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The IMDO and the Department of Transport recently hosted a port director's training programme in Dublin.

This one-day training took place on last Tuesday 18 October in The Alex Hotel in Dublin city centre and was aimed at promoting the highest standards of corporate governance.

The programme differed from mainstream training for directors as it maintained a port-centric focus and an emphasis on best practice in corporate governance standards.

In summary, the training aimed to:

  • familiarise directors with the particular circumstances and conditions prevailing within the ports industry in Ireland and the objectives and responsibilities set for port companies under the National Ports Policy;
  • inform directors regarding their responsibilities and duties as company directors and the particular responsibilities that are associated with State boards;
  • describe the different sides of governance, using case examples;
  • facilitate an interactive approach that will stimulate discussion around the particular issues facing the directors of port companies; and
  • identify the contribution that ports make to the Irish economy and the need for strong and open competition within the sector.
Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has published its Q2, 2022 Unitised Traffic Report with an executive summary below.

In addition to consult the full report, see attachment.

Executive Summary

At the midway stage in 2022, unitised traffic volumes - made up of finished goods such as food, clothing and manufactured products - are performing strongly.

In the Roll – On / Roll – Off (RoRo) market, Dublin Port, Rosslare Europort and the Port of Cork handled a combined total of more than 600,000 units in the first half of the year. This represents 2% growth on 2019, or pre-pandemic, volumes, and means that the RoRo market is now on track to surpass 1.2 million units in 2022, a record annual total.

In the Lift – On / Lift – Off (container) market, traffic volumes are currently at record levels. Dublin Port, the Port of Cork and the Port of Waterford handled 595,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU’s) in the first half of 2022. This represents 11% growth compared to 2019, or pre-pandemic levels, and 1% growth from 2021. The second quarter of 2022 recorded a total volume of over 311,000 TEU’s, the highest quarterly total on record. Like the RoRo market, the LoLo market is also on course to record 1.2m TEU’s in 2022, surpassing the annual record set in 2021 of 1.18m TEU’s.

Following the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1st 2021, the IMDO reported on the significant impact this event had on the structure of the unitised freight market on the island of Ireland. Eighteen months into the post-Brexit era, these impacts remain unchanged. The following paragraphs encompass the main shifts that have occurred in unitised freight markets in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Direct Demand

The demand from Irish importers and exporters for RoRo services on direct routes between a port in the Republic of Ireland and a mainland European port (e.g. Cherbourg, Rotterdam) rose dramatically. In 2021, the volume of RoRo traffic on these direct services rose by an unprecedented 94%, from 198,000 units per year, to 383,000. This trend has continued into 2022. One in three RoRo units now travels on a direct route between Ireland and a mainland European port, compared to approximately one in six pre-Brexit.

Since the end of the Brexit transition period, RoRo operators have responded to this demand by introducing unprecedented levels of capacity on direct routes. Incumbents announced increases in fleet size, vessel capacity, as well as intensification of existing schedules. In addition, several new routes were introduced.
The momentum behind this increase in direct capacity has also continued into 2022. In July, Finnlines, a subsidiary of the Grimaldi group, launched a new RoRo route between Rosslare and Zeebrugge. This investment by another new entrant to the Irish RoRo market reemphasizes the persistent nature of this ‘direct demand.’

Intra – Modal Competition

In the LoLo market, the majority of services from ports in the Republic of Ireland are already on direct routes to mainland European ports, such as Rotterdam and Antwerp. Like RoRo operators, LoLo operators have therefore benefitted from the post-Brexit increase in demand from Irish importers and exporters to access EU ports directly, without the need to adhere to new customs requirements at UK ports.

As a result of this change in demand from Irish importers and exporters, intra-modal competition within the unitised freight market (i.e. RoRo Vs LoLo) has increased significantly post-Brexit. Services offered by both operators can be effective substitutes for one another, providing access to central European shipping hubs, meaning operators in both markets compete for similar business.

