Irish truckers are being trapped in the UK for days as Brexit plays havoc with moving goods into the country.
One Dublin had a driver stuck in Holyhead from Monday until Friday with systems buckling under the weight of trying to process all of the additional paperwork required now that Britain has left the EU.
John Molloy of Blackhorse Transport told Dublin Live it’s not all plain sailing on the Irish Sea at the moment as he had several drivers stuck in various parts of the UK with one who was transporting car parts stranded in the Welsh port since Monday.
“My lad is there since Monday and everything they keep on trying to do, the system just isn’t allowing them to do it,” he told us on Thursday.
“It’s just not cracked up to what it should be.
“Because there’s so many different items on the trailers, the problem is that they have to upload every part onto the system and the systems aren’t able to cope with the majority of stuff that they’re throwing at them.
“They’re giving the same numbers for certain parts and vehicles. Imagine if you had 200 different products on a trailer.”
John also had several drivers waiting in other parts of the UK who hadn’t even set off for the port while they waited to see if the first driver got through.
He said: “I’ve another one in Manchester and I’ve another one in Bristol and there’s another fella down in Luton in another automotive factory there.
“We haven’t loaded them and sent them to Holyhead because of the problems. We learnt this with the first driver.
“They all went out individually so they’re there a couple of days. Some of them are stemming four days, three days and two days. But we still have to send the trucks out for the customer.”
John confirmed on Saturday evening that the driver finally made it home on Friday but the truck is still in Dublin Port while the other drivers had to unload their goods and return empty-handed.
He said: “Out of five trucks with car parts, it was the only one to get in. The rest went back to the distribution centres and unloaded.”
The frustrated transport boss explained that these long delays could have a serious impact for Irish customers in the coming weeks.
“If you contact a garage and they book your car in, usually they book it in for the next day.
“The reason why they’re doing that is that they’re ordering the parts and it means that when your car arrives in to the floor, there’s no downtime.
“The mechanic has everything sitting there on a shelf ready to go. That’s why those companies work like that.
“They don’t really carry stock on shelves to a certain extent. The parts department does but they wouldn’t have big end stuff.”
He added that he would have liked to have seen a transition period for hauliers given how late the Brexit deal was finalised.
“If they’d given it a three month period where you had to submit your paperwork but they weren’t gung ho about it, at least there would have been some sort of transition period instead of just turning around after Christmas Eve and then telling everybody this was the system from January 1.
“They should have run it for another three months. They’re having the same problems in France. Calais is full of stuff.”
In a statement released on Friday evening, the Government said the number of vehicles returning from the UK and being released immediately from Dublin Port is steadily rising.
It read: “New checks are inevitably taking additional time, but this time is minimised through the completion of necessary procedures in advance.
“Business and trade are reminded of the importance of the submission of timely and accurate information and of the support and advice available to them from the relevant state agencies.
“The new customs formalities are required now that Great Britain is fully outside of the European Union to ensure that Ireland fulfils its obligations as a member of the EU and that the integrity of the Single Market and the Customs Union is protected.
“This is vital for Irish businesses in order to assure our European partners that goods in free circulation in Ireland, and potentially eventually ending up elsewhere in the EU, meet key requirements, such as food and product safety standards.”
Over the course of the week, traffic volume on ferries arriving into Dublin Port and Rosslare Port grew from 61 inbound goods movements between January 1 and 2 to 689 inbound goods movements between January 7 and 8.
The percentage of trucks travelling through Dublin Port and Rosslare Port that could leave immediately upon their arrival rose from 28% on 1 ad 2 January to 68% on 7 and 8 January.