DUBLIN (Reuters) - The UK landbridge that offered traders the fastest route between Ireland and the European continent before Brexit will not re-emerge as a preferred option for moving goods, the head of Dublin Port was quoted as saying on Friday.
The introduction of checks on some goods since neighbouring Britain left the European Union's trading orbit at the end of 2020 led to a sharp fall in trade between it and EU-member Ireland and an increase in shipping routes from Ireland to mainland Europe.
The volume of accompanied freight on the main routes between Dublin and Britain fell by 21% to 703,000 while the 259,000 units on direct routes to continental Europe represented a three-fold increase, figures from Ireland's largest port showed.
"The landbridge has gone. It hasn't re-emerged. I thought it would but it hasn't and there's nothing to suggest it is going to in my mind because the British have yet to introduce import controls. I don't see the landbridge recovering," Dublin Port Chief Executive Eamonn O'Reilly told the Irish Times.
A spokesman for the port confirmed that the quote was accurate.
For decades, the landbridge offered offered the swiftest, most reliable route to mainland Europe. It involved a short sea crossing between Dublin and Holyhead in Wales and then a hop between Dover and Calais in France.
The second largest port of Rosslare in the southeast has also benefitted from the move towards direct European routes, while more Irish goods are being shipped to Britain via Northern Ireland as there are no checks in the British-run region.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by Barbara Lewis)