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Displaying items by tag: Brexit

Brexit checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea should be “operational effective” on 1 January even if customs facilities at ports are not yet on the ground.

That was the message from a senior Stormont official who gave evidence to the Executive Office committee yesterday, Wednesday 21 October, as TheJournal.ie reports.

“If buildings aren’t fully complete then that doesn’t stand in the way of there being effective checks,” said Andrew McCormick, Stormont’s lead official on EU exit.

Extra checks will be required on animal-based products entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the EU is seeking to have 15 customs and veterinary staff working alongside UK officials at ports of entry to ensure the proper implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

However, officials warn that the new physical infrastructure needed will not be ready by the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Marine Minister Charlie McConalogue has welcomed the resumption of Brexit trade deal talks by the EU and the UK which aim to close the gaps between the two sides, including on the key issues of fisheries, the level playing field and governance.

Addressing the the Brexit Stakeholder Consultative Committee today, Thursday 22 October, the minister again urged agri-food businesses to immediately take the practical steps necessary to prepare for the changes that Brexit will bring from 1 January next year.

“This meeting is being held at a critical time, given that there are only around 70 days until the economic Brexit becomes a reality for us all,” said Minister McConalogue.

“We have said this before, but it bears repeating … things will change on 1 January 2021, and we need to understand what this will mean and be ready for it. There will be additional delays and costs, and businesses need to factor this into their planning for the period from 1 January onwards.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs gave an update on the state of play of EU-UK negotiations and the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland — the full, effective and timely implementation of which remains vital.

The Department of Transport provided an update in relation to the issue of direct ferry connections to the continent. Minister McConalogue encouraged businesses to engage with ferry companies on direct services in order to avoid potential delays on the UK landbridge.

‘With just over two months until the end of the transition period, time is very short and action is required urgently’

Recognising the vulnerability of the agri-food and fisheries sectors in the event that no EU-UK agreement is reached in the coming weeks, the minister welcomed the Government’s recent budgetary provision for an overall contingency fund of €3.4 billion to address the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid-19.

“This contingency fund will be made available to assist our most vulnerable sectors,” the minister said. “In addition, we know that the EU will establish a €5 billion Brexit Adjustment Reserve for the Member States and sectors worst affected by Brexit.

“Clearly, Ireland and its agri-food and fisheries sectors are particularly exposed, and I look forward to seeing the Commission’s proposals in relation to how this fund will be administered.”

On fisheries, the minister noted his recent bilateral meetings with fisheries ministers from France, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands when he attended the Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Luxembourg this week.

“As we reach a critical point in the negotiations, I highlighted that, now more than ever, it is vital that member states continue to remain united in order to protect the EU’s fishing industry and coastal communities.

“Unity, co-operation and solidarity between member states are vital at this critical juncture.”

Concluding, the minister said: “With just over two months until the end of the transition period, time is very short and action is required urgently. This is not something that can be left to the last minute, so I would appeal to businesses in the agri-food sector to take action now.”

Published in Fishing
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‘ACT now and Prepare to Switch’ — that’s the message to the logistics and maritime transport sectors from the IMDO as the prospect of a disorderly Brexit looms.

The two-part strategy for stakeholders begins with ACT, or Assess, Communicate, Trial.

As highlighted by the Government since 2018, Irish industry needs to assess supply chains to avoid disruption on the UK landbridge from 1 January 2021.

There is maritime capacity available on both existing and new services to transport goods directly to Continental Europe across different modalities (RO/RO, CON/RO, LO/LO), which represent reliable alternatives to the landbridge.

Now is also the time to communicate your requirements to shipping companies.

There are multiple options to avail of new routes and new services. If there is a level of demand, shipping companies have demonstrated that they will respond to exporters’ needs — the latest being CLdN, which has indicated it can “dramatically” increase its direct services to the Continent if need be.

The next step is trial — work now with your logistics provider or shipping companies to trial new options well in advance of any changes after the Brexit transition period ends.

