Speaking to the Irish Independent, Aidan Flynn, general manager of the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, said that Irish shops could see their shelves run empty very soon.
Flynn warned that haulage firms needed to immediately improve its supply chain as Irish shops won’t be able to stockpile any goods in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
“Ireland’s retail shops have no space to stockpile anything,” he told the Irish Independent. “They must be fed by distribution centres every day – and the UK is the major distribution hub for Ireland.”
“Everything will take days longer,” he added. “And in the event of a no-deal, there’s going to be absolute chaos for months.”
Simply Not Enough Space
Flynn suggested that, following a move into EU rules which created seamless next-day imports, Irish retailers converted a lot of underused storage space to new retail facilities.
Citing bakeries as the main example, Flynn raised the question if Ireland could bake bread at all.
“We don't mill most of our flour in Ireland. It just shows how reliant we are on the UK for our food,” he said.
He also rejected the idea of stockpiling, claiming that warehousing in Ireland was scarce, particularly cold storage and chilled warehousing.
“There certainly isn't enough available to stockpile levels we would need to cope,” he said.
In addition to the lack of availability, rental costs for storage rose by 15% last year, Flynn said, suggesting that it will continue to rise and eventually be passed on to the consumer.
He recommended that the government work together with the EU to make direct services linking Dublin, Cork and Rosslare with ports in Continental Europe.
However, responding to the media coverage suggesting a possible disruption to food supplies, Retail Ireland stressed that “consumers can rest assured”.
“Irish retailers have comprehensive contingency plans in place to ensure supply continuity in all Brexit scenarios,” Director of Retail Ireland Thomas Burke said.
“Suggestions to the contrary are totally inaccurate,” he added.
“While the prospect of a no-deal Brexit brings many challenges to the supply chain, retailers have spent the last two years putting in place detailed plans to address these.”
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click sign-up to subscribe to Checkout.