(07 January 2021) – Ireland has ramped up direct shipping routes to mainland Europe since the end of the Brexit transition period, seeking new passages to the EU bypassing freight jams feared at UK borders.
Every year 150,000 trucks use the “UK landbridge” to transport three million tonnes of freight between the Republic and the European mainland. Trucks sail by roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ferries from Irish ports and mainland Britain, driving onwards to shipping hubs in southeast England, then on to continental Europe.
Many Irish hauliers are already charting new routes guaranteeing freight remains inside the single market and customs union, and outside the scope of delay.
In December, Swedish firm Stenaline brought forward plans to double sailings between Rosslare and Cherbourg. And on Saturday, Danish shipping firm DFDS opened a new route to the French port of Dunkirk, sailing six times weekly in each direction.
At Dublin Port — Ireland’s busiest hub — new services to continental Europe have been phased in since 2016. In 2018 and 2019 Luxembourg firm CLdN brought “Brexit-busting” ro-ro ships the MV Celine and MV Laureline to the capital’s harbour. They are the largest freight ferries sailing from the port and travel to and from Zeebrugge in Belgium and Rotterdam in the Netherlands. (EurActiv)