Loss of Landbridge

Beginning in early 2021, the IMDO has documented the significant declines in RoRo traffic between ports in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain (i.e. ROI – GB). This traffic has consistently been between 15% and 20% below pre-Brexit levels, and this remains unchanged in 2022. This has been driven by the following three factors.

First, a decline in the demand from Irish importers and exporters to make us of the UK road and ports network as a means to access markets in mainland Europe, a route commonly known and the UK Landbridge. This has been the predominant cause of the decline in ROI – GB traffic. This UK Landridge traffic has, in large part, moved to the direct EU services described above.

Second, a decline in the demand of Northern Irish importers and exporters to make use short sea RoRo services between Republic of Ireland ports and UK ports, particularly Dublin Port, as a means of accessing markets in Southern England and Wales. This can be referred to as the Irish Landbridge. This Irish Landbridge traffic has moved to RoRo services between Northern Irish ports and ports in Great Britain, (i.e. NI – GB), driving record volumes on these routes, and causing further losses for Irish port traffic.

Lastly, the relocation of distribution hubs from Great Britain to mainland European countries has amplified the reduction in ROI – GB traffic. Following the end of the Brexit transition period, several large retail companies with Irish stores have relocated distribution warehouses from areas such as southern England, to areas such as northern France and the Benelux region.

In all of the cases described, the imposition of customs declarations and customs checks on trade between the EU and the UK has underscored these shifts in Irish freight traffic patterns.

Conclusions

The IMDO has noted in previous reporting that Brexit has fundamentally altered the composition of Irish maritime freight traffic. At the midway point in 2022, this remains the case. Direct demand in RoRo and LoLo markets is at record levels, with more new RoRo routes added in the second quarter of 2022. Roro traffic on GB routes continues to record declines of between 15% and 20%, with no immediate signs of a return of Northern Irish traffic or UK Landbridge traffic to pre-Brexit levels at Irish ports.

Overall, unitised freight traffic in Ireland is strong, given the many challenges faced over the past two years. However, economic headwinds such as inflation, high energy costs, elevated containership freight rates, and persistent port congestion at major hubs have meant that the outlook for global seaborne trade is increasingly negative. Despite the extremely high levels of uncertainty, the Irish maritime sector has, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, proven its considerable resilience and adaptability to changing global circumstances. These characteristics may be required again in the latter half of 2022.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has published its Unitised Traffic Report for Q1, 2022 with an executive summary below in addition to a full report, see attachment.

RoRo

RoRo traffic in the first quarter of 2022 grew by 18% when compared to Q1 2021. This rise was expected, as a significant pre-Brexit stockpile, coupled with COVID-19 lockdown measures, suppressed traffic volumes in Q1 2021. When compared to Q1 2020, traffic is 4% higher in 2022. At 296,000 RoRo units, this is a robust performance for the sector that is in line with 2019 volumes, a year which recorded the highest annual total on record.

The increase this quarter was driven by traffic on ROI – GB routes, which rose by 22%. It was on GB routes where the pre-Brexit stockpiling effect in early 2021 was most concentrated. GB traffic through Dublin Port rose by 24% year-on-year, while GB traffic through Rosslare Europort rose by 4%. However, ROI – GB traffic remains approximately 20% below pre-Brexit levels, with no imminent sign of a rapid return to such levels.

ROI – EU RoRo traffic has held on to the remarkable gains made throughout 2021. ROI – EU traffic rose by 10% when compared to Q1 2021. Again, this was expected given the unusually low volumes recorded in early 2021. There were significant COVID-19 economic restrictions in place during that period. As with previous waves of economic restrictions in 2020, a decline in maritime traffic followed.

Elsewhere in the Irish RoRo market, it should be noted also that RoRo traffic at the Port of Cork is performing strongly, with the addition of two new services in 2021 now showing up in traffic handled. Overall, both ROI – GB and ROI – EU traffic have recorded volumes that are in line with those handled throughout 2021. As a result, the post-Brexit makeup of Irish RoRo traffic remains unaltered.

