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Hauliers Still Struggling With Red Tape At Welsh Ports

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has said that hauliers are still facing serious issues when travelling via Welsh ports to Ireland, which has resulted in a significant fall-off in trade through the ports.

Fleetpoint reports that Rhys Williams, RHA regional operations manager for Wales, has said that there is a serious issue with HGV traffic passing through Welsh ports.

“I’m in regular dialogue with the Welsh government, who have also expressed their concern about the viability and future of the Welsh ports. It’s not just Holyhead, but also the two south-west Wales ports of Pembroke and Fishguard.”

He added that in a meeting with the Welsh Government and Welsh hauliers, one operator said he used to send 150 trailers a week from the UK to Ireland, via Welsh ports, however, since January he has shipped just five.

Williams explained that operators are continuing to face major issues with documentation, which exporters are still struggling to process, with some claiming it is taking between five and six hours.

The delays are now forcing businesses to seek other means of exporting their goods, he said, using a Welsh plant nursery as an example, which is now shipping via France, Belgium and the Netherlands to avoid Holyhead.

Seiont Nurseries in Caernarfon was used to receiving shipments from its Kilkenny supplier, via Holyhead, within 12 hours. Now Brexit red tape has forced the business to receive its orders via a four-day trip involving three EU countries and the UK, which has increased costs from £100 to £280 per trolley.

Holyhead was the second busiest roll-on roll-off port in the UK after Dover, until December 2020, with around 450,000 trucks a year going via the port to Dublin.

However, freight volumes have plunged by 50 per cent since the end of the Brexit transition on 1 January, with the port’s owner, Stena Line warning that the slump could be permanent.

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