Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne T.D., visited Dublin Port on 7 October to meet the new direct ferry linking Ireland and Portugal and to see the infrastructure and systems that have been put in place to facilitate trade at the end of the Transition Period. This sailing, which links Dublin with Leixões near Oporto, is one of a number of new direct services that are in place, with more to come on line next year. Minister Byrne also met Dublin Port Company CEO, Eamonn O’Reilly, and discussed infrastructure and planning, including how the use of the landbridge will change after the transition period.
Minister Byrne said: “Enormous work has been done at Dublin Port to prepare for the end of the Transition Period. I was impressed by the scale of the new infrastructure including a large number of inspection bays for SPS and food safety checks, parking for some 130 heavy good vehicles along with documentary and identity check facilities, driver facilities and staff accommodation. I also had the opportunity to visit the new live-animal Border Control Post and pet facility. The enormity of the work cannot be overstated.
“There is no doubt there will be very significant changes to the way trade operates between the Great Britain and Ireland when the Transition Period ends on 31 December. There will be new procedures and paperwork that are not needed today. This change will cause disruption. The Government is doing all it can to minimise this disruption as much as possible and to ensure trade can flow through the Port to the greatest extent possible while maintaining food safety and public health and Ireland’s obligations to the Single Market.
“While operators will still be able to move goods via the landbridge, how it operates will change and there are likely to be delays at ports particularly immediately after the end of the transition period. By contrast, moving goods directly between Ireland and the EU will not involve new procedures. I encourage engagement between traders, hauliers and ferry companies to align capacity with need for more direct routes.”