The FTA has criticised a university’s decision to cut Northern Ireland’s only transportation-specific courses.

The trade association said the planned closure of the courses (BSc Transportation and MSc Transport Planning ) at Ulster University in 2018 would be a “huge loss” to the local transport and logistics sector.

It said it had written a letter to the minister for employment and learning - as well as the minister for transportation and the environment - to reverse the decision, or make provisions for alternatives to the courses.

FTA’s Northern Ireland policy spokesman Seamus Leheny said: “FTA is very disappointed that these courses are to stop at Ulster University.  If the economy in Northern Ireland is to grow then we must have an export led economy and the ability to get goods to market efficiently is vital.

“To achieve this we need high calibre management within the transport and logistics sector. Sadly if these courses are to cease we will lose this fantastic source of knowledge to the detriment of industry and the economy.”

Course director Jonathan Seymour agreed with Leheny, and added: “It’s just dreadfully disappointing, with such short-sighted lack of strategic vision that’s lead us to where we are. It’s one of the subject areas that’s essential but people just don’t see it. Our transport course covers everything from warehousing to supply as well as haulage – there’s so much more to motor transport than people realise.”

“There’s an old Rudyard Kipling quote I used to share with the students: “Transport is civilisation. Without transport there’s nothing.”