In Northern Ireland, RoRo traffic in Q1 2022 is in line with Q1 2021, recorded 0% growth. However, this is roughly 6% below the average quarterly volume recorded in Northern Irish ports throughout 2021, wherein record volumes were handled. The disruption caused by P&O ferries restructuring in March 2022 led to the loss of traffic at the port of Larne, and this explains much of this decline.

LoLo

As highlighted in the latest volume of the Irish Maritime Transport Economist, LoLo traffic through Irish ports have also benefitted from post-Brexit demand for direct services to mainland Europe. Record volumes of LoLo TEUs were handled in 2021. In Q1 2022, LoLo traffic through ROI ports is 1% higher than the same period in 2021.

By pre-Brexit measures, the ROI volume of 284,058 TEUs is a record-breaking total. The highest quarterly volume of LoLo traffic recorded before the end of the Brexit transition period was just over 280,000 TEUs. By post-Brexit measures, however, this quarterly total represents a relatively subdued performance. The average quarterly volume of TEUs recorded through ROI ports in 2021 was just over 293,000 TEUs. The volume in Q1 2022 is 3% below this average. This is also the case for LoLo traffic at Northern Ireland ports. The post-Brexit quarterly average through Belfast Harbour and Warrenpoint was 64,500 TEUs. The volume in Q1 2022 is 4% below this average.

This loss of momentum in LoLo traffic is reflective of the increasing cost of container freight rates, which have risen sharply since mid-2021. Charter rates for feeder containership vessels rose by a factor of six between Q1 2019 and Q1 2022. Such dramatic increases in freight rates were caused by a combination of port congestion at major hubs, disruption to the supply lines of new vessels, and changes in global consumption patterns since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Passengers

When compared to Q1 2021, a period of significant travel restrictions, maritime passenger traffic in Q1 2022 rose by more than 200%. 210,000 passengers transited through Dublin, Cork and Rosslare on ferry services, almost 150,000 more than the same period in 2021. However, this remains 31%, or roughly 95,000 passengers, fewer than Q1 2019. The return to pre-pandemic passenger volumes has therefore yet to be reached.

In Northern Ireland, passenger volumes have made a full return to pre-pandemic levels. In Q1 2022 passenger numbers at Belfast and Larne were 102% higher than in the same period in Q1 2021. They are now 35% higher than 2020, and 17% higher than in Q1 2019.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The 19th and latest edition of the Irish Maritime Transport Economist, a report produced by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) on Ireland’s maritime freight industry, has been published today (Monday 23 May) and makes for encouraging reading for the ports and shipping sector.

This edition reports on 2021, a year marked by the reorganisation of Irish supply chains following the end of the Brexit transition period, and a rebounding of demand in port traffic as COVID-19 restrictions were gradually eased.

The year under review was one of significant change in the RoRo freight market. With the end of the Brexit transition period came a surge in the demand for services on direct routes between Irish ports and mainland European ports.

RoRo traffic on these services rose by 94% compared to 2020. This demand was driven largely by a reduction in the use of the UK Landbridge. RoRo traffic to ports in Great Britain declined by 22% as a result of the shift in Landbridge traffic and also the redirection of Northern Irish traffic from ports in the Republic of Ireland to services through Belfast, Larne and Warrenpoint.

Direct EU traffic now represents one third of all RoRo volume, compared to 17% in recent years. In addition, LoLo traffic, the majority of which moves on direct routes to mainland Europe, increased to record levels, growing by 11% to just under 1.2m TEU’s.

Last year was also one of resurgent demand for Irish port traffic, as COVID-19 restrictions were gradually lifted and economic activity began its return towards pre-pandemic levels.

Break bulk traffic, made up largely of construction materials, rose significantly as Ireland’s construction industry regained momentum. Liquid bulk volumes increased gradually throughout the year and by the fourth quarter, were back at 2019 volumes.

In the RoRo passenger sector, numbers began to rise rapidly following the introduction of the EU’s Digital COVID Certificate which facilitated a return to international travel. 

