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17th December 2020 - Press Release

PORT OF DOVER RESPONSE TO PORT INFRASTRUCTURE FUND ANNOUNCEMENT

Keeping the nation's trade flowing should be a partnership effort. The Port of Dover has worked positively together with both UK and French partner agencies located in the port, to establish the requirements for maintaining a smooth flow rate of traffic through the port following Brexit under the special arrangements of the joint UK-France Le Touquet Treaty, which is an international agreement that governs the provision of juxtaposed border controls in Port of Dover.

Indeed, this work was presented to the UK Government a year ago, with the rationale for a specific project concerning the outbound border controls to be government funded. The port was encouraged to seek funding via the Port Infrastructure Fund to deliver it.  This was based on the identified and agreed need for additional French passport control booths to compensate for slower transaction times and a reordering of controls within the port to enable any non-compliant traffic to have been detected before reaching the French control.  It also catered for further EU immigration system changes in 2022.

The Government’s own border planning assumptions, as well as those of French counterparts, were predicated on that work and in good faith the port applied for £33 million of funding, but at the eleventh hour the Port has only been offered just one tenth of one per cent of what was needed.  For the primary gateway handling unitised trade with the EU, to reach this conclusion so late in the piece undermines so much work by all parties in preparation for the end of the Transition Period.

The port wishes to reassure customers and our community that it will continue working hard to keep traffic flowing, having already shown its resilience by doing so throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic and more recently as businesses choose Dover in order to stockpile ahead of the end of the Transition Period.  Dover will still provide the highest frequency, highest capacity and therefore ultimately the best supply chain resilience as the closest point to Britain's largest trading partner, but the lack of financial support will make a smoother transition more difficult.  This should and still could be avoided as we continue to seek support from Government, but the clock is ticking.

ENDS

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