THE Port of Cork and outdoor broadcasting experts TVM gave first-hand accounts of their planning for the impact Brexit will have on their operation at a seminar in Cork city today.
With Britain’s deadline for leaving the EU extended to October 31 and still no agreement in the UK on how to proceed, it is important businesses in Ireland continue to prepare for the possible outcomes.
To help, the British Irish Chamber of Commerce is arranging regional events to discuss the impact of Brexit on Irish companies and how to support growth in a post-Brexit world — and the first took place in Cork.
The event, sponsored by Ulster Bank, provided local business leaders an update on the latest economic trends and market forecasts influencing business decisions and trade with the United Kingdom.
In outlining the measures taken by his company, Brendan Keating, CEO of The Port of Cork said they have been planning for a worst-case scenario for three years.
“Despite the infrastructure costs associated with new customs procedures, the Port stands ready to expand capacity to ensure continued movement of goods to the UK in the event of hard Brexit,” he said. “With additional investment, new possibilities also emerge to increase our connectivity post-Brexit and to secure the port’s position as an international gateway for trade.”
Welcoming attendees, John McGrane, Director-General, British Irish Chamber of Commerce, acknowledged no-one yet knows how Brexit will eventually play out.
“With the growing political uncertainty in the UK at present, the final Brexit outcome is still unknown,” he said.
“Businesses in the southern region have had to implement costly contingency plans to protect their operations in this context. Following on from our UK- Ireland Ports Forum held in the city earlier this year, the Chamber is delighted to be back in Cork to profile local businesses who have overcome the obstacles created by the UK’s departure from the EU and created exciting new possibilities in a post-Brexit world.”
Pat Horgan, Head of Commercial Banking (Regions) for Ulster Bank said the bank was closely monitoring the situation. “We know how disruptive the Brexit process has been for some companies, particularly those that trade into or through the UK. We aim to continue to provide businesses with the same level of service and range of products as we do today.”
The outcome of the EU Election in Britain has done nothing to make the road ahead any clearer. Although Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party took 32%, pro-Remain parties also did well. The Liberal Democrats got 20% of the vote and Green Party 12%. British Prime Minister Theresa May will resign on June 7 and there are currently 10 MPs, with a variety of opinions on Brexit, vying to be the next leader.