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20th October 2015 - Press Release

Port handles phenomenal growth following summer disruption in France

The Port of Dover is shaping up to have a record breaking year, despite disruption in the UK this summer caused by the unprecedented industrial action and migration problems in France.

Within five days of the last incident of Operation Stack in early August, Europe’s busiest ferry port had recovered - and was handling record volumes on a daily basis.

Tim Waggott, Port of Dover chief executive, said: “August is historically a quieter month for freight, whereas June and July have notoriously higher freight peaks.

“However, the Port is having busier days and has carried more freight in the last two months than it did in the equivalent months of 2014. And all of that with fewer vessels on the route.

“In the last 12 months we have carried more freight than the annual total in 2014.”

Since the end of the last period of summer industrial action, the Port has handled up to 9,300 freight units in a single day, the equivalent last year was 9,200; with last year having 13 vessels operating, compared to 11 on the current Dover route.

Mr Waggott added: “This phenomenal growth on Dover’s short-sea market is yet another reminder of the fundamental importance of Dover as a major gateway into the UK for both freight and passengers, supporting the UK economy.”

Freight volumes at the Port grew 4.2 per cent in September (with 9,000 more freight units carried during the month) when compared with the same month in 2014 despite the August Bank Holiday suppressing freight volumes and weather conditions mid-month.

On a rolling 12 month basis, freight has grown by 6.4 per cent with a unit variance of 150,000 – the equivalent of 2,700km or 305 times the height of Mount Everest.

Mr Waggott said: “Over the last 20 years, the number of freight vehicles travelling from the UK to mainland Europe has increased by 83 per cent; this growth is expected to continue with predictions for the average daily demand increasing to between 14,000 and 16,000 per day in the next decade.

“That’s why the Lower Thames Crossing is crucial in keeping Britain connected with the Port. If freight through the Port is increasing, the road network needs the resilience to cope with demand.”


Notes to Editors:

  • The port handles 13 million passengers, 2.5 million freight vehicles and £100 billion of UK/European trade.
  • The port supports 22,000 jobs, many of which are in the local community.
  • It has a shared vision to protect and enhance short and long term port capacity for the nation while delivering the catalyst for the regeneration of Dover.
  • The Port of Dover and Channel Tunnel are the gateway to Europe from the UK; in 2014 almost 2.4 million cars and over 2.4 million freight vehicles passed through the Port of Dover and almost 2.6 million cars and over 1.4 million freight vehicles passed through the Channel Tunnel, giving a combined total of almost 4 million freight vehicles making this journey per annum. 

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