Stakeholders should Prepare to Switch to direct services to the Continent to protect their route to market and avoid disruption on the UK landbridge. This is especially important if:

  • Your supply chain needs a lead in time to make alternative arrangements on the Continent;
  • Your produce is time-sensitive;
  • Customs procedures will cause unmanageable delays and costs to your business;
  • There is a risk to your business in switching routes and this needs to be trialled well in advance.

For more information on planning for Brexit, see gov.ie/Brexit

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Royal Yachting Association is hosting a free webinar this Wednesday 14 October at 4pm to share news on its latest lobbying activities over Brexit.

Representatives from the RYA’s cruising and legal and government affairs teams will cover the latest communications with the UK Government on the Brexit-related subjects that RYA members are most concerned about.

These including cruising access to the Schengen Area, the Return Goods Relief for boats, the validity of sailing qualifications in the European Union and changes to border controls.

Registration for this free one-hour webinar is open now.

Published in Cruising
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The Cabinet has heard that Dublin Port is not yet ready for the looming Brexit deadline and needs another inspection facility.

On Tuesday Ministers discussed how prepared Irish ports and airports are infrastructurally. The Cabinet was told that while airports were on target, and Rosslare Port is also prepared, an inspection facility is still needed in Dublin Port.

Minister were updated on the looming Brexit deadline and a number of “high-level risks” that have been identified, including potential delays and blockages at UK ports for Irish operators.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is due to introduce a new Brexit omnibus Bill in the coming weeks to prepare Ireland for the changes that will arise at the end of the transition period.The Bill will consist of 21 parts under the remit of 11 Ministers.

The Irish Times reports also on the Climate Action Bill.

Published in Dublin Port

Post-Brexit fishing rights were high on the agenda at a “crunch” summit yesterday (Saturday 3 October) between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The Guardian reports on the EU’s warming to the idea of an annual agreement on share of catch, as mooted in the UK’s new negotiation paper — which offers a three-year transition period for EU fishing fleets — and following a fisheries deal reached with Norway last week.

Britain is now pushing that deal as a model for its post-Brexit relationship with the EU over fishing rights and quotas.

France remains opposed to the suggestion over fears that failure to reach agreement on annual allowable catches could destroy the livelihoods of its own coastal fishing communities.

But it’s understood Prime Minster Boris Johnson is hopeful that French President Emmanuel Macron — who is said to have isolated himself from other EU heads of state over his hardline stance on fisheries — will acquiesce to Britain’s new demands in order to secure a much-needed UK-EU trade deal.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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British boaters face a choice between extra costs rising into four figures or seeing their vessels being stranded in the EU after the end of the Brexit transition period, unless the UK Government acts now.

That was the warning in a joint statement issued yesterday (Thursday 1 October) by the RYA and British Marine, which castigated Whitehall officials for failing to provide guidance and transitional arrangements despite the mater being raised more than three years ago.

The two organisations say their understanding is that Returned Goods Relief (RGR) will only be available for goods returning to the UK provided RGR conditions are met, and that the goods must have been exported from the UK and returned within three years of export.

RGR gas not yet been incorporated into UK law and HM Revenue and Customs confirmed last month, after what the RYA and British Marine said was “an unacceptable delay”, that it “would not in fact be universally available”.

This will mean that, after the transition period, all boat owners established in the UK whose boats have not been in the UK in the last three years will likely have to pay VAT for a second time if they want to bring their boats back to UK waters.

The same issue will also “create turmoil” in the UK’s second-hand boat market, which is already fighting to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

RYA and British Marine are now calling on the UK Government to commit to transitional VAT and import duty relief for UK boat owners bringing vessels back from the EU until the end of 2023.

“Having waited over a year for HMRC to agree to a meeting, we assumed that HMRC officials would be in a position to definitively tell us what the UK legislation will be from the end of the transition period on 31 December,” said the RYA’s Howard Pridding.

“Regrettably, the meeting gave the RYA and British Marine no confidence that there is an understanding of the recreational boating market and that any of the issues we have raised are being given appropriate consideration by HMRC.”