And in the RoRo market, the number of weekly sailings to mainland European ports rose from 30 sailings per week to more than 60 at different points throughout the year. Two new entrants arrived into the RoRo market in 2021, such that now there are six shipping companies offering 13 different direct RoRo services to mainland EU ports, increasing capacity in what is a dynamic and competitive market. 

Commenting on the 19th edition of the IMTE, Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State for International and Road Transport and Logistics, said: “I commend all stakeholders who contributed to the Brexit response and would like to express my appreciation for their efforts in maintaining Ireland’s connectivity to both GB and European markets.

“Ireland’s maritime industry was instrumental in maintaining a strong, connected economy throughout the monumental challenges of Brexit and COVID-19. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of the ports and shipping sectors and express my thanks for the invaluable services they provide.”

Liam Lacey, director of the IMDO, commented on the year ahead: “There are many reasons to be positive about the future of the Irish shipping industry. Demand is expected to rise further in 2022 as the effects of COVID-19 dissipate, and the period of greatest Brexit-related uncertainty passes.

“However, many new challenges lie ahead. The IMDO will continue to monitor these closely and report on the impacts for the Irish maritime industry.”

The Irish Maritime Transport Economist, Volume 19 is available to read and download on the IMDO website HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

The iShip Index outlining trends within Ireland’s shipping industry grew by 5% in 2021, the Irish Maritime Development Office says.

The IMDO’s iShip Index is a quarterly weighted indicator that accounts for five separate market segments, representing the main maritime traffic sectors moving through ports in the Republic of Ireland.

These comprise unitised trade which includes lift-on/lift-off (LoLo) and roll-on/roll-of (RoRo), and bulk traffic which includes break bulk, dry bulk and liquid bulk.

The IMDO says 2021’s figure is the fastest rate of growth in the index since 2017, and represents a return to the volumes of freight handled in 2018 and 2019 after the suppressive effect of the COVID-19 on port traffic.

Just over 54 million tonnes of freight were handled at Irish ports in 2021, a 2.8 million-ton increase compared to 2020, the IMDO says.

In the dry bulk market, a 10% annual increase compared to 2020 was almost entirely driven by coal. This trend is reflected in port traffic volumes, as imports of coal through Shannon Foynes Port Company rose by over 1.2m tonnes.

In the liquid bulk market, growth of 7% was driven by oil, Ireland’s largest source of domestic energy. Imports of petroleum rose in all three of Ireland’s Tier 1 ports in 2021 as demand for domestic and aviation fuel rose in line with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Lastly, break bulk traffic across Irish ports rose significantly in 2021, increasing by 12%. This was driven by a return to construction activity in the domestic and international markets after severe restrictions within the sector throughout 2020.

In the unitised freight market, performance in 2021 was defined by two main characteristics. Firstly, 2021 recorded a surge in demand on direct services between the Republic of Ireland and mainland European ports, driven by the post-Brexit transfer of traffic away from the UK landbridge.

LoLo traffic, measured in Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), rose by 12% to 1.17m TEUs, the highest annual volume on record. RoRo traffic on direct routes grew by 94% to an unprecedented level of 383,000 RoRo units.

The second predominant trend that emerged in 2021 was the increase in RoRo traffic at Northern Ireland’s ports.

Through consultations with stakeholders and through detailed analysis of time series trends of RoRo traffic on the island of Ireland, the IMDO says it is clear that haulage companies based in Northern Ireland have transferred significant volumes of business away from RoRo services in ports in the Republic of Ireland.

The IMD suggests that this, along with the move away from the UK landbridge, explains the decline in RoRo traffic between Irish and UK ports in 2021. These volumes declined by 22% in 2021.

Overall RoRo traffic in the Republic of Ireland declined by 3% this year, offset by the surge in traffic on direct services. RoRo traffic in Northern Ireland grew by 12%.

In all, freight volumes through the Republic of Ireland recorded robust growth in 2021, and have returned to levels consistent with those before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Brexit has had a significant impact on the composition of the Irish RoRo market and has led to unprecedented volumes in the Irish LoLo market.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Tagged under

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has published its Unitised Traffic Report for Q3 of 2021 and below is an Executive Summary.

