Freight customers want to use Holyhead port and the UK land bridge to get their goods into the EU, Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie was told in the Welsh Affairs Committee this week.
Virginia asked if there was a risk the UK land bridge could be bypassed permanently and whether any drop in traffic at Holyhead and other ports was only going to be temporary.
Ian Davies from Stena Line, which operates at Holyhead, said there was disruption to freight traffic from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland due to the new rules following the end of the transition period with the EU.
However, he told the committee that it takes roughly six hours longer to get to Europe via a direct sea route from Rosslare to Dunkirk and it costs around 400 euros more to do so.
“So, we know the economics of direct service are more expensive and more time consuming,” he told the committee.
“From a ferry operators’ view you need a balance – a flow both north and south – yet currently we believe there is more southbound than northbound so, logistically from a long-term sustainable point of view, it will be interesting to see what happens with some of those services.”
He then added: “Our freight customers are telling us, we want the land bridge back and we are desperate to have it back, and that’s from Irish manufacturers both north and south and the haulage industry as well.
“They need land bridge to work and, as a port at Holyhead, we want land bridge to work as well.”
Speaking afterwards Virginia said: “Holyhead and the UK land bridge is the best and cheapest way to get goods to Europe from the island of Ireland and we all need to work together to ensure the paperwork and the delays are eased so that companies in both the Province and the Republic can get back to travelling on the normal and preferred route.
“It’s not a case of having to talk anyone into the UK land bridge – it’s clearly what everyone wants to use. We just need to minimise that disruption.
“I will be talking to the UK government to press for more clarity and more ease of travel but I am very confident Holyhead is going to continue to flourish as a vital part of the UK land bridge to the Continent.”