Freight News, Road

How did we ever manage without the Tunnel?

[ November 14, 2016   //   ]

The Channel Tunnel has fundamentally changed the way the UK does business, and accounts for a massive slice of the entire UK’s exports and imports, says a new report by consultants Ernst & Young.

In 1994, the Tunnel handled trade worth £91.4bn, or a quarter of all UK trade in goods with the European Union, according to the document, Economic footprint of the Channel Tunnel fixed link. It found that 30% of UK exports (£43.6bn) to the EU and 22% of imports (£47.8bn) from the EU depended on the speed ease and reliability of the fixed link. Exports through the Tunnel alone supported 220,000 jobs in the UK.

The Channel Tunnel has fundamentally changed the way the UK does business, says EY, enabling integrated manufacturing across the continent and opening up new markets. Manufacturers operating on a ‘Just-in-Time’ basis such as car makers, express delivery logistics companies and the fresh food producers are all heavily dependent on it.

According to the report, anecdotal evidence suggests that car companies importing components from Belgium and Germany allow only a 15-minute margin for delays in transport.

Groupe Eurotunnel chief executive, Jacques Gounon points out that the Tunnel’s benefits spread far beyond the south-east corner of England. “One of the most striking aspects of this report by Ernst and Young is the geographical range of companies who rely on the Tunnel to do business. The Tunnel not only serves companies in London and the South East but right the way through the Midlands, the North of England and beyond.”

(More detail in France and Channel Ports feature in the next printed edition of FBJ – FBJ 8 2016 – to be published in late November).