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Displaying items by tag: Irish Exporters Assoc

Irish Exporters Association (IEA) have today welcomed news that Irish and EU officials have developed a draft proposal that would give Irish food exports access to "green lanes" when they come off ferries traveling from British to continental ports.

The Association is cautiously welcoming the news due to the fact that the proposal still needs the approval of EU Member States and UK negotiators would have to agree to the terms during the course of the ongoing talks on a free trade agreement - talks that have not yielded substantial progress to date.

The IEA will closely follow the progression of this proposal and hopes that the outcome will indeed somewhat limit the impact of the UK’s withdrawal on the Irish agri-food sector.

Chief Executive Simon McKeever commented: “Trade between the EU and the UK will be different from 1 January 2021, irrespective of whether or not a trade deal is agreed between both parties, and businesses need to know that.

We welcome measures that limit the impact of the new trading environment on Irish agri-food exporters, particularly given that the smooth transit of Irish exports via the landbridge to the continent is of crucial importance.

The introduction of green lanes for certain products during the pandemic has proved to be largely successful. We would hope that this proposal allows for the similar fast tracking of Irish food and live animal exports destined for the single market via the UK.

We wait to see the details of the proposal, particularly clarity on whether or not the proposal completely removes transit barriers to the continent, more information on any digital paperwork required, and if there is a guarantee that no delays will occur at UK ports. These are questions that exporters need answers to.

Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen the opening up of direct shipping routes from Ireland to the continent. This development will in time limit the degree of reliance on the use of the landbridge by Irish supply chain operators and is an important point for Irish exporters to factor in when consulting their Brexit preparedness plans.”

Published in Ferry

At a press briefing today, the EU’s Chief Negotiator pointed out that the UK is not living up to several crucial issues jointly agreed in the Political Declaration from October 2019, including the level playing field. 

The end of the transition period (31 December) is less than 7 months away and the ongoing difficulties experienced in negotiations between the EU and the UK continue. As such the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) is calling on businesses to prepare for the strong likelihood that there will be no comprehensive free trade agreement between the EU-27 and the UK from 1 January 2021.

The IEA has continually expressed its deepest concerns about the very real possibility that the UK will depart from the EU on 31 December without a trade arrangement. The impact of the worst-case scenario on businesses is further compounded by efforts to address the COVID-19 fallout. The Irish Exporters Association is expecting that no trade agreement will in fact be agreed and that this will severely impact Irish exporter’s ability to recover from the economic fallout owing to COVID-19.

Chief Executive of the IEA Simon McKeever commented: “We believe that there will be no agreement reached on a free trade agreement between the EU and the UK and therefore businesses need to make preparations for a worst-case scenario. Considering the magnitude of a recession that the country is facing, businesses need to make haste and prepare for the next shock to the economy, which is the UK’s full withdrawal from the EU. This is now potentially just months away.

Businesses are already tackling the challenges of COVID-19, however, I would urge them to go back to their Brexit preparedness planning and ensure that they are still on track to deal with the potential fallout.”

Published in Ports & Shipping

Irish Exporters Association's chief executive has commented that the ongoing stalemate in the EU-UK negotiations on a future partnership could severely counteract the ability of an export led COVID-19 economic recovery.

Following, the UK Government’s publication of how it intends to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol, including details on how it will fulfil customs arrangements in Northern Ireland, scepticism has arisen. The Irish Exporters Association has raised concerns that the UK’s proposal adds to the uncertainty that the Irish business community is currently faced with.

Chief Executive Simon McKeever commented: “The operation of the EU Customs code by UK officials in Northern Ireland will need further clarification and we await the outcome of the technical discussion next week. In the absence of any new customs infrastructure in Northern Ireland, I have concerns about how sufficient customs checks, that protect the integrity of the single market and facilitate the smooth functioning of an all-Ireland economy, can be carried out. This ambiguity just adds another layer of uncertainty that businesses have to contend with.

Ireland has come through previous economic crises, with exporters driving the recovery. While the origins of this crisis are like no other we have experienced, the recovery does require the same tactics as the past and must be export led. We have stepped up communication to our members on the progress, or rather lack of, in these important negotiations and will reach out to members to ensure that they are prepared.

Although it is most undesirable, the only notable point of the 30 June is that we will have a better understanding on what the trading situation will be with the UK from 1 January 2021. We then have 6 months to prepare and the Government of the day must take account of this in any economic recovery strategy. If the UK are to walk away from the negotiating table from 1 July, which seems the most likely outcome now, this is not in anyone’s interest and I have concerns on how this will impede Ireland’s economic recovery.“

Published in Ports & Shipping

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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