More ships are to run directly to Cherbourg, in France, and the Spanish city of Bilbao in the early months of 2021
More ferries are to sail directly from Ireland to the European mainland in a move to circumvent the traditional trade route over mainland England and Wales.
The British exit from the EU means that trucks passing through Irish ports will now have to undergo unpopular, lengthy and bureaucratic checks, particularly in the areas of agriculture, food and plants.
At Dublin’s port — the main entry and exit point for haulage companies moving product to and from Ireland to the European mainland and beyond — checks are returning for the first time since 1992 on cargo travelling across the Irish Sea
But 200 kilometres away from the Irish capital, the port in Rosslare is gearing up for major changes to prepare for increased haulage traffic.
€100 million is being spent on new approach roads, car parks and infrastructure, while one Danish ferry operator is launching a new service of six sailings per week from Rosslare to Dunkirk in France.
“Consignments coming in from the UK will be subject to two types of checks,” said Hazel Sheridan from the Irish Department of Agriculture.
She told Euronews: “All consignments will be subject to customs checks and then certain categories of consignments will be subject to what we call sanitary and phyto sanitary checks, SPS checks.
“SPS checks will apply to all live animals, regulated plant and plant products, products of animal origin such as meat, milk, germinal products, semenova and embryos.
“They’ll also apply to animal by-products as we call them. These are products not intended for human consumption.”
Officials at Dublin Port said the first morning of post-Brexit traffic on January 1 was had been calm, but that the first weekend of the year is always the quietest.
At Rosslare, port management acknowledges its routes to the French town of Cherbourg and to Bilbao, in Spain, may be a slower and more inconvenient way for some truckers.
The journey at sea will take longer than a traditional English Channel crossing.
But it will also bypass the long lines at ports in England which, until recently, had been accessible with ease.
“We’ve also seen a significant increase in direct sailings from Rosslare/Europort to mainland Europe,” said Glen Carr, operations manager at Rosslare Port.
“Rosslare/Europort is the closest [Irish] port to mainland Europe and from January we’ll be going from our current services which are five per week to mainland Europe.
“We’ll be increasing that to 14 direct services per week from January, moving to 15 in March.”