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5th October 2021 - Press Release

Now is a crucial time to invest in the Port of Dover, the UK's busiest ro-ro ferry port

The Port's CEO Doug Bannister was joined by Huw Merriman MP, Chair of the Commons Transport Select Committee and Elizabeth De Jong, Policy Director at Logistics UK at a Conservative Party Conference fringe event in Manchester this week.

The panel discussed why the Port of Dover is vital for the smooth delivery of goods essential for the nation. The event can be viewed here - https://youtu.be/MuXHWmgt8fo

The Port of Dover’s unrivalled operation sees up to 10,000 lorries pass through the port each day. Its geographic location, capacity, frequency, short crossing time and operational efficiency make Dover a key asset and driver in keeping Britain moving. Nowhere else achieves 120 ferry movements in a day, with ferries berthing, discharging, reloading, and sailing again within 45 minutes.

Port of Dover CEO Doug Bannister said: “The Port has attracted a huge amount of attention over recent years, as we navigate through the challenges of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. The traffic simply had to keep flowing and it did; any risk to our continued smooth operation would be catastrophic for UK supply chains. Our exceptional resilience continues to keep vital food, medicine and other critical and time sensitive components moving.”

Mr Bannister added: “The Port is a critical part of the European trade superhighway, connecting the nation to its largest and nearest trading partner, and still the quickest route to get road-hauled goods there from Ireland.”

Dover continues to be market choice, despite one of the most challenging times in its history. This year, an additional ferry operator joined the route, plus new ferries and charter agreements between existing operators are a clear demonstration of investment and market preference for this route.

However, there are things that Dover needs to sustain this just-in-time trade flow right now in post-Brexit Global Britain. The Port has been seeking Government support as it faces serious post Brexit challenges.

Speaking at the event, Huw Merriman MP said: “We must invest in Dover.  We have got to support Dover in what they do.  It’s the Government’s job to help where the market demand exists.”

Elizabeth De Jong, Policy Director at Logistics UK also commented: “Logistics UK supports fast and fluid trade through all of the UK’s trade corridors. We recognise the special role Dover plays in transport supply chains and want to see joined-up government thinking to ensure there’s a long-term, multimodal, package of measures to ensure resilience through the Short Straits. “

New border infrastructure is needed, identified back in 2018, as a result of Britain leaving the EU and consequent new vehicle processing rules. The Outbound Controls Project will double the capacity of border authority booths to mitigate the increased transaction times caused by lengthier checks.

The EU’s Entry Exit System (EES) is also due to be introduced in May 2022, meaning that all British citizens will have to register a digital identification profile at border control points and undergo a biometric check when entering the Schengen Area under the supervision of a French Police Aux Frontieres (PAF) official. This raises serious and practical challenges that need addressing now.

Operating under what are known as juxtaposed controls, profile registration would in theory have to be done at the French border controls in Dover, but the rules for how it will be administered are, as yet, unknown. Juxtaposed controls are the product of the Treaty of Le Touquet, the fundamental purpose of which is to secure the borders of the UK. By mitigating the impact of new lengthier checks and keeping traffic flowing, the project’s successful delivery would maintain the integrity of the Treaty of Le Touquet.

However, if the government does not satisfactorily address the EES, then the future viability of the Treaty of Le Touquet could be at risk, with the consequential degradation of an important element of the UK’s border security. The stakes are high.

At this pivotal time as the UK adapts to a new trading relationship with the EU, emerges from Covid and faces renewed migration challenges, Dover calls on government for support now. Why? Because by securing the Port’s resilience today, we will secure the backbone of UK trade that will also protect the nation’s global economic success for tomorrow.

The Port is working with MPs and other political allies to encourage the government to take a lead and resolve these key issues.


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