The trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK needs more support from the government. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) is asking the government to prioritise the infrastructure deficit leading to and from Loch Ryan, as it handles around 45% of the whole trade between the two lands.
Seamus Leheny, FTA’s Policy Manager for Northern Ireland, explains that the trading industry is already uncertain about what will happen after Brexit and an old road network only adds to that stress: “For such a key route, the lack of consistent road surface is a headache for both freight operators and local residents, and deserves urgent attention. Bypasses need to be constructed as a priority for the villages that the road currently travels through, and we would urge Transport Scotland to investigate the possibility of duplicating the current A9 pilot scheme, which uses average speed cameras and increased speed limits of 50mph, to keep this key economic corridor to and from Northern Ireland open and functioning efficiently.”
The Loch Ryan to Belfast route sustains 9,000 sailing a year, carrying 410 thousand units of freight. However, if the inadequate quality of the A75 is not addressed soon, other routes, such as the one between Dublin and Holyhead, will grow to the detriment of Loch Ryan and Belfast.
“It is beholden on central government, as well as the devolved administrations, to ensure that vehicles, products and services can continue to make it to the ports on time so that businesses on both sides of the Irish Sea can continue to flourish – and that will require urgent and sustained investment in infrastructure improvements to benefit both Scottish and Irish business,” concludes Leheny.
FTA is the only organisation to represent the entire logistics industry and its member come from all sectors, road, rail, sea, and even retailers and manufacturers.