Freight News, Sea, Road, Business

Brittany gets ready for Brexit

[ September 13, 2019   //   ]

Brittany Ferries said on 13 September that it had carried out a rigorous series of ‘dry runs’ to prepare for the possible consequences of a no-deal Brexit on both sides of the Channel. The first rehearsal took place on 11 September as lorries in Portsmouth embarked on the overnight sailing to Caen, and continued the following morning as vehicles disembarked in France in the presence of the French Minister of Public Action and Accounts, Gérard Darmanin.

As part of the dry runs, information about freight vehicles boarding Brittany Ferries’ vessels in the UK were sent electronically to French customs officers, who divided vehicles into a green channel for those with advance clearance, and orange for those requiring inspection upon arrival in France. Drivers were informed of their vehicle’s status by onboard information screens.

On arrival in France, lorries in the green channel can bypass customs controls as they exit the port. Meanwhile those designated ‘orange’ must proceed to a dedicated customs facility for inspection and paperwork checks.

Altogether 15 rehearsals are planned between now and mid-October in Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Le Havre, Caen, Cherbourg, St Malo and Roscoff. The first trial involved around 100 freight vehicles travelling from the UK to France carrying a wide variety of goods.

Patrice Narozny, director of port operations France said: “Over the last 12 months Brittany Ferries has been actively preparing to deal with a no-deal Brexit. We’ve adapted our IT systems, allowing seamless communication with customs offices ashore. We’ve also implemented a system allowing us to communicate vital information to lorry drivers via text message and onboard live information screens.

“These dress rehearsals will allow us to test these new tools and procedures, and also the co-ordination between all the different players. Our freight customers, holidaymakers travelling with pets, customs offices, port authorities, and our own operations departments all need to be perfectly co-ordinated to ensure smooth and efficient loading and unloading in our ports.”