According to Swedish shipping line company Stena, its new Dublin to Cherbourg service sold out on its first day, with 175 trucks booked to sail. However, hauliers say direct routes to Europe cannot take the place of the British land bridge because of the lack of capacity and extra costs involved.
The Stena Estrid sailed from Dublin to Cherbourg, France at 3pm after being taken off the Holyhead route for the weekend. Simon Palmer of Stena said they are responding to customer demand over fears of delays going through Britain. He said traffic on the Holyhead route is down 50% and the company wants to test demand on a weekend Cherbourg route with the Estrid sailing out on Saturday and returning Sunday.
Palmer says that Stena has also seen a 120% increase in freight traffic out of Rosslare, adding that there are difficulties with the direct Europe route as the Celtic Sea is part of the Atlantic and is more prone to cancellations because of bad conditions.
Linda Stuart Trainor of Food Drink Ireland said the direct route is difficult for many of her organisation's members because Ireland is a small import market which has relied on distributed loads from Britain. She has called on the Government to work out a solution to the threatened tariffs of between 8% and 30% for foods imported from British distribution centres.