BOC is Ireland’s biggest industrial, medical and special gases provider, employing around 350 people and serving more than 20,000 customers from three manufacturing plants in Belfast, Dublin and Cork. We work closely with BOC UK and are integrated operationally across the supply chain. We are part of Linde plc, the world’s leading industrial gases and engineering company.
The BOC Ireland business (Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland) serves a range of customers in sectors including traditional and advanced manufacturing, food and beverage, leisure, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, healthcare and electronics. Products and services supplied include bulk, compressed and special gases, hardgoods and facilities management. Most industries use industrial gases in some form or other and for many it is a non-substitutable part of their operations.
Our core products - bulk and cylinder nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and argon and mixtures of these gases - are manufactured at our plants in Belfast, Dublin and Cork. A significant number of products including bulk CO2 and argon as well as a range of special gases are imported from the UK. A limited number are produced in ROI and exported to NI.
Linde is familiar with importing and exporting throughout Europe and already has well-established processes and a robust supply chain. The Ireland business has access to Linde sources in mainland Europe and currently imports some products (via the UK) into Ireland from other European countries.
We have a Brexit team in place which has already reviewed and identified the supply chain routes for these products to reach Ireland directly from Linde plants in mainland Europe. We have engaged with government departments, official bodies and consultants to ensure we have robust plans in place. We have a number of workstreams looking at the various Brexit scenarios, alternative supply options and associated contingency measures.
We maintain good stock levels in our main production centres at Dublin, Cork and Belfast, at our six Gas & Gears and via our 55 gas agents. However, in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, there is a number of likely impacts on our operations in, and between, NI, ROI and the UK. These include tariffs, greater exchange rate volatility, new customs procedures and processes, delays in moving product and longer lead times.
As part of the UK, our gases business in NI is unlikely to be as impacted to the same extent as operations in ROI. We are aware that gases supplied between ROI and NI will be impacted by Brexit and we are planning for this.
In ROI, as part of our preparations we have applied to become an AEO (Authorised Economic Operator) which will enable us to become a recognised trusted trader with the Irish Revenue Authorities. This will help minimise potential delays with imported goods with regards to Customs clearance etc. BOC is also embarking on upskilling UK and Ireland supply chain employees in Customs requirements.
We understand that many of our customers have concerns. We will continue to review our position as more information is provided by the Ireland and UK Governments, including the decision on the border deal.
At this stage there is no need to change your normal ordering pattern. If this advice changes we will inform you directly.