Vital calf export trade faces severe disruption
Limited facilities at French port and tight travel times pose problems for shippers
The vital live export trade for calves to the continent could be severely disrupted this spring because of "unworkable" regulations on travel times, it was claimed by one of the country's largest live shippers yesterday.
David Scallan of Wicklow Calf Company told the Farming Independent that the important trade was facing serious problems associated with travel times and restricted facilities at Cherbourg in northern France.
The difficulties centre on a shortage of lairage facilities at the port, with just two yards that can be filled by 10-12 trucks.
The nearest alternative lairage facilities are four hours from Cherbourg, which takes the trucks over the maximum travel time for calves.
"I am extremely concerned there is a possibility that the live export trade for calves from this country could be faced with near collapse next spring unless a solution is found," Mr Scallan said.
"Urgent action is needed from all concerned, including the Department of Agriculture, before it is too late and the market is gone," Mr Scallan maintained.
It is understood arrangements are being made to discuss the situation with industry players and the Department of Agriculture over the next week.
"The crossing time is 17 hours, and the calves may have clocked up one to two hours before departure from the Irish port, which leaves no time for any travel after arrival [in France], within the maximum limit of 19 hours before the calves must be rested and fed," Mr Scallan explained.