Freight News, Road, Sea

Brexit worries eat into Dunkerque ro ro business

[ January 11, 2019   //   ]

Brexit has taken its toll on Dunkerque’s ro ro traffic in what was otherwise a good year for the northern French port, said chief executive Stephane Raison. At a press conference in Lille on 10 January to present the port’s results for 2018, he said that ro ro traffic had declined 4% in 2018 to 15.6m tonnes, compared with 2018, adding: “The UK ecoonomy is not so good, we are seeing consolidation on the Dover Straits” and there was continued uncertainty over Brexit.
In contrast, containers were up 7% and general cargo increased by 32%. Many of Dunkerque’s bulk traffics such as liquefied natural gas had also enjoyed record years, helping the port to put the financial crisis well behind it.
Dunkerque had also been very successful in developing its inland links, with containers now standing at 422,000teu, up by over 18% compared with 2013.
Meanwhile, the port was working with state authorities to try and ensure that Brexit was as frictionless as possible, whatever form it took on 28 March. Dunkerque, with its ample land area, would be in a good position to help the UK if the port of Dover threatened to be overwhelmed by queues, post-Brexit. Dunkerque also had facilities like a Border Inspection Post to carry out checks on foodstuffs on cargo headed to the UK, should that be necessary.
In answer to a question Raison agreed that new short-sea services from Dunkerque to other UK ports such as Grangemouth and Teesport could help take the strain off a hard-pressed Dover but warned that in themselves “they are not going to be able to replace 4.2 million trailers” that currently used the Dover/Calais route.