Irish haulage set for €180m Brexit hit

Weakening sterling already affecting the sector...

The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has warned that the UK leaving the EU will have a massive impact on its industry.

It estimates that Irish haulage will suffer a hit of over €180 million in the first year of Brexit alone.

The latest AIB Transport & Logistics Outlook also notes that IRHA members are already being negatively impacted by the UK's decision due the weakening in sterling.

IRHA president Verona Murphy wrote:

"We conservatively estimate that the first year of Brexit will probably cost the sector in excess of €180m.

"That's a lot of money for a sector that is already having to contend with rising costs on a number of fronts and historically very slim margins.

"So, it can't really come out of the sector, because it simply isn't there."

Despite the challenges the industry faces, Murphy said that the IRHA was pleased thus far with the State's response to Brexit.

She continued:

"We are also happy with the Government's stance and its response to the enormous challenges the sector faces.

"The Government is under no illusion about what is involved, the challenges we face as a sector and the very important role it plays in keeping the economy ticking over.

"So, I am optimistic that the Government will do the right thing and that it is preparing for Brexit in the right manner.

"There is a huge opportunity for the Government to make this very important sector a lot more competitive prior to the Brexit and we have been very active behind the scenes lobbying and engaging with the Government."

Murphy's recommendations include designating the licensed haulage sector a special category, as is already done in some other European countries.

There are over 3,700 licenced haulage firms currently operating in Ireland, employing over 50,000 people between them and contributing in excess of €1bn annually to the Exchequer in the form of PAYE, PRSI and road taxes.

"Obviously farming and agriculture are very important," Murphy said, "But it’s a truck that takes the milk to the dairy or the cattle to the mart and without transportation, the economy will grind to a halt,”