Thursday 12 December 2019

Wexford pallet firm to pounce on Brexit growth opportunity

 

Ire Wel Pallets managing director Mary B Walsh has announced new investment in the company
Ire Wel Pallets managing director Mary B Walsh has announced new investment in the company
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

Packaging and pallets company Ire Wel Pallets is to invest more than €2m in new technology and automation over the next six months, according to founder and managing director Mary B Walsh.

The investment will position the company to take advantage of an expected upturn in business as a result of Brexit, which will see the UK face stricter EU rules for its timber packaging.

The announcement follows a €2.5m investment in new technology, automation and staff by the company over the past three years.

Based at a 10-acre site in Gorey, Co Wexford, Ire Wel Pallets employs 50 people and will celebrate its 30th year in business next year.

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It is Ireland's leading timber packaging supplier, and provides pallets, boxes and crates to customers across all sectors. "We see huge opportunities for our business as a result of Brexit and this investment will help us take advantage of these opportunities," said Walsh.

"Once the UK leaves the EU, all the timber packaging and pallets into and out of the UK will have to be heat-treated and we have the fastest-drying technology in Europe to meet that demand."

Currently, timber packaging and pallets within the EU do not have to be heat-treated - but any pallets coming from outside the bloc have to be, to protect the EU from the spread of bark beetles and other pests.

Once the UK leaves the EU, these stricter standards will apply. More than three million pallets move between the UK and EU every month.

"This investment in technology, automation and the upskilling of our workers will ensure the jobs we are providing in Wexford are sustainable, and that is hugely important to me," Walsh said.

She began her career in banking with AIB in the 1980s and founded Ire Wel Pallets with her husband, Shay, in 1990.

She was speaking to the Sunday Independent on the back of the call for the 12th cycle of the Going for Growth business development programme, of which she is a past participant.

Sixty places are available for the six-month, part-time programme, supported by Enterprise Ireland and KPMG.

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