14 Brexit

Issue 2 2019 - FBJ Logisticians make themselves scarce

With near enough full employment in Ireland, finding people to work in the industry can be a challenge, says Garvan Cerasi, director of specialist recruiter, Logiskills. It could though be seen as ‘a

nice problem to have’; Cerasi has seen Ireland’s economy go from boom to spectacular bust and back to boom again, all in the space of a decade. Logiskills, meanwhile, has grown into Ireland’s largest specialist logistics industry recruiter. Impending


further strain on the available workforce. “We’re getting more enquiries for customs roles,” says Cerasi. While it is highly unlikely that there will be many fully-trained customs clerks looking for work in Ireland at the moment, what Logiskills can do is identify people with the necessary attributes – attention to detail, ability to follow processes, for example – who could, with specialist training, fulfil the role. Sales people are another that

segment are in strong

demand by the logistics industry, Cerasi continues. But he isn’t recruiting many drivers and warehouse staff - not because they are not in demand, but because pay rates are too low and contracts too short to make it attractive for Logiskills to get involved. Driver’s pay rates are around €13.50 an hour, he says, which

is far too low considering the responsibility the job entails and, indeed, if firms want to secure loyal staff, they are going to have to pay more, he argues. And without drivers, the Irish supply chain could grind to

are already established in the country. During the earlier boom,

there were plenty East Europeans too, but many of them have saved up enough money to go home, and this

firms in particular think twice about trying to expand their workforces. The shortage of housing in Dublin especially is pushing people further and further out of the city, which in turn is adding to commuting


gets its customs house in order

Belfast agent Hamilton Shipping has increased its Community Transit guarantee and got itself customs badges for a number of UK ports, says business development manager Philip Burns. It is also investigating whether to get a full bond for one of


warehouses, just in case Brexit leads to an increase in goods needing to be customs cleared. Burns explains: “A lot of

a halt, with loads piling up in ports waiting to be collected. There is some influx of

overseas (non-EU) people into Ireland, including those from the Indian subcontinent, and Brazilians who gain entry on the strength of having European parentage. In fact, says Cerasi, around 30-35% of people the agency is placing are of non- Irish origin. The remainder are people who are native Irish or

has created a further labour shortage. Faced with a labour shortage,

recruiters like Logiskills are asking the government to change the Critical Skills List to include logistics roles. At the moment, there is no chance of being allowed to recruit a freight forwarder from a non- EU country but, they argue, it is just as hard a role to fill as a doctor. Cerasi foresees that a

number of factors could put a brake on growth in employment in Ireland. The high cost of living is a concern, and it is making multinational

times and compounding the difficulties many firms have in recruiting. The morning rush hour queues on the main routes leading into Dublin stretch for many miles. Anecdotally, FBJ was told

by more than one freight firm that the biggest single reason for staff leaving were long and difficult commuting journeys. Peoples’ job expectations are changing.

also Interestingly,

says Cerasi, long-term job security isn’t high on the agenda of many younger people, so firms might need to expect to refill roles every couple of years or so.

people doing cross-border shipments are worried about not being able to move their goods.” Having a bonded facility would give somewhere where the goods could be held while any problems are sorted out. Hamilton already operates an ERTS bond but a full bond will give more space and flexibility, and it will also allow customers to defer payment of VAT and duty. It could also be useful even if Brexit turns out not to be a major impediment to trade, Burns suggests. Hamilton is Northern Ireland

agent for Southern Irish-based short-sea container operator Eucon and moves a lot of traffic via Dublin, so a hard border could create issues. Businesses

are beginning to

realise what could be involved and Hamilton is investigating a number of possible strategies. Eucon also operates direct

calls into Belfast twice a week. The service is generally reliable, says Burns, barring a few issues with


congestion in Rotterdam, which can mean vessels skipping terminals. However,

services via Antwerp run pretty reliably, he adds. If Brexit does cause border issues, it could mean more Northern Ireland traffic coming direct into Belfast, although another possibility is that some shippers might move Northern Ireland-based operations across the border into southern Ireland. Hamilton itself also has a Dublin office, though, so it would be able to continue to serve these customers. Brexit might lead to a rethink

of some traffic movements, perhaps avoiding unnecessary border crossings between Northern and Southern Ireland if it means having to use Community Transit procedures. Hamilton Shipping

meanwhile has had a good start to the year, says Burns. “People have been purchasing more, perhaps because it’s because they don’t want to get goods stuck in Rotterdam or Antwerp,” he suggests. The company would

consider recruiting or training more staff if Brexit “really kicks off” though the company is fortunate in that it has one senior guy who has worked in the industry since before 1992. Interestingly, Burns sees a

lot of school leavers coming into the shipping industry in Northern Ireland, in contrast to the shortage

Hamilton Shipping

of fresh

blood seen in many other parts of the UK and southern Ireland – despite the fact that employment levels in Ulster have been rising lately.

Hamilton represents short-sea operator Eucon in Northern Ireland

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