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IRELAND\\\ >> 12


Irish consumers buy through


UK-based websites (many of which offer delivery to Ireland at reasonable rates). Whether that will change aſter the UK leaves the EU remains to be seen. If dealing with the uncertainty of customs clearance or paying duty puts consumers off, he has no doubt that buyers will click on the .nl or .be site in preference to the UK one in future. A lot of IWT’s business is


contract rather than spot market- based, explain the two MDs, and that means going wherever the customer asks, whether that is in Ireland, the UK, or further afield. Indeed, IWT’s latest


development has been to open a sales office in Hamburg under business development manager Axel Rieck, who has worked with IWT for many years. Hamburg is attractive to IWT not only for the opportunities to attract business in Germany, but for the port city’s strong Scandinavian connections.


Issue 7 2020 - FBJ Ireland


IWT is keen to attract logistics as well as international transport business in this part of Europe. Dunne says: “It will complement our significant export volumes to Germany from Ireland, UK and Benelux. We are looking to grow our position in the German market.” He adds: “Hamburg is a big


development for us and we are very much open for business there. Axel Rieck is well known in the market.” Hamburg is not IWT’s only


presence in Continental Europe. It also has a distribution centre at Wijchen near Nijmegen in the Netherlands, supplying a whole range of logistics services such as pick and pack and quality control for a German client with onward distribution to Scandinavia, UK and Ireland. Meanwhile, IWT along with


the rest of the Ireland-based freight industry, has to digest the implications of Brexit and assess what it means for freight to and


from the country. Dunne notes that there are


industry bodies, the Irish Exporters Association among them, calling for the government to intervene and create more direct ferry links between Ireland and Continental Europe. He notes that while there are already some direct services, shippers of urgent or high value goods will probably continue to rely on the UK landbridge, at least until such time as the speed and frequency of direct continental services is upgraded. He adds: “A lot of people are very


concerned, but our preparedness is probably as good as it can be.” Finding


people trained in


customs clearance is a significant challenge for Ireland’s freight industry – some estimates suggest that around 5,000 could be needed – but for IWT: “It’s a very mature part of our business. We’ve been in deepsea shipping for decades, so for us it will in a sense be business as usual, and we have now trained all our staff. We’ve also got our IT


systems ready, while in the UK we have incorporated a company that is EORI- and VAT-registered, and we have customs badges for the major ports that we use. And we have a continuous guarantee so we can transit through the landbridge efficiently. The 40 trailers that we have recently added to our fleet are also part of our Brexit preparations.” IWT’s philosophy for Brexit is to


control as much of the operation as it can rather than rely on third parties such as customs agents. Back in Ireland, IWT is also the


operator of the country’s only regular container train, from Dublin port to Ballina in the west, and which is still as busy as ever, recently celebrating its 3,000th service. It’s an operation that Scully and Dunne would like to expand as and when opportunities arise, perhaps with services to and from Ireland’s other major ports. It would certainly fit in with the Irish government’s ‘green’ aspirations, they say.


Ulster Trader Support scheme goes live


13


The government is urging businesses dealing with Northern Ireland to sign up to its new Trader Support Service, which went live on 28 September. It will provide a free end-to-


end support package to manage import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders and educate businesses on what the protocol means for them, and the steps they need to take to comply with it. This will include online training sessions and webinars, with information being continually updated closer to 1 January 2021. The service is available to


businesses moving goods into the province under new processes under the Northern Ireland Protocol, which start from 1 January 2021.


Chancellor of the Duchy of


Lancaster, Michael Gove said it would provide crucial support and guidance to businesses moving goods under the Protocol, adding: “With little over three months to go until the end of the transition period, it is vital that traders sign up and take advantage of the scheme, so that they can continue to trade seamlessly and seize new opportunities on 1 January 2021.” Logistics UK (formerly FTA)


policy manager for Northern Ireland, Seamus Leheny, added: “UK businesses face significant challenges at the end of the transition period, not least the matter of customs and other formalities, which many will be encountering for the first time. We


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