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Firm claims to have technology to solve Brexit border issue 'but no one will listen'

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson

BY JAMES GANT

A technology group has claimed it can solve the Northern Ireland border issue after Brexit using smart technology - but said Downing Street will not hear them out.

Manchester-based GSM, which works with large firms such as Barclays, have developed the technology to bypass the physical handling of freight.

The smart technology uses near-field communication, block chaining and chips pre-loaded with information on items transported in freight, including the certificate of origin, bill of lading and any handling instructions.

They can also store data relating to sanitary and phytosanitary measures - done to protect humans, animals and plants from diseases, pests or contaminants - which are important for the Irish border.

The 300-mile border is the main area of dispute between the UK and EU in the Brexit negotiations.

Chief executive of GSM Andrew Bird detailed his plan in a letter to the Prime Minister on November 9 but said she is yet to respond.

"It annoys the life out of me to be honest because we are, if you look at our website, quite a disruptive company," he said.

"But what we set out to do in any market we go into is to bring simplicity and such a fundamental issue as this where we think, we may be wrong, but we think with a very high degree of certainty, that we could bring simplicity to this issue and make things progress so much more smoothly," he said.

"It's really frustrating, really, really, really infuriating."

But Mr Bird said the suggestion had met with approval from one DUP MP.

He added: "The only other response we have had was a very positive one that made me laugh because he was quite forthright - Sammy Wilson.

"He was basically saying we need people like you to come and educate us because we don't know what we're talking about."

A similar technology has been in place at Rotterdam and Eindhoven ports for three years. Mr Bird said: "If this is good enough to use in two of the busiest ports in Europe, why isn't it good enough for the Irish border problem?"

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