Pembrokeshire County Council has backed calls for the UK Government to take action to protect the future of Welsh ports.
We reported yesterday on a letter Welsh Government Minister for Economy and Transport Ken Skates sent to the UK Government outlining the significant bureaucratic pressures faced by hauliers and businesses trading between GB and the EU is having a disproportionate impact on Welsh ports.
“As an Authority we recognise the importance of our ports at Fishguard and Pembroke, alongside the other Welsh ports that have direct links with the Republic of Ireland”, said Cllr Paul Miller, Pembrokeshire Council’s Cabinet Member for the Economy.
“I fully support the Welsh Government’s Minister for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, who has written to the UK Government urging action to resolve the EU Exit’s ‘disproportionate impact’ on Welsh ports, including the ports at Fishguard and Pembroke”.
The call for action is in light of the impact on freight numbers as a result of Brexit, and whilst numbers are now beginning to increase, they are not yet back to the level pre-Brexit.
Additional ferries are now operating from Republic of Ireland direct to France. Therefore international Hauliers can avoid Welsh ports and the “UK Landbridge”, and go direct to Europe.
Cllr Miller added: “We clearly need the UK Government to set out how it plans to reverse the reduction in use of Welsh ports.
“Both Pembrokeshire ports are clearly well set up and ‘open for business’. However, the drop in freight levels between Wales and Republic of Ireland is a concern.
“Pembrokeshire Ports have dealt with a number of changes since 1st January, and it has been a difficult time for them with the current issues being outside the Ports’ direct control.”
Since 1st January the Council has set up “Operation Stack”, a holding parking area for lorries that are unable to enter the ports due to not having the prescribed paperwork to export to Ireland.
The stacks have been busy and the facilities have ensured there have not been any traffic issues associated with lorries parking up on side streets in our towns.
Pembrokeshire ports offer a short direct route to the Republic of Ireland carrying both commercial and domestic vehicles, and with other Welsh ports, are a key part of the Welsh economic infrastructure.
(Lead image: Pembrokeshire Council)