Brexit: ‘Unbelievable mayhem’ coming to Dublin port, haulage boss warns despite quiet start to new year

Ferry operator forced to turn away six lorries headed for Ireland due to incorrect paperwork

Tom Embury-Dennis
Saturday 02 January 2021 16:02 GMT
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Louise Thomas

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“Unbelievable mayhem” is coming to Dublin port following the UK’s exit from the European Union, haulage bosses have said.

The warning comes after a number of lorries headed for Ireland, which remains in the EU, fell foul of the new customs arrangements that came into force at 11pm on New Year’s Eve.

Ferry operator Stena Line on Friday said it had turned away six lorries from a Holyhead service to Dublin because drivers did “not have the correct references”.

Eugene Drennan, president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, told The Times: “There will be delays, for sure. The mayhem that’s coming in Dublin port is unbelievable.”

Lorries arriving into Northern Ireland – which now operates under different customs arrangements to the rest of the UK – also saw delays, with nearly half on one ferry being subjected to inspection on arrival in Belfast, haulage association Logistics UK claimed.

But for now severe border chaos is yet to arrive at Britain’s major ports, due in part to reduced services on New Year’s Day.

On Friday, Dover saw just a trickle of lorries, with operator Eurotunnel saying traffic was particularly quiet because businesses had stockpiled in advance of a possible no deal.

The Road Haulage Association, which represents lorry operators, said the chaos would be largely invisible and take the form of drivers being turned away for not having the right paperwork rather than tailbacks.

“This is the quietest time of the year,” Ian Davies, Stena Line’s head of UK ports, told Sky News. “The true test will come when the volume starts to build.”

Businesses trading with Europe will now have to deal with dramatically more bureaucracy, filling in around 200 million extra customs declarations and year as frictionless trade comes to an end.

A last-minute free trade agreement negotiated by Boris Johnson managed to reduce some of the damage caused by the policy, but the new settlement is still expected to reduce UK growth by around 5.4 per cent in the long-term, according to the government’s own estimates.

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