EU-EIP Project Moves to Second Phase

Following the successful completion of the initial project focussed on the development of a European ITS Platform for freight traffic operating within the East-West Corridor, a second phase was launched on 14th November. Within the first phase the IEA, working on behalf of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), took responsibility for guiding the development of an on-line multimodal freight route planner. This planner, which can be accessed at: currently is very much focussed on routes including Road, Rail, Lo-Lo Shipping and barge transport for the door to door transport of freight in containers, will be expanded to take into account routes involving shipment in trailers shipped on board R-Ro services.

The definition of the Corridor has been expanded to more actively include freight moving to and from the Baltic States. This aspect of the work, which involves study of routes and customs controls involved in traffic moving into and out of third countries promises to be a very useful contribution to our sum of knowledge in our Brexit discussions on controls that might affect traffic to and through the UK.

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Mid West Sustainable Freight Partnership Launched

This partnership, which grew out of the EU InterReg “Weastflows” project in which Limerick City and County council and the IEA were partners, was launched in Limerick on November 21st. The new partnership is driven by Limerick Chamber along with the Shannon and Ennis Chambers and supported by Limerick City and County Council. Speakers at the launch event included Faye Carroll, Assistant Principal at the Climate Change Unit at the department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) who spoke about the challenges that Irish Freight Transport in particular, faces in meeting its carbon reduction targets, while Howard Knott of IEA spoke about the Brexit challenges specific to the Mid-West Region.

In introducing the event Limerick Chamber CEO, James Ring outlined a number of the objectives of the Partnership. These include:

To strengthen and improve the representation of the infrastructure, export generator, logistics, freight forwarding, customs services, and retail industry in the region.

In this respect the Partnership's core goals will be:

  • to represent its members;
  • to influence, on behalf of the freight & logistics sector current and future policy and legislation;
  • to promote the sharing and learning of best practices from across the industry;
  • to lobby for infrastructural and regulatory investment;
  • to contribute to research and innovation through collaboration and co-opetition amongst competitors;
  • to improving the attractiveness of the sector for new recruits;
  • to improving the education and training opportunities of employees

It is hoped that the Partnership will work closely with the IEA’s Regional and Supply Chain groups in pursuit of the common aim of Supply Chain excellence for exporters in the Region and become a template for similar bodies elsewhere.

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Irish Ferrries Make Radical Changes to their 2018 schedules

The newly released Irish Ferries schedules for 2018 mark a significant shift both in schedules but also in the way in which the Company deploys its ferry fleet.

On its arrival from the builders in July 2018 the 55,000-tonne cruise ferry W.B. Yeats will take up service on the Dublin/Cherbourg route operating a once every other day service in each direction while the Oscar Wilde will also take up a new schedule leaving Rosslare on the alternate days and destined for either Cherbourg or Roscoff.

Irish Ferries have planned a revised schedule from mid-September that will see the W.B. Yeats switching to the Holyhead route replacing the Dublin Swift over the winter months, while the Epsilon will maintain a three times weekly Dublin/ Cherbourg service. The Rosslare/ France service will not run over the winter period, thought the Isle of Inishmore will continue to operate her twice daily service to Pembroke out of the Co. Wexford Port.

In terms of trailer capacity both the Epsilon and the W.B. Yeats have a freight capacity on board in the order of three times of that on the Oscar Wilde.

It is understood that Irish Ferries intend to take up their option at the yard to build a sister ship to the W.B. Yeats. These vessels have been designed to operate out of both Dublin and Rosslare.

Irish Ferries, sister company within the Irish Continental Group, ICG Container and Terminal Division was winner of the 2017 Maritime Services Award, sponsored by the IMDO, at the recent Exporters of Year awards ceremony.

Stena Line do not intend to change their current schedules for 2018 and will retain the revised Rosslare-Fishguard schedule introduced earlier in 2017. No significant schedule changes are anticipated from either Seatruck or P & O Ferries.

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What is Trusted Trader Status?

By obtaining an AEO certificate an operator has effectively demonstrated that their customs controls and procedures are efficient and compliant and their role within the international supply chain is secure.

Whilst not mandatory, the EU is actively encouraging organisations to sign up to this worldwide initiative, which has been designed to ensure that international supply chains are secure and controlled from the point of origin through to the final delivery destination.

