Freight News, Road, Sea

Dunkerque makes space for Brexit backlogs

[ January 16, 2018   //   ]

Brexit remains a big unknown but the port of Dunkerque is preparing for all possible outcomes, including creating enough holding area for two vessels-worth of vehicles, said chairman of the management board, Stéphane Raison.

He told a press conference on 15 January that Brexit “is very concerning because we don’t know that will happen….Nevertheless, we are starting work so that we can accommodate more vehicles so that if extra checks are imposed we will be in a position to store them in secure parking areas.”

His colleague, supervisory board president François Soulet de Brugière pointed out though that even after Brexit, checks on vehicles between the UK and France would probably be minimal. “We will only have to check the transit documents, which can be done through the ship’s manifest.” He predicted that the number of trucks that would actually need to stop at the border would be “very, very low”.

One possible issue could be juxtaposed checks, whereby French customs officials operated on the UK side of the water, or vice versa, he added. “If British customs want to carry out checks in France, the UK would have to pay for this,” he said.

He added however that the French director of customs had so far refused to discuss the issue of Brexit with the port.

De de Brugière also told the conference that while the port of Dunkerque was keen to develop its unaccompanied freight traffic with the UK, and had held talks with ship operators to this end, it was inhibited by a lack of berth capacity in northern UK ports. He also hoped that Dunkerque could emulate the port of Calais in becoming a terminal for the French Railways’ ‘rolling motorway’ service from the Spanish-French border.

During 2018, the port plans to complete extension work on its Flanders Quay container terminal, and continue development of its South Logistics park.

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