Toilet and shower facilities set up at Dublin Port as lorry drivers face delays

Toilet and shower facilities are being provided for lorry drivers experiencing lengthy delays at Dublin Port due to Brexit red tape. New customs rules introduced as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU have created backlogs, as businesses and freight companies grapple with the added documentation. Some drivers have experienced delays of up to 36 hours, according to Revenue officials, with additional supports now being provided.

Tom Talbot, head of Revenue’s customs operations at Dublin Port, said: “There are a number of drivers who potentially are in the port for a number of hours.

Tom Talbot, head of customs operations at Dublin Port (Julien Behal/PA)

“What we have done in both terminal seven and terminal 11, where customs operates, there are facilities there for drivers. “There are toilets and showers, and these facilities are provided, they’re there, they’re operational.

“Within a couple of hundred yards of where the trucks are parked, there’s a commercial operation, a shop there that supplies food and hot food. So there are facilities onsite in Dublin Port.” Despite this, Revenue officials insist the situation at the ports is improving.

Around 80% of trade into Ireland from the UK is being “green routed” or cleared without delay. The remaining 20% is being routed to orange or red channels, which  require further documentation and checks before leaving the port. This is an increase from around 76% of goods receiving green clearance last week, and around 45% the week before that.

Despite the disruptions to the supply chain, Department of Trade official Declan Hughes has said there is no reason to expect any significant shortages of goods.

Hauliers and Truck Drivers – use the Customs RoRo Service to: oCreate a PBNoCheck PBN Status oCheck your customs channel prior to arrival in IrelandoCheck in with Customs if a customs control is requiredClick here : https://t.co/JYe8eAnL4J pic.twitter.com/Qx4gQrDbny — Revenue (@RevenueIE) January 18, 2021

He said: “This last couple of days was again an improvement on the previous weekend, and product is coming through. “We are having, as I said, maybe isolated issues with particular products but in overall terms at this stage we are not being appraised of significant issues.”

His comments come despite images of empty supermarket shelves flooding social media in recent weeks. The comments came at a multi-agency Brexit briefing at Dublin Port on Monday. Freight trade is currently operating at around 50% of the normal rate, due to a myriad of issues including Covid-19 travel restrictions, stockpiling, and businesses coming to terms with the new rules.

Revenue expect this to increase over the coming weeks, but insist they are prepared. Department of Agriculture official Hazel Sheridan said: “In terms of the infrastructure and the staffing, those estimates were based on 2019 trade levels. So we’re ready to roll whenever that increase in trade comes.”

The Irish Freight Transport Association had called for a six-month adjustment period to be introduced in a letter to Taoiseach Micheal Martin last week.

They warned that the slump in the volumes of goods has masked the true impact of Brexit. But on Monday, officials firmly ruled out any new adjustment period. Mr Talbot said: “The UK left the European Union, that’s a fact.

So there is no scope for pause, the date is passed.

“In terms of the customs union and the single market, there is no scope for a six-month easement, or a one-month easement, or a 12-month easement. ”

“Legally we can’t pause for six months” he added.

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