By Pádraig Hoare
A hard Brexit will cost the haulage industry €180m a year, or €40 per hour for every truck, in additional costs, warns the sector’s main representative body.
Irish Road Haulage Association president Verona Murphy told the Oireachtas budgetary oversight committee the sector has “no buffer against Brexit”. Increasing the cost of diesel to bring it in line with petrol will devastate the industry, she said.
More than 47,000 people are employed in freight transport, distribution, and logistics in the Republic, accounting for 2.5% of total national employment.
“Brexit poses enormous potential challenges for the sector. Ireland is the only EU country that shares a land border with the UK. Each week, €1.2bn worth of trade in goods and services is carried out between Ireland and the UK,” said Ms Murphy.
“In addition, over 80% of road freight to Europe travels through the UK. Anything that might act to disrupt this trade, such as adverse currency movements or border controls, will be damaging to Irish road haulage activities and consequently to the Irish economy.”
Ms Murphy said fuel costs are already prohibitive to hauliers, while an increase in diesel prices, without rebates, will devastate the sector, with costs rising 10% immediately and a significant amount of jobs being lost.
“Licensed hauliers have no alternative but to use diesel,” she said. “They do not have substitutable alternative fuel sources which they can choose as prices fluctuate. Diesel is the most cost-effective, carbon-, and energy-efficient fuel for use in heavy road transport... fuel price equalisation will inflict grievous financial damage to a sector already facing huge costs and massive uncertainty.”