Posted on Jan 23, 2021
Hauliers in Ireland pleaded this week for Ireland’s Dublin Port to be given European oversight to solve the bureaucratic logjam disrupting trade with and through the UK, Politico reports.
Hauliers have been protesting outside the port, and Irish Road Haulage Association president Eugene Drennan drove his tractor-trailer rig to the European Commission offices in Dublin to hand-deliver a letter.
His message, addressed to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, warned that Ireland’s disjointed customs and clearance systems at Dublin Port were causing crippling delays on trade —even though traffic and volumes across the Irish Sea are currently exceptionally low.
Drivers have reported being held at the port for up to three days awaiting approvals on electronically submitted documents, with at least two IT crashes adding to delays. Dublin Port responded in part by saying it was installing more toilets and showers for truckers stuck overnight.
“The systems will collapse entirely once trade volumes are restored to normal levels,” Drennan wrote to von der Leyen.
“I am sure that Mr Barnier could exercise a very productive assessment of Irish processes and procedures arising from Brexit and make relevant recommendations to address current challenges,” Drennan wrote.
His demands were rejected, however, by Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney. “Introducing some kind of outside czar to come in will not improve the situation. Instead what we need is continued consultation. There was always going to be a difficult adjustment period.”
Independent lawmaker Verona Murphy, who previously ran a family haulage firm that shipped beef products to France, told Coveney that Irish authorities should have seen the problems coming.
She said each agency’s systems for submitting forms were not properly tested in advance and “don’t talk to each other.”
“A food consignment declaration can mean accessing as many as eight different IT systems,” Murphy said. “The procedure takes hours, if successful at all, only for the haulier to arrive at the port and be told that there was a problem with one of the eight IT systems accessed. As a result, tons of food are being destroyed.”
While goods volumes at Dublin were running at only 30 percent of normal levels, she said, customs staff “are already overwhelmed. These are not teething problems.”
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