Brexit could offer port perks

Brexit could present Foyle Port with robust opportunities, the facility’s chief executive has said Photo: PortBankenverband - Bundesverband deutscher Banken/flickr/Public domain
Industry Database

Brexit could present Foyle Port, located in Northern Ireland in the UK, with robust opportunities, the facility’s chief executive has said.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, Brian McGrath said that the UK’s EU-departure would not necessarily have been port operator Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners’ chosen path, but he noted that the body is still optimistic.

“Our location at Lisahally makes Brexit a strong opportunity for us,” he said.

“We have the ability, resources and capacity to be well-prepared should there be a no-deal output.”

The port’s key business is largely based around fertiliser and animal feed, with about 40% of commodities being received from Europe.

According to Mr McGrath, the facility primarily supports the agricultural energy sectors in the north west, also supporting about 20,000 farms in the cross-border region of Ireland and the UK.

“We are obviously interested in future customs arrangements and whether or not there will be a lot of additional bureaucracy,” he explained.

“The question is whether or not it will affect our competitive position and that is something we would be very concerned about.”

Mr McGrath was speaking as Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners reported a record turnover of £9.1m for the year to 31 March this year.

The 5% increase over the year means port turnover has tripled in a decade and a half, but pre-tax profits were down 19% year-on-year from £2m to £1.6m (though Mr McGrath said the enterprise is still commercially-robust).

The port also increased its workforce by 10% over the year, with staff costs going up from £3.2m to £3.6m.

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