Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker MP was pressed by hauliers on the NI Protocol and a negotiated outcome that aids logistics firms this week at Logistics UK’s freight council in Belfast.

Baker discussed the key issues facing the sector, including the prospects for a negotiated outcome between the UK and the EU that worked for the industry.

The business group’s members also raised concerns about the potential impact of the Retained EU Law Bill on NI businesses and Logistics UK said it was “encouraged” by the minister’s acknowledgement and awareness of the impact of these issues and his willingness to find solutions.

The discussion also focused on the support needed for the transition to net zero, such as investment in charging infrastructure, power supplies and the need for government incentives, including through taxation to assist businesses.

Last month, Logistics UK met with the foreign secretary James Cleverly MP and the NI secretary of state Chris Heaton-Harris MP to discuss the difficulties experienced by hauliers on the free movement of trade that have arisen as a result of the Protocol.

Nichola Mallon, Logistics UK’s head of trade and devolved policy, said: “The logistics industry is key to maximising opportunities and growth for the NI economy and Logistics UK has consistently highlighted the importance of communication between industry and government as a key factor in delivering and driving success.”

Baker said: “Northern Ireland is a great place to do business, with a thriving economy and the freight industry truly demonstrates its potential. It is truly remarkable the amount of work the NI Freight industry does with 6% of the total tonnage handled at UK major ports going through NI ports.”