On the concluding day of the British Ports Association conference in Belfast as previously reported on Afloat, the BHA and UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) have responded to the latest EU withdrawal agreement currently awaiting parliamentary approval.
Under the latest deal, Ports Strategy reports, that Northern Ireland will officially be part of the UK’s customs territory but with an EU/UK customs border in the Irish Sea, meaning that, de facto, NI follows the EU's customs rules. UK customs authorities will check goods at British (ferry)ports before they enter NI and ensure tariff-free passage provided the final destination remains NI. The Democratic Unionist Party has refused to back the new agreement.
Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the BPA, has cautiously welcomed the news. “There remains some fundamental issues for ports across Britain and Ireland to manage,” he said.
“We have repeatedly warned that a no-deal Brexit would be unacceptable and we now look forward to a more orderly process and reiterate our view that a future relationship should prioritise the flow of trade at our frontiers. The trade between the island of Ireland and Great Britain is important and particularly that between Northern Ireland and Britain,” he added.
More here on the Brexit Deal development.