Registration is open to all businesses in the EU that are involved in trade with non-EU countries, including logistics operators, carriers, freight forwarders, customs agents, importers, exporters and manufacturers.

What are the benefits?

Trusted traders could benefit from:

  • Waiver of comprehensive guarantees for suspension procedures (e.g. Customs warehousing or Inward Processing).
  • Reduction in guarantee requirement for deferral account holders.
  • Completing self-assessment for customs declarations, when implemented.
  • Lower risk scores in risk analysis systems with Revenue profiling for customs interventions.
  • Priority treatment if physical controls are conducted.
  • Mutual recognition under Joint Customs Cooperation Agreements which could result in faster movement of goods through third country borders.
  • Recognition worldwide as safe, secure and compliant business partners in international trade.
  • Reduced data sets for entry and exit summary declarations (AEOS)
  • Easier access to simplified procedures.

Timeline to authorisation

Please see below an indicative timeline including all stages to authorisation.




For further information on AEO and all customs queries please contact BDO.

For more information about our partnership with BDO Ireland click here.

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New export regulations planned for China

Consistent with U.S., EU, and other global export control regimes, the Export Control Law (ECL)  will establish export license requirements pertaining to items that are “dual use” (civil by design but, depending on specific capabilities, could be used for defense-related or nuclear purposes) as well as “military” (specifically designed for defense purposes).

Across a broad spectrum of industries, outbound exports from China, as well as the sharing of export-sensitive technology in China with non-Chinese nationals (including those from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao) i.e. “deemed exports”, will be covered under these regulations, as well as international end-user requirements for permitted exports.   Preliminarily, the draft ECL sets forth stringent fiscal penalties for export violations, potential criminal penalties, as well as related export and credit sanctions.

For EU and other European companies who are manufacturing products in China, or developing software or R&D and exporting these commodities or services from China, these regulations will significantly impact local supply chain operations to the extent that export license determinations are required and, if such items are controlled, license approvals are required. Likewise, E.U. and other non-Chinese citizen personnel receiving export-sensitive technology will likewise be effected and potentially subject to the ECL’s deemed export requirements in order to perform their corporate responsibilities.

For companies directly exporting from China or part of a China-based supply chain, proactive compliance attention will be essential in order to avoid export supply chain disruption. These compliance measures include:

  • Determining whether or not your products and technology will be covered under the ECL and subject to export license approval
  • Determining whether technology sharing with international personnel working in China is subject to export license approval
  • Establishing the necessary documented procedures to address export control products, including licensing and international shipping procedures, as well as local Technology Control Plans for safeguarding export-sensitive technology
  • Proactively training corporate personnel and logistics facilitators on compliance and documentary requirements.

Through BDO’s affiliated professionals based in the PRC, we can assist your company in proactively addressing these new ECL requirements through supply chain assessments, procedural development and resource training, so as to minimize supply chain impact.   For further information please contact BDO.

For more information about our partnership with BDO Ireland click here.

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Planning for Brexit – How to source funding?

The need for capital for businesses investing in their Brexit strategy has been acknowledged by the Irish Government who announced in October 2017 the implementation of a ‘Brexit Loan Scheme’ to support Irish businesses and assist them in the preparation of their action plan. Through this program the government set aside up to €300 million available at competitive rates to SMEs. The government is aiming for an “easier access, more competitive price and more favorable terms than current offerings”.  To that effect, the proposed interest of 4% has been announced and the scheme should be available starting March 2018 which will run for two years. The scheme will be developed with the Strategic Banking Cooperation of Ireland (SBCI) and be delivered through commercial lenders.

Among the different eligibility criteria for the scheme, businesses should be able to demonstrate their exposure to Brexit as well as their business sustainability plan detailing their actions in response to Brexit.

Different conditions will apply but essentially will benefit:

  • Traders and / or Manufacturers,
  • Facing Cross Border issue / Brexit Impact, and
  • Small Business (> 499 employees)

Special attention has been given to the Agri-food Sector through the allocation of €25 million to the Department of Agriculture, to specifically help businesses in the sector as one of the most impacted by Brexit. The scheme excludes farmers and fishermen for whom alternative schemes should be further discussed.

