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State plans more direct exports to continent

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More business: Irish ports will open routes to Europe. Photo: Bloomberg

More business: Irish ports will open routes to Europe. Photo: Bloomberg

More business: Irish ports will open routes to Europe. Photo: Bloomberg

Ireland is targeting improved direct routes with major shipping ports to combat the effects of Brexit.

Our connections to the European mainland has come under heightened scrutiny over fears the impact Brexit will have on trading routes.

Shipping companies have already been increasing capacity on direct routes in advance of Britain's exit.

However, Transport Minister Shane Ross and Irish officials have also held a number of meetings with European counterparts in a bid to protect shipping routes and bolster the chance of increased direct links.

There has been ongoing consultation with France, Belgium and Holland.

A significant portion of Irish goods are shipped directly to Belgium and Holland.

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However, internal documents seen by the Irish Independent show that France is particularly interested in strengthening shipping links with Ireland.

Mr Ross met with the French Transport Minister Élisabeth Borne in December and the pair discussed Calais and the impact of Brexit on Irish trade.

In November a memorandum of agreement was signed between French and Irish authorities to underline the importance of Irish traffic with the continent.

As well as working on direct links there has also been discussion on how to deal with Irish traffic arriving to France via Dover.

In the UK a "live test" will be carried out on Monday on plans in place to ease congestion the Channel ports.

The UK government is to use up to 150 lorries in a major test of its plans for UK border disruption.

Codenamed 'Operation Brock', it will use Manston airfield in Kent as an HGV holding facility.

Irish Independent