While the latest news on the Northern Island Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU is positive, Stena Line said that it hopes this helps ease the way to agreeing a Trade Deal.
Clarity on Northern Ireland is only one part of Brexit and there remains many unanswered questions, the ferry company said.
The systems and infrastructure required for customs checks in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK will also not be finalised in time for 1st January, 2021.
With many companies in the supply chain still not ready Stena believed a further ‘implementation phase’ is required by both the UK and the EU.
The ferry company also said that it understood the UK Government will undertake a flexible and pragmatic approach to customs requirements after the end of transition period. The Government has chosen to delay, by six months, the imposition of full controls on most imports to Great Britain. This is an approach that Stena welcomed, as it will ensure there are no delays in UK ports.
Stena has encouraged the EU to take the same approach as the UK. It is in the interests of the both the UK and EU to prioritise trade flows over customs and agri-food checks at the border.
The goods being transported will change little in the short-term, and with the UK adopting all EU rules, there will be little risk after 1st January, 2020.
“We would like to encourage both parties to continue to work together as they have done up until now, until systems are ready,” the company said.
It is vital the UK’s role as a land bridge (the route that connects the Republic of Ireland to the rest of the EU via Great Britain and vice versa) continues,” Ian Hampton, Stena Line’s Executive Director and Brexit Spokesperson (pictured), stressed.
“Freight logistics networks are geared around processing and distribution centres in the UK’s central corridor, that feed the supply of goods across Britain, Ireland and the Continent. These centres process goods for distribution for sectors, such as retail and pharmaceuticals.
“They have been set up as part of the land bridge network and can’t simply be by-passed by a direct route, as you then miss out a key part of the network.
“The land bridge remains the shortest route for Irish goods to enter the EU market, and vice versa, so it is particularly vital for Ireland that the EU plays their part to keep freight moving through Britain and on to the Continent,” he concluded.