A new freight shipping route between Waterford and Rotterdam has been welcomed by the Irish Exporters Association.
Chief Executive Simon McKeever has said that the new route will provide extra capacity, allow market diversification and will bring extra empty containers into Ireland.
He told RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland that at present there is a shortage of empty containers so the extra supply will greatly assist the industry.
Dutch company BG Freight Line’s deep sea feeder vessel will run a weekly service from Waterford to Rotterdam, increasing capacity for goods travelling to mainland Europe and then on to global markets.
Mr McKeever said the new route will provide extra capacity and will be very useful for agri-food companies keen to get their product to mainland Europe. The journey will be only slightly different in length to using the UK landbridge, he said.
The route of the container ship will be from Rotterdam to Liverpool to Waterford and then directly back to Rotterdam which will allow extra empty containers into Ireland, where currently there is a shortage, he said.
Shipping directly into Rotterdam, which is an amalgamation port, will promote greater market diversification, said Mr McKeever as it will allow producers to send goods to other “far flung parts” of the world.
Rotterdam port offers shipping and rail connections to Asia, Africa and South America. The rail spur at the port will allow greater capacity to move freight by rail with direct rail links from Rotterdam to China.
However, Mr McKeever warned that Irish hauliers are not ready for Brexit. The smaller the company, the less prepared they were, he said. “Very few companies are at 100 per cent readiness.”
He said it was shocking that the focus on being Brexit ready had lessened since March. Stockpiling, which had been going on, had been drawn down, and many companies would now need to commence that process again.