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Dover looks beyond Freeports plan

[ February 3, 2021   //   ]

The Port of Dover has proposed a new Short Straits to Smart Straits to Government which it says will harness and transform the benefits of the Channel gateways for the long-term economic prosperity of the nation in a post-EU, low-to-no-carbon future.

The port says that while fully supportive of the Government’s Freeports ambitions, “we have determined that the tightly defined geographic and site-based approach does not allow us to maximise the advantages of our particular role in fast-paced national supply chains and therefore have presented a parallel opportunity outside of, but complementary to, Freeports”.

Together with the Government, Dover says it will develop the world’s smartest border through ‘dynamic digital optimisation’, harnessing real-time and secure data acquisition, handling, interrogation and visibility that will help remove border frictions and create a world-leading virtual border solution for the Government’s 2025 UK Border Strategy that works not only for the Short Straits but nationwide.

It will also pursue its goal to pioneer the UK’s first zero emissions logistics corridors and demonstrate Britain as a world leader in developing green freight solutions ahead of COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference being hosted by the UK in November.

The development of high value economic clusters specialising in green mobility and smart freight solutions will also help drive necessary inward investment and employment more locally within East Kent.

Dover chief executive Doug Bannister, said: “The Chancellor’s Freeports vision has been the catalyst for creating such a wide body of shared interest and expertise in driving forward a transformational approach to the future of just-in-time logistics in the UK. Working with the Government, this initiative could benefit businesses large and small across the nation to help them operate more efficiently at a time when they are having to navigate through the economic impacts of the pandemic and adapt to a post-Brexit trading environment whilst also moving to a more sustainable future.”

John Keefe, director of public affairs at Channel Tunnel operator Getlink, said: “With its high volume, fast and frequent services, the Short Straits is the gateway for 90% of UK truck freight trade with Europe, worth around £250 billion per year. This innovative proposal, from a powerful coalition of innovators, transport operators and industry across the UK, sets out to develop zero carbon logistics corridors linking to key industrial hubs across the UK and harness the smart technology that will enable the UK to succeed in dynamic global supply chains.”

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