The Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Agriculture and the Irish Road Haulage Association have agreed to meet early next week to try to resolve issues with the transportation of goods between Ireland and the UK.
Yesterday hauliers staged a protest at Dublin Port to highlight the "serious and far-reaching challenges" that have arisen since Britain formally left the European Union, which has seen some goods held up at ports due to administrative issues.
Speaking before the Oireachtas Transport Committee today, IRHA president Eugene Drennan detailed some of the issues facing hauliers, and said the 'Just In Time' logistics model was virtually impossible due to the delays.
He said the system was facing collapse as volumes of trade rose, and Ireland was at risk of becoming a "second world country within the EU if we don't take radical action to address this".
He said hauliers were not looking to change or bypass customs rules, however he criticised what he said was a lack of co-ordination between relevant authorities, and said this has resulted in a greater burden being placed on drivers.
with representatives of Revenue, the Department of Agriculture and the IRHA agreeing to meet next week to try to "thras
Revenue commissioner Gerry Harrahill accepted that there have been issues, but also highlighted the large volume of trade that has come through ports smoothly.
He said some of the issues would be addressed as people become more familiar with what is required, and the systems in place to check documentation.
However he also said there was a need for all in the supply chain to be aware of their obligations - as hauliers can often face delays because another party has failed to provide the required information.
Mr Harrahill said Revenue is working to try to give hauliers more details when that happens, so they can have a better understanding of what is causing a delay.
However he also warned against suggestions that Revenue could temporarily set aside the need for full complaince with the EU's customs code as a way of easing the pressure on firms.
He said doing that "would carry very serious consequences for the view taken by other member states of exports from Ireland", and could impact the automatic right those goods have to move freely within the EU.
"Such an approach would be highly detrimental to Irish trade and business, and the Irish economy in general."
Sinn Féin TD Darren O'Rourke asked whether there were any opportunities to improve the systems in place.
Mr Harrahill said he did not see scope for anything significant, but said Revenue was open to refining and tweaking things where possible.
He also said a basic familiarity and understanding of the system was hugely important, as well as all players in the supply chain, including state agencies, knowing and understanding what the others are doing.
The committee's chair, Fine Gael TD Kieran O'Donnell, asked whether it was the case that one consignment could be enough to hold up an entire container of goods.
Mr Harrahill said yes, and it was advising hauliers take steps to try to reduce the risk of that happening.
Mr Drennan said that the system was not working as well as has been suggested and that "links in the chain are missing".
He also said that Revenue currently had two customs systems running - one of which is due to be closed at the end of March - and that some are falling between the cracks.
It was agreed that the IRHA, Revenue and the Department of Agriculture meet next week to "thrash out" the issues that have arisen, and report back to the committee afterwards.