Plans published to reduce delays at Holyhead port after Brexit transition

  • See our report from Carole Green.

The Welsh Government has published plans in an attempt to reduce delays at the Port of Holyhead after the Brexit transition.

They are planning for the potential impact of delays for hauliers travelling to Ireland from the UK when the EU border controls come into force on 1 January 2021. 

Holyhead is the main entry and exit point for transporting goods between the UK and Ireland and is the second busiest ferry port in the UK with hundreds of lorries passing through it every day.

Ferry operators will be required to carry out border checks and without the correct documentation, lorries won’t be able to enter the port.

There will also be border checks in Dublin which could delay sailings and cause a backlog of HGVs in Holyhead thus causing traffic disruption on Anglesey's main trunk roads.

Between 40-70% of hauliers could be turned away from the port in the 'worst case' the economy minister has said

The Welsh Government contingency plans include temporary contraflows along the A55 to hold HGVs turned away from the port for them to sort paperwork or be redirected.

Other plans include:

  • Plot 9 Parc Cybi is being prepared as a stacking site from mid-January and negotiations are continuing to use the Roadking truck stop as a site from January 1.

  • Stacking on the A55 remains the contingency option to use should there be no space on any other site. The temporary contraflow will be used to redirect HGVs if other sites are available for stacking.  This means the site may appear empty at times but is still being used at busy times to safely redirect HGVs. It is not possible to dismantle the contraflow in between busy times.

  • Signage will be in place from December 14 to alert of possible delays from January 1.

Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates said: “Our main aim is to ensure that any disruption to the port of Holyhead, residents of the town and wider area is kept to the absolute minimum.”

“Introducing a contraflow is not something we want to do but it has become the necessary thing to do.  The uncertainty we face means we have to take every step to protect the port and town of Holyhead from disruption.” 

“This is a situation we have never faced before and while we have reasonable worst case forecasts that between 40 and 70 percent of hauliers could be turned away initially, the actual situation could be different.”   

“We have always been clear that the UK Government’s approach on our future trading relationship with the EU would risk major disruption in Wales, particularly at the border."

Llinos Medi, Isle of Anglesey County Council Leader, added, “We are working in partnership with Welsh Government to protect Holyhead’s position as one of the main international gateways and mitigate any potential disruption to the town and its residents during the forthcoming transition period.”

“Our priority remains providing safe and efficient trade and traffic movement through the Port of Holyhead, whilst protecting our local communities.”

With Brexit talks in final stages between the UK and the EU, the First Minister Mark Drakeford told our Politcal Editor, Adrian Masters that "the better the deal, the more those ports are protected. The worse the deal or no deal at all, the greater will be the impact of them."

The Brexit transition period comes to an end on 31 December 2020.