In addition to the Brexit Loan Scheme, two major grant programs have also been set in place:

  • InterTradeIreland: InterTadeIreland offers up to €2,000 to help SMEs seeking support and advices in relation to Brexit. (Note that small businesses in the transportation, agricultural and retail sectors are excluded from this program)
    • Start to Plan Voucher (> 250 employees)
    • Brexit Readiness Voucher (> 50 employees)
  • Enterprise Ireland / Local Enterprise Offices: Enterprise Ireland launched the ‘Brexit SME Scorecard’ where SMEs can register and assess their ‘readiness for Brexit’. Enterprise Ireland installed the ‘Be Prepared Grant’ providing funding for up to €5,000 available for Enterprise Ireland client companies to help develop an action plan.

The message is clear don’t wait to plan for Brexit, resources are available.   For further information on how to prepare for Brexit or to arrange a meeting with Carol Lynch please contact BDO.

For more information about our partnership with BDO Ireland click here.

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Significant Freight Traffic Growth at Mid-Western Gateways

The IEA Supply Chain Group arranged a discussion meeting for Mid-West based exporters and freight infrastructure providers on September 27th.

Speaking to the Limerick meeting, Patrick Edmond, Group Strategy Director at Shannon Airport Authority talked about the current freight services through the airport including the three times weekly Turkish Airlines Cargo giving weekly direct shipments to Chicago, Atlanta and New York as well as thrice weekly to Istanbul and onwards. Active discussions are underway with other Carriers and the Airport is currently developing specialist warehousing facilities to meet export needs. Looking towards the development of further long-haul freighter and belly-hold services he said that the very long runway at Shannon together the availability of land there for further infrastructure development were strong assets.

Martin Morrissey, Commercial Director at Shannon Foynes Port Company spoke about the imperative to complete the development of the N69 route linking Foynes and Limerick and to get work underway on the M20 Limerick, Cork route. He welcomed the opening the M17 which could expedite the development of traffic through Atlantic Coast Ports. He also spoke about the successful development of traffic through Limerick Port with some 500,000 tonnes a year of cement being shipped through there to the London market. Shipments of scrap metal are also strong, at about 100,000 tonnes a year.

The Sustainable Freight Partnership, Mid-West which has been developed by a group led by Limerick city and county council and the Limerick Chamber of Commerce will be launched at the Strand Hotel, Limerick. The primary aim is to establish the Mid-West region as a centre of logistics and supply chain excellence. The IEA has been playing an active role in this development and will participate in its launch by Patrick Donovan TD, Minister of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with special responsibility for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment.




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Customs Asking Shippers to Pay More Guarantees

The European Shippers Council, (ESC) together with the other associations, such as CLECAT and IRU, has asked the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union to reduce the administrative and financial burden related to the guarantees against customs debts.

According to the Union Customs Code, an economic operator (a shipper) should provide a guarantee if there is a risk of a customs debt for the goods that this operator is transporting or processing; or, if the shipper does not have a secured warehouse. A “customs debt” means the obligation of a person to pay the amount of import or export duty which applies to specific goods under the customs legislation in force. Thus, if the goods get stolen from a warehouse or during transportation, and a debt occurs, customs authorities can recover the debt from the guarantee. This can be done even if the company is not solvent anymore.

This rule also applies to the companies that have a status of the Authorised Economic Operator (AEO). In this case, customs authorities have already a good view on the risks in solvency and compliance of these company. By asking for an additional guarantee from the reliable companies, customs are getting a double safety net which is a comfortable situation for customs but is a difficult situation for the operator (shipper).

Under the previous customs legislation, the guarantee was already applied and considered disproportionate. But under the present legislation (Union Customs Code) this is even more the case. The mitigation of a guarantee is accepted less frequently and more cases are subject to the guarantee deposit.  The companies providing the guarantee deposit or a guarantee from a bank, cannot use this money for internal investments, and the guarantee becomes “dead money.”

For this reason, ESC has co-signed a letter with other Associations such as CLECAT and IRU, to reduce the number of cases and the amount of the guarantee. Hopefully DG TAXUD will respond positively to this request.

