The European, Irish and UK food sectors are deeply concerned about the replenishment implications following the UK exit from the EU.
They warn that delivery problems could arise for foodstuffs if transported through British territory. Under the EU rules, those goods are then seen as British, even if they are made by a company from the EU. This results in extra costs and paperwork.
The British Food and Drink Federation expects that EU companies will soon refrain from on-transport to Ireland. Many European companies still send their products to British distribution centers, after which the products are forwarded to Ireland.
Many Irish companies ship their goods to mainland Europe including via Great Britain, with around 150,000 trucks driving across the so-called British 'land bridge' every year. That does not mean clearing in and out once, but twice.
A EU official said the food industry will have to adapt. “You cannot expect Brexit to have no consequences. The United Kingdom will no longer be a distribution point for the European Union. ”
The transport of goods between Ireland and ports on the French mainland may be much more likely to be done via direct ferry connections. The number of connections and departures is expanding, and the Irish are already setting up new ferry services.
According to Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin, the recent transport disruption in the ferry ports of Calais and Dover demonstrated the need for 'alternative routes' for the land bridge. The ferry company Stena Line has doubled the capacity on its direct freight route between Rosslare (South East Ireland) and the French port of Cherbourg before Christmas.
While sailing times on direct sea crossings to the European continent are longer, concerns over Brexit have already prompted many Irish exporters and importers to use the increased capacity on these routes.