A full report of the various shipping sectors modes is available to download by clicking the attachment link as below.

Roll/on – Roll/off (RoRo):

In Q3 2021, RoRo volumes through ports in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) were consistent with those in Q3 20192. Between July and September, 297,920 RoRo units were handled at Dublin Port, Port of Cork and Rosslare Europort, just 0.02% more than the same period in 2019. However, the configuration of RoRo traffic in terms of route choice and shipping mode has been significantly altered compared to 2019. The following is a summary of the most pronounced trends that have emerged in the RoRo freight market:

71% of all ROI RoRo traffic is now unaccompanied, compared to 64% in Q3 2019. This is the highest share held by unaccompanied traffic on record.

One third of all RoRo traffic in the Republic of Ireland now operates on direct routes to ports in the European Union, up from a 16% share held throughout 2019. In the first nine months of 2021, ROI – EU traffic is already 52% above its annual total for all of 2019. Q3 2021 was one the second busiest on record for these direct routes, surpassed only by Q2 2021.

In terms of capacity, Irish importers and exporters have benefitted from a significant increase in the choice of direct EU services in 2021. After responding to a surge in ‘direct demand’, there are now 13 different direct EU RoRo services available to Irish businesses, compared to 6 in 2019.3
ROI – GB RoRo traffic has declined significantly since January 2021.

Volumes in Q1 2021 were distorted by a pre-Brexit stockpile, combined with strict COVID-19 restrictions in January and February. Q2 & Q3 2021 therefore provide a more reliable insight into current demand on ROI – GB routes. In Q3 2021, ROI – GB volumes fell by 20% compared to Q3 2019.

The volume of traffic recorded in Q2 & Q3 2021 is the lowest since early 2015. In all, for the first nine months of the year, GB traffic has declined by 25% compared to 2019. ROI – GB traffic now accounts 67% of ROI volumes, compared to 84% throughout 2019.

In Northern Ireland (NI), RoRo traffic has reached unprecedented levels. Q3 2021 was the second busiest quarter on record, surpassed only by Q2 2021. In Q3, NI RoRo traffic rose by 11% when compared Q3 2019. All three Northern Ireland RoRo ports, Belfast and Warrenpoint & Larne, have recorded significant growth in RoRo traffic in 2021.

Underpinning all of these trends are the new customs and trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK that came into force on January 1st 2021 after Great Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. Brexit has had a significant effect on RoRo traffic on the island of Ireland.

The most prominent impact has been on the use of the UK Landbridge, a term used to describe a route to market that connects Irish importers and exporters to international markets via the UK road and ports network. Demand for the Landbridge has fallen considerably, and this has driven the simultaneous decline in ROI – GB traffic and increase in direct ROI – EU traffic.

In addition to the Landbridge issue, some RoRo traffic has also ‘transferred’ away from ROI - GB routes and towards NI – GB routes. RoRo services at ROI ports have historically been utilised by many NI hauliers wishing to access markets in the midlands and southeast of England. From early 2021, it was clear that haulage companies based in Northern Ireland had transferred some traffic away from RoRo services in ROI in order to avoid the new customs requirements involved between Ireland and UK ports.

As detailed in Section 3 (iii), the IMDO estimates that of the displaced ROI – GB RoRo traffic, approximately 80% has moved to ROI – EU services, while the remaining 20% has moved to NI – GB services.

Lift/on – Lift/off (LoLo):

Like RoRo traffic on direct EU routes, LoLo volumes have also reached unprecedented levels in 2021. LoLo traffic through ROI ports set a record in Q2 2021, surpassing 300,000 TEUs for the first time. In Q3 2021, volumes are slightly below this level, at 299,765 TEUs, but remain significantly above the average for the past five years. In Q3 2021, ROI LoLo traffic grew by 13% compared to Q3 2019.

Beginning midway through 2020, LoLo volumes have surged, and have consistently held onto gains made each quarter. Quarterly TEU volumes are now higher than the peaks recorded before the financial crash in 2008.

