The overwhelming consensus among participants of the All Island Freight Forum (AIFF) held this week and led by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) was that safety and compliance must be harmonised across the north and south of the island of Ireland.
Pointing to the stark difference in compliance enforcement between the north and south, Tom Wilson, FTA’s Head of Policy for Northern Ireland, expressed the Forum’s desire for a more level playing field:
"The overwhelming consensus for a more decisive move towards the harmonisation of road freight compliance across the whole island of Ireland was absolutely clear.
"By expediting operator licensing in the north, we would really help improve the odds of seeing a similar degree of compliance in the south. This would be good news for all road users as it would effectively help drive out the rogue vehicle operators that are a menace on the island’s roads."
Through the All Island Freight Forum the logistics industry is poised to work with government agencies across the island of Ireland to investigate how to maximise resources to obtain the most efficient use of all freight transport modes.
"This Forum always provides lively and informed debate about various elements affecting logistics on the island, which is of course a never ending topic of debate. Whether you are in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland one thing holds true, freight transport is the essential lifeblood of the economy. Having a joined-up approach to vehicle operator compliance between neighbours is vital if we are to see meaningful improvements on our roads.
"The Forum’s work continues with plans to develop a robust accreditation scheme for operators – something already warmly-received by the Road Safety Authority in the Republic of Ireland – but we still have a mountain to climb to improve the reputation of our transport operators which currently languishes at the bottom of the EU league table on safety and compliance."