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two-thirds of all Irish exports to the continent move via the UK.

The sensible thing is to by-pass the UK and move the goods directly to EU ports, upgrading the existing ports in Dublin and Rosslare as needed to handle the extra traffic.



She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 31st, 2017 at 03:22:57 PM EST
Yup, inside a year.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jul 31st, 2017 at 03:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What extra traffic? They would simply replace the British ports. It's the French that have to do the upgrading.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jul 31st, 2017 at 03:32:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Good question: I get the impression it's more difficult than that. Maybe specialised handling for different ships?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jul 31st, 2017 at 03:37:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What Colman said plus any goods shipped to or through the UK will need to be UK-vetted for whatever weird-assed import controls they impose plus goods shipped from the UK will need to be EU vetted.

"Extra traffic" may have been a poor choice of words on my part.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Jul 31st, 2017 at 05:52:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They could have a duty-free part of the port for goods in transit. It's been done before ("could" does not mean that the British government will ever think of it, of course).
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Jul 31st, 2017 at 05:55:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For goods going from Ireland to rest-of-EU, it simplifies customs processing if they never leave the EU in the first place (and for goods going from Ireland to rest-of-world, if they only leave the EU once). This militates against transshipping through a UK port.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 09:38:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the goods already come through Irish ports and end up in France, it may just be some French ports (Le Havre, Cherbourgh) will gain traffic at the expense of others (Calais, Dunkirk etc.).  

Assuming they have the capacity, the main difference will be that more ships will be required, as the sailing time will go up from c. 4 hrs. to c. 20 hrs. Interestingly, a Cork to Santander route would be roughly as long as Cork to Le Havre, so a lot of driving through France could also be saved.

Perhaps some ferries could be transfered from Dunkirk/Calais to Le Havre/Cherbourgh, but some net additional ships will be required or a given volume of freight.

The good news is that Europe's carbon footprint will be reduced as well as road traffic from Holyhead/Fishguard to London and on to Dover. Drivers will get a good night's sleep and the overall time to market shouldn't increase by much.

However someone needs to have the foresight to buy/lease more ships.  I haven't heard that mentioned anywhere.  Perhaps I should be buying shares in Irish Ferries...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 31st, 2017 at 06:54:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a glut of container ships at the moment so I wouldn't place a huge bet on Irish Ferries.

I know absolutely nothing about Irish trade routes.  According to this the UK accounts for $17,157,075,639 of export out of $124,671,389,183 total.  What I take from this is the UK is mostly a highway to the EU and can be bypassed which eliminates a whole bunch of future Brexit created idiotic crap.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 at 01:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The port of Roscoff is already the largest French port for traffic to and from Ireland, both freight and passengers (Irish Ferries), but the capacity is limited and, more to the point, Roscoff is rather isolated at the end of a regional train line.

More traffic would be better handled out of Cherbourg or even Le Havre.

by Bernard on Mon Jul 31st, 2017 at 06:47:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Le Havre handle the big container ships up to 82 foot draft and Cork is a "deep water multi modal port, south coast of Ireland. Celtic Sea/Atlantic Ocean. The second biggest port in the world by geographic size."  So getting the goods out of Ireland and to France is a piece of cake.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 at 01:47:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually the issue is the time - especially for agriculture. Just take an example (taking times from Google maps) time from Athlone to Düsseldorf (centre of Ireland to centre of western Europe).

Via UK: 15 hours 10 minutes
Via Cork/Roscoff: 35 hours.

That's not even the major issue. A lot of Irish exports are sent via the UK for redistribution. For example, packages from the big delivery firms go to a central point in the UK and are then redistributed to different trucks for delivery on the continent. Ok, for air shipping this will not be an issue but for bulky items that go by road/sea, this adds a major cost. I read that they are expecting a €100 per truck per crossing so €200 per trip from Ireland via the UK.

