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Donegal haulage firm voices concern as Brexit looms

A Donegal haulage firm has spoken of its Brexit concerns as the countdown to Britain’s departure from the European Union nears.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has written to all Irish hauliers urging them to speed up their Brexit preparations.

The FTA says companies should take immediate action to advance their Brexit arrangements or risk increased delays, red tape and costs in doing future business.

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Davy Lyle is transport manager with Newtowncunningham-based Deerpark Haulage.

He says that while Deerpark has not begun making preparations for Brexit, any obstacle that could cause delays in transport would be a concern.

Deerpark specialises in bulk liquids and transports 300 tonnes of biofuel across Ireland every week.

“If there was a return to borders then it would be a worry because it would restrict our movement,” Mr Lyle said.

“The delivery of oil is driven by price so a customer might not want anything today but they could contact us and say they want a delivery at 6am tomorrow. So any restriction on our ability to make that delivery would definitely be worrying.”

Mr Lyle said that with so much uncertainty around what Brexit will look like, it was difficult for companies to start making preparations.

“If you have to go an agent, get paperwork signed and then stop at customs the way it was years ago, that would be a big worry. Particularly if the customs office only opened at certain hours, say from 8am to 5pm in the evening.

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“That would be a worst case scenario and with the technology we have available today I doubt very much it will go back to that.

“But here aren’t making any preparations because we don’t know how it is all going to finish up. It’s all up in the air,” Mr Lyle added.

Launching the document ‘Brexit Preparedness for the Haulage Sector’, The Freight Transport Association Ireland’s general manager, Aidan Flynn, said he accepted that much uncertainty remained about how the economy will look once Britain leaves the EU.

One way or another though, Brexit will have a massive impact on how Ireland and the UK does business, he added.

“Whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations – deal or no deal – it will have a seismic impact on the UK’s trading environment and in turn, the freight distribution and logistics sector on both sides of the Irish Sea,” Mr Flynn said.

“By leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market, the UK will trigger notable friction in the supply chain. There will inevitably be multi-agency checks at ports and the administrative burden placed on the logistics industry – particularly road haulage – will hinder business development and, in some cases, cripple the small to medium enterprise sector.

“2019 brings with it a significant amount of uncertainty but there are steps all hauliers can take today to mitigate the risks Brexit presents to their operations. With less than 100 days to go, very few hauliers are adequately prepared. That’s why FTAI has launched a comprehensive guide, Brexit Preparedness for the Haulage Sector, which sets out recommendations to aid preparedness, covering key areas including routes to market, ECMT licencing, the Common Travel Area and compliance and auditing requirements.

“Even if the worst case scenario of a no-deal exit is avoided, the recommendations within the guide will nevertheless aid a company’s competitiveness and be beneficial to its future.”

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