‘Half of jobs under threat if UK quits EU’ – Warrenpoint Harbour Chief Executive

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Thursday, May 19th, 2016
Business, Community, News
Chief Executive of Warrenpoint Harbour Peter Conway has issued a stark warning today, envisaging that up to half the jobs at Warrenpoint Harbour could be in jeopardy if the UK quits the European Union. peter conway picConway, the Northern Ireland representative for the British Ports Association, told Newry Times, “Trade with our partners in the European Union is the lifeblood of this harbour. 40% of our trade is with the ROI alone. Trade through Warrenpoint goes north and south of the border. “Imagine if the UK lost its free trade status within the EU. Why should any business bother coming to Warrenpoint if there are tariffs when they could just ship to a ROI port unencumbered? I’m seriously concerned about the administrative nightmare we would face. “I’ve been speaking to businesses across the EU and they’re already getting jittery about what an EU exit would mean for their relationship with our harbour. At the moment we’re thriving with animal feed grain coming from France, Germany and Denmark, steel from Portugal and Spain and timber from Estonia, Latvia and Finland. “Furthermore, we export foodstuffs including dairy products, beef and poultry as well as building materials and machinery to mainland Europe. Any customs clearance and tariffs would make us instantly less competitive and it would also be costly to process any additional customs administration,” he insisted.
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May June 2016 updatedThe implications of this referendum could not be greater or more worrying Peter says. “We have 200 men and women working here every day and if we lost that 40% trade with the Republic of Ireland I would expect this to have a detrimental impact on jobs at the harbour and as many as half of jobs would be under threat. It’s a heart-breaking and deeply troubling prospect. “This is not scaremongering or exaggeration and I agree there is room for improvement with regards to the EU’s administrative processes. For many years, the port has lobbied to get Northern Ireland the best deal possible in Brussels and we intend to continue doing that. He added, “People shouldn’t simply sleepwalk into a so-called Brexit. The implications are catastrophic for Northern Ireland as a whole and particularly those who operate in the border region.”

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