Basically, there are no good solutions here.

by piobar on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 at 08:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, other fun one: a lot of products are managed for the Irish market by the UK distributor. How's that going to work post-diamond-hard-Brexit?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 at 09:13:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(And when do we get Amazon.ie?)
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 at 09:19:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The goods can still be managed by distributors in the UK.  Physically distributing them from the UK will end, sooner or later, due to the increased costs and delays of EU-UK-EU custom checks.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 at 02:54:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminder: the existing trade network and distribution system will end in 604 days.  After March 29, 2019 Irish goods can either travel within the EU from Ireland to France or cross the UK border and then the EU border.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Aug 1st, 2017 at 02:49:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as you are just transiting through the UK, there are established procedures for tamper-proofing the trucks to the point where for customs purposes they count as never having entered the UK.

Shifting the consolidation point from Manchester to Dublin is not in itself expensive or particularly time consuming - the relevant buildings and infrastructure for a truck hub can be erected in 6-12 months from groundbreaking (so a total of 1-2 years including front-end engineering and regulatory approvals), though both the cost and lead time goes up if you want a multimodal facility. Rather, the cost comes from losing the scale offered by the British exports, but that is not really avoidable given Brexit.

But you really shouldn't be trucking most Irish cargoes to the Ruhr anyway. They should go on water to Rotterdam or Le Havre and on rail or barge from there to the deconsolidation point. Only very few cargoes require the kind of overnight delivery times that justify trucking halfway across Western Europe when an intermodal solution is available.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 10:16:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The connections shown above are for self-loading freight. Cargo would transship in Rotterdam (technically there are various other options, but Rotterdam is the obvious one). This would not require any great expansion - Rotterdam is Europe's largest port by volume of cargo crossing the quay; the Irish trade would be absorbed effortlessly.

One opportunity Ireland might find interesting is to expand its Irish Sea ports to take direct mainliner calls. Currently Liverpool is the port making a play for transshipment hub status, and in a world where the UK is inside the customs union that is that - if the Irish Sea is going to have a transshipment hub (and that is not obvious), it's going to be Liverpool.

But in a world where the UK is outside the customs union and Ireland is inside, I could tell a story about Dublin being the Irish Sea hub, at least for the trans-Atlantic trades.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Aug 6th, 2017 at 09:32:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cork might be a better option, since it doesn't need a big city backing it up.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 09:22:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could do Cork, but the marginal ton-km of hinterland transportation is much more expensive (as in by orders of magnitude) than the marginal water transportation ton-km. That militates in favor of putting the hub port where it minimizes average road distance to market.

And given the volume of freight crossing through the Irish Sea, there's only going to be one hub if there is any at all.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 04:13:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake: That militates in favor of putting the hub port where it minimizes average road distance to market.

Hence my remark above about Le Havre being better positioned than Roscoff who'll remain mostly a passenger ferry port.

by Bernard on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 06:48:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't see Le Havre being all that useful for an Irish Sea rotation. For the Irish-French trade you can go upriver a bit to Rouen, and for everything else you have better connections from Rotterdam. Rouen is both closer to points inland and you're not jockeying for berthing windows with the ultralarge boxships on the intercontinental trades.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 07:04:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rouen has no heavy lifts and only 5M draught at its Cargo terminal.  It doesn't seem suitable for high volume container traffic from ships large enough to  traverse the Ireland France route. Rotterdam Dublin is quite a long sea route but might be the best option depending on ultimate cargo destination.  (Rosslare Santander is much shorter! - if only - it would suit me very well)

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 09:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The draft restriction in Rouen is identical to Dublin and Cork, so barring major reworking of the latter two it can accommodate any traffic out of Ireland. They have mobile and floating cranes, so I'd be surprised if they actually have no heavy lift and breakbulk capability, even if they don't list it as a standard service.

Santander might work for direct transit to the Iberian market, depending on how the hinterland behind it looks.

Le Havre, Antwerpen, and Zeebruge are all viable alternatives to Rotterdam on some trades; the real issue there is that calling a major hub port is expensive so including four of them in an Irish Sea feeder rotation is going to murder its unit cost. You could reduce the unit cost of the redundant calls with a butterfly loop (calling Rotterdam and Le Havre on half the rotations and Rotterdam and Antwerpen on the other half), but that sacrifices sailing frequency to the ports that are omitted half the time.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Aug 7th, 2017 at 09:44:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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