Hauliers will be warned in the run-up to Brexit not to enter Dublin Port unless they have customs paperwork completed for UK-bound goods to avoid traffic congestion outside the port.
The State’s busiest port plans to run an information campaign for hauliers in the weeks leading up to the UK leaving the EU on March 29th, setting out strict rules to ensure they have correct customs numbers and declaration forms completed before heading into the port in order to prevent traffic jams.
The Revenue Commissioners has said that ferry companies will not permit lorries or unaccompanied trailers destined for the UK to board unless they have the required paperwork filled out.
On their arrival into the port, Revenue plans to operate a traffic-light system by which hauliers arriving from the UK will be informed 15 minutes before their docking in Dublin whether they face inspections or can leave the port.
These are among a series of precautionary measures, both commercial and operational, that Dublin Port Company, the State authorities and the ferry companies are planning to minimise post-Brexit delays.
The port, which handles about 90 per cent of the roll-on, roll-off road freight coming on and off the island, stands at 650 metres from the Dublin Port Tunnel and the start of the M50 ring road around the city.
On a typical morning, from around 6am to 9am, four ferries depart for English ports with a capacity for more than 12 lane-kilometres of space aboard for lorries, vans and unaccompanied trailers.
The tunnel would bear the brunt of any traffic congestion at the port spilling back into the city.
EU rules prohibit standing traffic so if there is congestion at either end of the tunnel, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the State body responsible for the tunnel, must close it to traffic.
One potential option being considered in no-deal Brexit contingency planning would be a lifting of the ban on lorries passing through Dublin city centre should the tunnel have to close in the event of severe traffic congestion.
“Work is progressing on finalising traffic flows within the port in a no-deal scenario and this will inform contingency planning in relation to traffic flows outside of the port,” said a Department of Transport spokeswoman.
“As we are in an unprecedented situation, all possible scenarios are being considered.”
Dublin Port Company, which is responsible for traffic management inside the 760-acre port, is confident that a series of measures it is planning will prevent traffic congestion inside or outside the port.
Eamonn O’Reilly, the port company’s chief executive, said it would be insisting that no hauliers will be permitted to board a UK-bound ship after Brexit unless they have a customs entry number.
“No ferry is taking a booking for a lorry or trailer without a customs number. We don’t want to invite the problem down into the port,” he said.
Mr O’Reilly said Dublin Port stands on a larger plot of land than the busy English port of Dover where space constraints have raised major concerns about the port’s capacity to cope with Brexit-related delays.
The port has the capacity to prevent a congestion in container traffic at one of the three lift-on, lift-off container terminals by halving the time companies can leave containers at the port and doubling the charges.
“If you start to introduce such charges, there will be a reaction. I would be confident of that. We have available to us a whole series of measures, the likes of which Dover doesn’t have,” said Mr O’Reilly.
“As a general principle, we will look to put in operational measures to counteract congestion.”
TII said its focus was on the efficient operation of the tunnel pre- and post-Brexit and it would engage with the department, Dublin City Council and others “on any issue that may impact our operations”.