Wednesday 21 February 2018

Exporters flag up lack of warehouse and refrigeration facilities at airports

Freight often has to be shipped.
Freight often has to be shipped.
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Ireland has an "acute shortage" of warehousing facilities, particularly refrigeration and control, at some of the State's airports, it has been claimed.

The lack of these is forcing freight operators to truck cargo to British and continental airports and to fly the cargo from there, according to the Irish Exporters Association.

"Questions have been raised from members about the availability of storage, particularly refrigeration and control facilities at, in particular, Shannon and Cork airports and now increasingly in the east of the country," the IEA said in its pre-Budget submission.

"The acute shortage of warehousing facilities around Ireland is a major concern."

The association said that the development of these storage facilities, as well as the development of post and airports, could be a huge opportunity to develop the country as a distribution hub to Europe.

The IEA said that this was a function that the United Kingdom currently served as it has the storage capacity for onward delivery to the European network.

The IEA said that in the context of the Budget, Brexit should be used as an opportunity to put "procedures in place that safeguard Ireland's future, support Irish business and help exporters to diversify their export markets".

It also said that state aid should be provided for companies that are overly exposed to certain sectors hit by the sterling devaluation.

"Possibilities for funding include a levy made by banks on their hedging business for all SMEs, funding from the EU, or a credit against corporate tax payable which relates to the amount of employee taxes payable by an SME.

In addition, the IEA said that companies bringing in goods from the UK should be given a two-year import Vat holiday as part of a Budget package to deal with Brexit if the UK becomes a third country.

Almost two-thirds of exporting companies import from Britain.

"Trading between Britain and Ireland doesn't have that at the moment and you could be looking at 23pc being put on imports in a post-Brexit environment where there is no trade deal," said the IEA's CEO, Simon McKeever.

The IEA said that subject to special conditions, importers of goods from the UK should not be required to pay the Vat at point of entry, or by the 15th day of the next month as a deferred payer, but allowed to account for import Vat through their periodic Vat return.

"There's no EU-type reason why they can't give it," Mr McKeever added.

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