The IEA has an active relationship with the European Shippers Council, a Brussels based organisation that shares many common objectives with the Association.

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Rosslare Europort Plans Ahead

Glenn Carr has been appointed by IEA Supply Chain Group sponsor, Irish Rail to the post of manager of the Rosslare Europort activity while retaining his responsibility for the Company’s Rail Freight and Navigator freight forwarding activity.

The company has undertaken a Strategic review of the Port business and is formulating plans for the further development of Rosslare Europort. Initial work has been done to upgrade certain terminal facilities and plans made to meet the expected facility requirements to meet a post-Brexit situation.

Meanwhile, Wexford based trailer operator, Perennial Freight has launched a weekly direct trailer service to Iberia using the Neptune Lines vessel operating out of Rosslare. The service, run in conjunction with Perennial’s Spanish partners, operates on an unaccompanied trailer basis with trailers boarding the Neptune vessel at Rosslare on Saturday and being discharged at Santander in Northern Spain early on Monday morning. Cargo in trailers destined for locations including Barcelona and Madrid can be delivered on Tuesday while that for further destinations including Valencia is delivered on Wednesday.

Chris Smyth, Commercial Director at Perennial spoke about, what he saw as a significant Brexit beating service. Perennial has a long history of continental trailer operations and this enables them to work the trailers back to Ireland from Spain with cargoes for France, the UK or Ireland. The Neptune Line vessel sails back to Ireland calling at Le Havre and Southampton and is not ideal for Spanish cargo for Ireland that requires fast transit.

Piraeus based Neptune Lines is a major player in the Trade car and commercial vehicle transport business. They operate a large fleet running services mainly in the Mediterranean area, while, in the Biscay Region they are now running the Rosslare service and one from Santander to Portbury, near Bristol.

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Dublin Port Traffic Powers Ahead

Dublin Port Company has issued its trade figures for the first three quarters of 2017 which show an overall growth during the period over the 2016 figures of 4.2%. This growth rate is similar to that for World ports through 2016 and for this year to date and is well ahead of the growth anticipated in the company’s 2012 Master Plan document.

Speaking at the announcement of the trade figures Dublin Port CEO Eamonn O’Reilly said, “Dublin Port’s volumes continue to grow strongly. It is clear that the trend of year on year increases that we saw in the decades before the crash of 2008 has returned.  We have now seen five years of consistent growth and each of the last three years has been a record year.

“Notwithstanding the uncertainty generated by BREXIT, Dublin Port has seen Ro-Ro freight volumes on routes to Britain grow by 6.2% over the first three quarters of 2017 with ferry passenger numbers growing by 2.4%.

“We are increasing the capacity of the port on the basis that growth will continue for many years to come.  Work is continuing on our first major Masterplan project, the Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) Project.

“We are seeing increasing demand for direct freight services to Continental Europe.  The introduction by CLdN of the 8,000 lane metre Celine will greatly increase the capacity on direct services to Continental Europe.  BREXIT is creating a lot of uncertainty and the introduction of the new ship shows the shipping sector beginning to provide additional capacity to create more options for importers and exporters.  We expect to see more new services to Continental Europe during 2018.

“Before year end, we will commence construction of a bridge over the Covanta and ESB cooling water outfall on the Poolbeg Peninsula now that the construction of the waste to energy plant is complete.  This bridge will bring unused port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula into use and allow us to increase the capacity of our berths on South Bank Quay.  This is the first step towards the ultimate development of all Dublin Port lands on the Poolbeg Peninsula under our Masterplan 2012-2040.

“We welcome the recognition in the recently approved Planning Scheme for the Poolbeg West SDZ that port lands are for port uses.  This follows on from the recognition in the draft National Planning Framework of the importance for the country of the continued addition of port capacity in Dublin.”

Eamonn O’Reilly is currently chairman of the European Sea Ports Organisation. Speaking following his election he said, ““I am very honoured to have been elected as Chairman of ESPO for the next two years.  Over these years, ports will be challenged by the implementation of the Port Regulation and other legislative initiatives. There will also be a continuing need for ports to plan and finance major infrastructure investment at the key nodes of Europe’s transport networks.  Overarching these challenges, however, is the global problem of climate change and how our industry plays its part in addressing this enormous issue”.

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