The introduction of Ireland’s new postcode service will be as problematic as Irish Water, some of the country’s biggest transport delivery firms confirmed.
The Freight Transport Association of Ireland said the planned new Eircode service would be “useless” to its members.
The association told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications the introduction of Eircode would be a significant cost on small and medium businesses for no tangible benefit.
FedEx, UPS and DHL are just some of the delivery companies who confirmed, in a submission, they would not use the new system when it is introduced next year.
The randomly-generated codes that will be allocated to postal addresses will not show when two addresses are adjacent, meaning the system offers no assistance to businesses in planning the most efficient delivery routes when transporting goods to several locations.
Tom Carr of Palletxpress said there was no consultation with the freight industry ahead of Eircode’s launch, and the system was of no use to the industry in its current state.
“There is no use for us whatsoever. We simply wouldn’t use this system if it was imposed upon us. We would have to go and get another system to actually cater for our business,” he said.
“I do understand the boxes have been ticked for a number of businesses across the country, but it is certainly not ticking the box for the transport and logistics industry. It’s not as if we can even come and debate the issue here, it is simply of no use to our industry,” Mr Carr said.
Sligo-North Leitrim TD Michael Colreavy (SF) questioned how such a “fundamental piece of infrastructure” had not been tested in a pilot area prior to its approval.
He aired his concern at the cost and reliance on management consultants in implementing Eircode, asking if “we have another Irish Water on our hands here”.
Mr Carr replied: “To our industry, it’s an Irish Water, absolutely. We will look back and say how did we get that wrong as well?”
Neil McDonnell of the Freight Transport Association of Ireland said delivery companies needed a sequenced postcode that showed when addresses were adjacent.
“They need to join the dots, a random selection of dots around the country is no good from a routing point of view,” he said.
Mr McDonnell said businesses were already using existing postcode solutions afforded by navigation company TomTom and the privately-developed Loc8 code.
“Unless someone gets a grip on a state level, there is a danger of a plethora of solutions where thereshould be just one,” he warned.
“There are lots of clever people who have already come up with excellent solutions to this, and it can’t be beyond the imagination of the Department of Communications to put a similarly productive, useful, system in place.”.
Mr McDonnell echoed Mr Carr’s concerns that the industry had not been consulted on the introduction of Eircode.
Committee chairman John O’Mahony (FG) said the mention of Irish Water suggested there would be difficulties for Eircode coming down the tracks that the committee would want to “head off at the pass”.
Department of Communications officials are due to appear before the committee to discussEircode in two weeks’ time.
“With the utility of such a system in question, the Committee is also seriously concerned at the cost to the exchequer and to small businesses.
“We look forward to raising these concerns with officials from the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources,” Mr O’Mahony said.
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