There is a ‘strong likelihood’ Brexit will result in freight and passenger ferries (RoPax ships) re-routed away from Pembrokeshire (Pembroke Dock, Wales UK) while border checks at lorry parks might lead to delays.
PCC (Pembrokeshire County Council) has acknowledged Brexit could result in re-routing of freight after Irish hauliers pushed for a direct route to Europe to avoid post-Brexit congestion.
Stena Line and Irish Ferries (which both operate ferry routes between Pembrokeshire and Rosslare-Europort) are due to run daily crossings from Ireland to France starting January 2021.
Hildegarde Naughton, the Irish minister of state for international and road transport, warned that disruption was likely whether the UK Government secured a deal with the EU or not. Businesses needed to ‘start trialling those direct routes now’.
According to Pembrokeshire County Council, there was a ‘strong likelihood’ of freight being re-routed but it was ‘outside the influence’ of the council.
In a report released on November 6, the National Audit Office said border preparations remained very challenging and there was a ‘risk that widespread disruption could ensue’. The report adds that some of the uncertainty could have been avoided in case better preparations had been made by the government.
PCC said it had had no contact with the Irish Government on the issue of re-routed freight but attended online briefings from the Border Protocol Delivery Group and met with Welsh Government regularly.
According to a council spokesperson, the briefings and meetings were concerned with the practical implementation of HM Government’s Border Operating Model, rather than the impact on the ferry services. The Border Operating Model would come into force from 11 PM on December 31. It would introduce "border controls in a phased approach leading to full implementation from July 1, 2021.”
This would involve sample goods being inspected at ports in the UK, leading to delays for some lorries.