that construction is not entirely Brexit-related, management at the port, BBC News reports, says it has to be prepared for the possibility of a no-deal and any potential economic fallout.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March, whether or not there is a negotiated deal. British Prime Minister Theresa May is hoping that her draft Withdrawal Agreement will get through the House of Commons, but preparations are under way in case it does not.

There is agreement across Irish society that Brexit will have an adverse effect on the country, but the worst scenario as far as the Irish government is concerned is that the UK leaves without a negotiated settlement. Politicians here refer to that option as a "hard" Brexit.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Ireland's economic growth would take a 4% hit "in the long run" if there is a "cliff-edge" break with the EU, because of the highly integrated nature of the Irish and UK economies.

And the independent Dublin-based think tank The Economic and Social Research Institute estimates that a "hard" Brexit could cost households up to €1,400 (£1,260) a year, because of a potential increase in food prices and possible trade tariffs.

Despite no-one in authority being in a position to predict how Brexit will unfold, the Irish government has already announced plans for an extra 1,000 customs and veterinary staff to work at Dublin and Rosslare ports and at airports, as well as new money to train people in sectors likely to be badly affected.

It has organised a series of very well-attended roadshows around the country with the involvement of state agencies with the theme "Getting Ireland Brexit Ready" for every Brexit scenario.

And there is evidence that more companies - worried about possible delays and resulting costs at Dover - are forsaking the UK land-bridge (incl. Holyhead) and for the new "Brexit-busting" super-ferries (see Afloat's report) that would sail directly between Dublin and Zeebrugge and Rotterdam, bypassing uncertainty in Britain.

It is too early to say what impact they are having, but the development is seen as significant.

There is an Irish political and economic consensus on Brexit.

For political reasons there is widespread agreement that there has to be a so-called "backstop" unless and until there is a wider trade agreement to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

It is feared that such a border could risk a return to violence after a hard-won peace.

For much more click here

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

DBSC
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

mgm sidebutton
bjmarine sidebutton
xyachts sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events

tokyo sidebutton
sovscup sidebutton
vdlr sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating