Businesses say Ireland is running out of warehousing space amid Brexit fears

Businesses say Ireland is running out of warehousing space amid Brexit fears

Groups representing businesses have said Ireland is running out of warehousing space as retailers and manufacturers rush to stockpile amid growing fears of a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

New figures from Savills Estate Agents show warehouses in Dublin have reached over 96% capacity.

A crash-out Brexit could result in new border checks for goods flowing between the UK and the EU.

Some businesses have been put under pressure to stockpile goods and components to avoid shortages in shops.

Owen Cooke, the chairman of transport group Independent Express, which runs The Pallet Network Business, says warehouses are close to capacity.

He says no new warehouses have been built since the collapse of the economy back in 2008.

“The economy has grown; it’s filled up the warehousing and the Brext situation would require dozens and dozens of warehouses like this one to cope with holding goods awaiting clearance and holding additional stock for import traders,” Mr Cooke said.

If the UK crashes out of the EU without a transition period, it could result in the possible interruption of supplies of food, goods and medicines moving through Irish and British ports.

Companies are expected to make efforts to increase their stockpiling between now and the latest Brexit deadline in October.

In the run-up to the last Brexit deadline in March, companies were able to stockpile, but this time around could be different.

Tom Thornton, Brexit spokesperson for the Irish/International Freight Association, says businesses must assess carefully whether they need to stockpile their goods.

He said: “There isn’t a whole lot of capacity there in the market for extra storage so if we try to layer on a whole new level of panic storage for Brexit-related goods coming towards October, there is going to be a huge problem.

“I think people need to stop and think and look at what tariff implications there are on their goods and just ask themselves do they really need to stockpile?”

Neil McDonnell, Chief Executive of the Small and Medium Enterprise Association, says the cost of warehouse space is rising due to the lack of capacity.

“We have no hard figures but we are hearing of not insignificant increases – of 5-10% increases – in storage cost.

“The amount of storage available is finite so it’s natural that there is going to be an element of supply and demand and it is to be expected that prices will go up.”

Mr McDonnell also said the Brexit deadline in October is coming at one of the busiest times of the year.

He said: “Just in the normal run of things you have preparations for Christmas and Halloween stock, so it’s going to be hard on the base case to get any type of storage space if you are a business that needs to get extra storage space.

“Also people have a concern having stocked up already in Q1, there was a significant cost to doing that. A lot of business are reluctant to do that a second time.

“But I think it’s clear from the political atmosphere, it’s more likely we will have a hard Brexit this time that we were in March.”

Meanwhile, Mr Cooke said he was worried about the uncertainty over a potential no deal.

“We would like to think we could prepare ourselves for anything coming down the road but we can’t because we don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.

“If you talk to senior customs officials or Revenue Commissioners, they can’t – and they’re not in a position – to tell us what will happen.

“Will we have to do an individual customs entry for every shipment from the UK – we don’t know and they are not telling us.”

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Brexit impacting skill requirements of companies; state training body

Brexit impacting skill requirements of companies; state training body

Brexit is having an impact on the skills requirements of companies here, according to the head of the state body tasked with upskilling the workforce.

Paul Healy, CEO of Skillnet Ireland, said the decision of our nearest neighbour to leave the EU was affecting the training and talent needs of businesses right across the economy.

“Brexit is pervasive. It has skills implications, whether that’s about marketing skills to forage out new markets, whether it’s about innovation, whether it’s about helping exposed businesses to become more lean and efficient. It has skills implications right across the economy,” he said.

Skillnet Ireland is overseeing the implementation of a new programme designed to help importing and exporting companies who will be impacted by the customs and trade implications of Brexit.

They’re being invited to apply for free training and financial supports from the government and industry partners.

Clear Customs provides free training over a 6 week period to ensure businesses can make compliant customs declarations.

“It’s one of a series of business support measures provided by government. The aim is to support smooth and efficient trade flows by helping businesses and the customs intermediary sector to develop the extra capacity needed to handle additional customs requirements,” Paul Healy said.

Eligible businesses can also apply for a financial support package to put towards the cost of recruiting or assigning new staff to customs roles.

The payment is worth up to €6,000 per employee up to a maximum of 10 employees per company.

“This is aimed at assisting firms with the staffing, IT and other costs associated with boosting the customs capacity within firms.”

Skillnet Ireland is seeking expressions of interest from businesses that wish to apply.

“We are urging firms that may have exposure, that may be trading with frequency and volume with, or through, the UK to consider their customs procedures to see if they can boost their in-house capacity. Could they train staff who could work on compliant customs declarations on behalf of the company?”

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