The Welsh ports of Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke have seen a 30% drop in traffic as a result of Brexit, according to Stena Line’s UK chief Ian Davies.

Davies, who is head of UK port authorities at Stena Line, said he believes the decline in traffic at the ports is due to Brexit and not because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which he said had been marginal.

He added that it has hit the logistics industry "quite hard".

In an interview on the BBC Politics Wales programme on Sunday (23 January), Davies said: “In January, we saw a big drop-off ranging from 50-60% of our freight volumes, as people really kind of got used to the new regimes and the new documentation that was required.

"I would say it caught quite a few, not so much in the haulage industry, but their customers unaware. But then things gradually improved but we seem to have plateaued. Currently, we're probably in the region of 30% down on our pre-pandemic 2019 volume."

He added: "Within this 30% we've seen some slight peaks and troughs which we put down to the Covid pandemic. But I think now we're probably in a position to say, yes, this is really the effect post-Brexit of where we are and slight changes in the way that people are moving freight.

"If we look at the Irish Sea in its entirety, the freight volumes are roughly the same.

"What has been adversely affected is really the Welsh ports and the Welsh routes so far."

Davies insisted Stena Line has a long-term commitment to the ports adding that he expects the freight volumes to improve.

The three Welsh ports - Holyhead, Fishguard and Pembroke - supply more than 5,000 jobs to the surrounding areas.

A government spokesman said: "We have made extensive preparations and continue to work closely with port authorities, devolved administrations and other partners to deliver the systems and infrastructure needed on time."

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds slammed the government for the problems new Brexit border controls have created and their impact on the Welsh ports.

She said: "Yet again we are seeing more evidence that the Conservatives are the party of doing half a job. There are now numerous serious problems with the Brexit deal Boris Johnson negotiated, most of which they were warned about before they signed the deal.

"Whether it's the unacceptable levels of new red tape for our hauliers and small businesses, the lack of an adequate veterinary agreement for our farmers or the impact of lost development funds on our most deprived regions, the Conservatives are failing to even attempt to address the problems they have caused on multiple fronts."