The vast majority of LoLo services on the island of Ireland are direct to continental EU ports. As a result, many of the factors that have driven a surge in ROI – EU RoRo traffic are applicable to the Irish LoLo market. LoLo volumes have benefitted greatly from the demand from Irish importers and exports to access EU markets directly, without the need to adhere to customs requirements at UK ports since Brexit.

Overall, in the last nine months, the substitutability between accompanied RoRo, unaccompanied RoRo and LoLo services has become more pronounced, with increased competition and dynamic capacity evident in each market.

Passengers

As highlighted in the IMDO’s Q1 & Q2 reports, no Irish maritime market segment has been more severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions than the market for passengers.

Following the introduction of the EU Digital COVID Certificate in July 2021, the volume of passengers on maritime services in the Republic of Ireland rose significantly. Tourism / passenger numbers in the Republic of Ireland increased by 86% in Q3 2021 when compared to Q3 2020.

In the summer of 2020, many international travel restrictions were still in place, both in the Republic of Ireland and across Europe. When compared to Q3 2019, passenger numbers in Q3 2021 declined by 56%. Since the initial wave of the pandemic in Ireland, this is the closest the industry has come to returning to 2019 passenger levels.

In Northern Ireland, passenger numbers in Q3 2021 have returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Published in Irish Ports

The Irish government's development, promotional and marketing office for the shipping services sectors, the IMDO is among the sponsors of the high-profile biennial London International Shipping Week, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) sponsor role in the premier global and maritime event week (13-17 Sept) is where the LISW21 provide an opportunity for the international and UK maritime community to get back together again. This time face-to-face and for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

During LISW's 'must attend ' events, this will offer up to 250 in-person, hybrid and virtual industry functions and unique networking opportunities for leaders across all sectors of the international shipping industry and the UK shipping industry. Take a click here for conference speakers and panelists.

Among the events Afloat has consulted is the Coastal Shipping Seminer, to be held tomorrow, Wednesday, 15 Sept. Attendees will gain new insights into coastal shipping and understand how to revolutionise the green supply chain. To register this British Ports Association seminar, click this link for the event attended by ports and shipping operators.

As for the high profile LISW21 Conference (also tomorrow) this is to take place at the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) headquarters on the Thames along Albert Embankment in central London.

In addition a glittering black tie Gala Reception and Dinner held aptly in the National Maritime Museum downriver in Greenwich is on Thursday, 16 September. This key event will attract the very highest-level from the UK government and shipping industry leaders across the UK and from around the world.

For further details of LISW21 there is the Official Event Guide (click to download) which is packed with information on this year’s premier global shipping and maritime event.

The events (calender) will be held by international shipping and marine trade associations and the UK Government, as well as by official sponsors of the week.

Both face-to-face and virtual events will take place, and seamlessly be blended via the dedicated LISW21 Portal. To access the portal and register for free online events click here.

During the week of LISW, a daily breakfast morning news programme is podcast from 7am

Published in Ports & Shipping

The Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) has announced the publication of the 18th edition of the Irish Maritime Transport Economist.

In this edition, we report on 2020, one of the most challenging years that the Irish maritime industry has faced for many decades.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in Q1 had a dramatic and negative effect on freight and passenger volumes. Public health concerns necessitated the imposition of restrictions on the movement of people, internationally and domestically.

In the early months of the pandemic, passenger volumes fell by over 90%, while RoRo freight volumes fell by over 25%. Although other shipping market segments were not immune to the suppressive economic effects of the public health restrictions, their impacts were not as deep or as lasting as those experienced in the RoRo freight and passenger segments.

The second half of 2020 stands in marked contrast to the first half, from a RoRo and LoLo freight perspective. The losses of the first half of the year were recovered, as initial public health restrictions were eased and most retail activity recommenced in Q3.

Moving through Q4, combined RoRo and LoLo freight volumes set a new record of 1,324 points on the IMDO’s iShip Index for unitised trade. Unitised volumes were bolstered by the desire of traders to create stockpiles in advance of the year-end Brexit deadline. RoRo and LoLo volumes in Q4 were sufficient to make good earlier losses and bring overall unitised throughput for the year to just 1% below 2019 levels.