British Marine chief executive Lesley Robinson added: “This is now a serious situation and it will create turmoil in the second-hand boat market. For UK brokers and distributors in the marine industry there remains doubt and confusion as to where they stand.

“There is a high probability that current VAT-paid boats (that will no longer have EU27 VAT-paid status after Brexit) will be devalued and become less attractive to buyers, which will impact businesses and ultimately jobs in the industry.”

Published in News Update
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European fishing fleets could get a three-year transition period to prepare for Britain to have greater control of its waters post-Brexit, if a last-minute offer made in current trade negotiations helps to seal the deal.

The Guardian reports on the new negotiation paper from the UK, which includes concessions for EU coastal communities that fish in British waters to phase down their activities.

Following this, the UK has suggested that it and the EU would agree annually on percentages of fish stocks shared between their economic zones, and base quotas on these figures.

On the EU side, one diplomat says “it doesn’t look like fisheries will stand in the way of an agreement”. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney also spoke positively of reaching a deal.

However, France is pushing to retain the status quo amid fears that failure to reach agreement on annual allowable catches could destroy the livelihoods of its own coastal fishing communities.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
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Ireland’s status as an island nation makes the future of our fishing industry of critical importance post-Brexit, the newly appointed Marine Minister has urged in Brussels.

Minister Charlie McConalogue was speaking after his meeting yesterday (Tuesday 22 September) with EU Fisheries Commissioner Virginius Sinkevičius to discuss the state of play regarding fisheries in overall Brexit negotiations.

The minister said he made it very clear that Ireland’s fishing industry is in a particularly precarious position, as Ireland shares its main fish stocks and its waters on three sides with the United Kingdom.

He also emphasised that any outcome in future negotiations that results in a loss of quota share for the European Union would cause permanent damage to Ireland’s fishing industry.

“The negotiating team must follow the EU mandate and defend existing quota shares and access arrangements, by linking the overall economic partnership and the conclusion of a fishing agreement to the fullest extent,” Minister McConalogue said.

He expressed confidence that Brussels would continue to defend Irish and EU fishing interests, and relayed the message from the Irish fishing industry that unity and co-operation are vital among European institutions and member states.

Minister McConalogue added: “I was very glad to meet Commissioner Sinkevičius [yesterday] and outline the negative social and economic impacts for fishing and coastal communities in Ireland, if a fair and balanced Fisheries Agreement is not reached with the UK.

“I welcome the opportunity to continue this close engagement with Commissioner Sinkevičius going forward.”

Published in Fishing
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What has Brexit got to do with your winter sails service this year? Barry Hayes of UK Sailmakers Ireland, explains the situation and why it’s such an urgent matter.

Dear customers, I want to let you know it’s really urgent if you need your sails washed and laundered to get them into us ASAP. The issue is Brexit, and specifically tariffs that will apply in the New Year without a trade deal in place.

If you need your sails washed, they need to go to Tiptop in England who are the only people who wash sails properly to UK Sailmakers’ standards. To get them washed and cleaned and back to Ireland before the Brexit tariffs will be applied after 1 January, time is now running out.

I know the season has been short and your sails haven’t been used much. But the service team at UK Sailmakers Ireland have the space and knowledge to get them serviced correctly and at the right price. Our team at the loft check every detail of your sail, making sure it’s ready for the new season.

Being mindful of the delayed season start with COVID-19 and associated restrictions, now as we get to the end of the season it’s more urgent than ever to get your sails in for service. Doing so now gives you the best option to be in early for the next season and make the most of 2021.

We are the most experienced people in the business at servicing your sails and have been doing so for more than 50 years, getting your every detail right so you can enjoy your coming season sailing. We have the space to stretch out your sail, fully hang it up to repair and replace a full UV cover, giving your sail the greatest longevity possible.

Contact UK Sails service manager [email protected] 

Published in UK Sailmakers Ireland
Page 1 of 9

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!

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