Ireland: a. hartrodt quenches thirst for wine and coffee

Food & Beverage business is booming, investments in own customs clearance are paying off.

"Brexit has brought us significantly more business," reports Gerard Kiernan, National Sales Manager at a. hartrodt (Ireland) in Dublin. In particular, the Food & Beverage segment is booming: The beer-drinking nation is thirsty for wine – and smaller quantities are being imported from the UK. Irish importers, for example, can buy three pallets from a British distributor. "Delivery from the UK is a good solution for Irish customers because it only takes a week," Kiernan explains. By contrast, sea freight direct to Ireland from Chile now takes 50 days, and from New Zealand 60. "If you can get space on ocean vessels," he adds.

Additional work due to new clearance formalities

"Before Brexit, we had no wine shipments from the UK," says Kiernan. Now a. hartrodt (Ireland) handles every month ten trailers with full and partial loads from the UK. Their trucks pick up the cargo at a bonded warehouse, hop on the ferry at the port of Liverpool, and deliver to the importer in the greater Dublin area. The "enormous paperwork" caused by new customs formalities means extra work for a. hartrodt's Dublin-based team of six, as well as four colleagues in the London back office. "For our own customs clearance, we have invested in software and hired one new employee," reports the manager.

Green coffee from Brazil

Although Ireland is considered a tea-drinking nation, there is a significant coffee business on the green island. Since October 2019, a. hartrodt has been managing 300 pallets of loose bags of green coffee annually for Irish importers, mainly from Brazil. "We take care of customs clearance, organize the trucking to the warehouse and draw samples for quality control," Kiernan explains. A challenge are the current capacity bottlenecks for sea freight.

Ireland was the only EU country to register growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the Covid year 2020 (3.4 percent). According to the European Commission's Spring 2021 Economic Forecast, GDP is expected to increase by 4.6 percent in 2021 and by 5.0 percent in 2022.

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