It was inevitable really, that the UK leaving the EU and the associated red tape around imports and exports linked to that decision, would change trade patterns around the Irish Sea, and so it has proved.
The Guardian reports on official data showing that the volume of goods shipped directly from Ireland to the EU on new Brexit-busting ferry routes have rocketed by 50% in the past six months as exporters seek to avoid travelling across land through Great Britain.
The paper says that figures published by the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) show significant traffic diverted away from the traditional routes between Dublin and Britain to some of 32 new ferry services direct to ports such as Le Havre, Cherbourg and Dunkirk in France and Zeebrugge in Belgium.
Inevitably, this is going to have a detrimental impact on Welsh and Engliosh ports, with IMDO report showing freight volumes from Dublin port to Liverpool and Holyhead in Anglesey down 19% in the first three-quarters of 2021 compared with 2020 and down by 30% on the two routes from Rosslare in south-east Ireland to the Welsh ports of Pembroke and Fishguard:
"It is clear that the new trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK have had a significant and negative effect upon ro-ro [roll-on roll-off lorry haulage] freight traffic between the two countries," the IMDO report said. "Underpinning all of these trends are the new customs and trading arrangements between Ireland and the UK that came into force on 1 January 2021," it added.
"One-third of all ro-ro in the Republic of Ireland now operates on direct routes to ports in the European Union, up from a 16% share in 2019," the IMDO said.
Traffic for the second and third quarters of this year show Irish Republic to EU traffic is already up by 52% compared with the entirety of 2019, it added.
The decline in demand for the ferry services to Wales and Liverpool has also seen Northern Irish ports receiving a Brexit dividend, with freight volumes hitting "unprecedented highs in 2021".
Yet another area of the UK economy where the Brexit divident has proven to be a negative.