Figures published by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) show significant traffic diverted away from the traditional routes between Dublin and Britain to some of 32 new ferry services direct to ports such as Le Havre, Cherbourg and Dunkirk in France and Zeebrugge in Belgium. Earlier in the year, the French Ambassador to Ireland, HE Vincent Guérend took to Twitter to gloat about ferry routes between the Republic of Ireland and France in an attempt to demonstrate strengthened ties between Paris and Dublin.
In his tweet, the head of the French mission to Dublin said: “A very concrete link between our two countries. We now have more than 44 weekly sailings between Cork, Dublin, Rosslare and French ports.”
The IMDO report shows freight volumes from Dublin port to Liverpool and Holyhead in Anglesey down 19 percent in the first three-quarters of 2021 compared with 2020 and down by 30 percent on the two routes from Rosslare in south-east Ireland to the Welsh ports of Pembroke and Fishguard.
The report said: “It is clear that the new trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK have had a significant and negative effect upon ro-ro [roll-on roll-off lorry haulage] freight traffic between the two countries.”
It added: “Underpinning all of these trends are the new customs and trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK that came into force on 1 January 2021.”
Traffic for the second and third quarters of this year show Irish Republic to EU traffic is already up by 52 percent compared with the entirety of 2019, it added.
The decline in demand for the ferry services to Wales and Liverpool has also seen Northern Irish ports receiving a Brexit dividend, with freight volumes hitting “unprecedented highs in 2021.”
Historically, Northern Irish hauliers have preferred the Dublin-Holyhead route as the quickest way to access markets in the south and south-east of England, but some have now eschewed the route “to avoid the new customs requirements involved between Ireland and UK ports”, the reports said.
On Saturday, Rosslare Europort said, it had the busiest day in its history. Its general manager, Glenn Carr, put the increased demand down to the desire to avoid the UK, but also a reduction in trade with Great Britain because of Brexit red tape and cost.
French Ambassador to Ireland praises Britain ferry bypass
Diversity said: “Great news from a UK point of view, saving wear on tear on our roads and far less pollution.”
BKS stated the journey times would now be longer. He said: “Going from Dublin to Paris via the Landbridge takes 13.4 hours with multiple daily sailings.”
He added: “Going Dublin to Paris by sea will take 22.5 hours 5 sailings a week… So a return journey will take an extra 18 hours a week plus waiting for sailings and cost about £2000 return ferry only.”
Although many said it was good for congestion on the roads, several pointed out the fact that many small businesses on the route between Ireland and France via the UK relied on the trade the logistics companies brought with them.
Truckers from Northern Ireland are also using the route to avoid Britain.
According to the haulage industry, many Northern Irish businesses are following lead.
They are taking advantage of extra routes to mainland Europe from Dublin, Rosslare and Cork and avoiding passing through Britain.
Gary Lyons, a haulier who supplies both to Britain and the Continent, says clients who ship chilled goods to Europe are wary of delays at Dover.
He said: “Beef, offal and dairy producers will not go through the land bridge.”