All hauliers travelling to France from Ireland will have to have evidence of a negative Covid-19 test from Thursday.

The development follows a decision of the French government.

As a result, the Irish Government says the testing protocol will apply to drivers travelling on any ferry leaving Ireland for France after 11pm tomorrow.

"The Department of Transport, in conjunction with Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Wexford County Council, is working extensively to finalise the opening of State-supported antigen testing facilities for hauliers," the department said in a statement.

"These tests will be made available free of charge at dedicated testing sites near the ports of Dublin and Rosslare."

The department added drivers also have the option of getting tested at the many private facilities around the country once they meet the French requirements.

However, they will have to pay for the tests themselves.

"The Department of Transport is liaising closely with the haulage industry and shipping sector with regard to the introduction of these new testing requirements for commercial vehicle drivers," the department said.

"The Department will be issuing guidance directly to the haulage representative organisations and ferry operators and to all international licensed haulage operators."

The volume of goods passing between Ireland and continental Europe on direct ferry routes to and from France has risen significantly since January 1, as hauliers shun the UK landbridge due to new post-Brexit customs and other checks.