Feature, Freight News, Road, Sea

Brexit? We’re ready says DFDS freight boss

[ October 28, 2019   //   ]

Post-Brexit systems for Dover, Calais and Dunkerque have been tested successfully by cross-Channel ferry operator DFDS, says freight director, Wayne Bullen, who is confident it can meet the challenge of any UK exit from the EU. It follows a full-scale Brexit exercise using real trucks and full ships and was monitored by several trade associations, including the Freight Transport Association.

On checking in at Dover, all trucks received simulated customs documents, which were scanned by DFDS staff and paired with the booking, allowing the vehicles to proceed. Arrangements in Calais and Dunkerque processed smoothly as well.

Bullen said: “Nobody knows the outcome, but I do know that ourselves, the ports we use – Dover, Dunkerque and Calais – the relevant authorities, customs and governments have all worked hard to ensure fluidity and avoid a mass of trucks stuck together in one place.”

He added that large road freight operators have teams working on the issue, but there are still many smaller companies who have not had the opportunity to prepare, and this could cause disruption of the traffic flow during the first weeks after Brexit.

“That is a worry and can’t be allowed to stand, so DFDS has played its part in communicating what freight customers must do.

Bullen added: “It is a strict requirement that anyone moving goods in and out of the UK has an MRN – Movement Reference Number – for each item exported or imported. That requirement falls to our customer or their agent.

“The MRN is then logged on the freight movement system; without one, nothing will move or indeed be permitted to enter the ports for shipment. It must be stressed that trucks should not approach the ports but seek a secure holding area until they have a viable MRN.

“But there should not be delay if customers have the right documentation. If they go to our trade customers’ website at they will find a helpful check for exactly what they need. There is also a list of Qs and As they can download and print off for assistance.

“In addition, we have staged webinars that customers can watch and then dial access to experts and advice.”