The restrictions on international travel introduced in Q1 remained in place, resulting in passenger volumes falling by 73% for the year. Bulk trades were also negatively affected by lockdown measures. Market demand for bulk materials, particularly in the construction and transport sectors, fell significantly.

The COVID-19 pandemic and preparations for Brexit placed unprecedented pressure on the maritime industry in 2020.  The response of the industry to the COVID-19 outbreak has been remarkable, from both an operational and a health and safety perspective. 

Connectivity to international markets was maintained, supply chains were protected and measures were put in place to protect the health and safety of users of (Irish) ports and shipping services. All of this was achieved while preparations ramped up for the UK’s departure from the EU, the result of which involves a new regime of border controls and inspections in our ports. This work was undertaken with commitment and professionalism by all workers in our maritime industry, who are deserving of our thanks and admiration. 

In conclusion, may I take this opportunity to wish all those involved in the maritime transport sector success in the vitally important work they do in maintaining and expanding Ireland’s trade links with the rest of the world and in driving growth, efficiency and competitiveness in our economy. 

The effects of COVID 19 continue to be felt in the maritime industry, but the resilience that the industry has demonstrated in recent times and the growing success of the Government’s vaccination programme, give cause for optimism in the industry’s to bounce back and contribute to the recovery the Irish economy.

Published in Irish Ports

The European TEN-T Coordinators for the Motorways of the Sea and the Atlantic and North Sea-Mediterranean Corridors have organised an online joint workshop on smart and sustainable maritime transport in the Atlantic and North Sea region post-Brexit over two days next week.

‘Ensuring connectivity between Ireland and continental EU post-Brexit: the role of maritime links’ next Thursday 22 April from 9am to noon Irish time will see representatives from the ports, shipping, business and logistics sectors come together for the first of exciting panel discussions.

This first half-day panel will focus on the impact of Brexit on Ireland’s maritime links to date, while the second will examine what the future holds for Ireland’s maritime connections to continental Europe.

Opening remarks at the event will be delivered by Minister of State for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Hildegarde Naughton. To register for this panel, click HERE.

Then on Friday 23 April, the joint working group on ports will meet from 9am to 12.30pm Irish time for three panel discussions focussed on digitalisation, greening and hinterland connections of ports in the Atlantic and North Sea basins. To register for this second panel, click HERE.

Both events are co-organised by the TEN-T European Coordinators for Motorways of the Sea, Professor Kurt Bodewig; the TEN-T North Sea – Mediterranean Corridor, Professor Peter Balazs; and the TEN-T Atlantic Corridor, Professor Carlo Secchi. Find the full agenda on the IMDO website.

Published in Ports & Shipping

Companies in the shipping industry, reports The Irish Times, will respond to “unanswered demand” for more direct ferry services to mainland Europe if Brexit congests the key UK “landbridge” route, the State’s maritime development agency said.

Hauliers have said the increased frequency of sailings between Ireland and Cherbourg in France to a daily service from January was welcome but that it would not serve as a substitute to the speed and ease of transit currently, before Brexit comes into effect, over the landbridge.

Liam Lacey, director of the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO), urged importers and exporters shipping goods to and from Europe to “trial” direct routes between now and January when Brexit border checks begin to see if they work as alternatives for their supply chain.

EU-UK border checks from January mean that transport companies and hauliers face delays at British ports on the Irish Sea and English Channel, potentially disrupting the fastest and cheapest transit route currently between Ireland and mainland Europe.

Mr Lacey acknowledged that Brexit-related delays on the landbridge, jeopardising time-sensitive cargos, could force companies to change their business models and supply chains.

“I don’t underestimate the difficulty about that,” he said. “People need to understand that they will have to consider changing the way they operate. It might be a short-lived thing until the landbridge settles down but we just don’t know that.”

More here from the newspaper and a response from the Freight Transport Association of Ireland as Afloat also reported yesterday.

Published in Ferry
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