- Title: Brexit disruption may return with summer tourists, Dover chief says
- Date: 9th July 2021
- Summary: DOVER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (JULY 8, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FREIGHT VEHICLES ENTERING DOVER PORT BRITISH FLAG FREIGHT VEHICLES AT PORT SEAGULLS PERCHED ON FENCE VEHICLES ENTERING PORT / CEO OF THE PORT OF DOVER, DOUG BANNISTER, SPEAKING TO REPORTER BANNISTER SPEAKING TO REPORTER PORT OF DOVER LOGO ON BANNISTER'S JACKET (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF THE PORT OF DOVER, DOUG BANNISTER, SAYING: "The Port of Dover is critical for the trade that the UK conducts with the European Union. We handle 122 billion pounds ($168 billion) worth of trade every year, and that is significant. Now, if that starts to curtail, then that's going to be felt throughout all regions of the United Kingdom. About half of our freight is destined north of London, and so it is literally all corners of the country." VARIOUS OF VESSELS AND VEHICLES AT THE PORT OF DOVER (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF THE PORT OF DOVER, DOUG BANNISTER, SAYING: "Now, we've been processing very well since the end of the transition period, primarily though, however, that's because we haven't seen the demand for tourists coming through our facilities, as we would normally expect to see." VARIOUS OF PORT WORKERS INSPECTING VEHICLE PORT OF DOVER (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF THE PORT OF DOVER, DOUG BANNISTER, SAYING: "The busy periods that we have for tourists is around the school holidays and the summer break and the Christmas period and it's at those points in time when the pressure on the total system increases. Now, before we left the European Union, then we would have a much we'd have a better ability to have a smooth process going through the port. However, with the incremental passport checks that need to take place now, it will slow things down." VARIOUS OF DOCK AND VESSEL AT SEA PORT OF DOVER (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF THE PORT OF DOVER, DOUG BANNISTER, SAYING: "We've been working very hard with local authorities and with government, understanding what the return of tourists is going to look like. And we've been modelling and we've been planning and we've got contingencies but, if the return of tourists happens rapidly and to scale, we will have challenges in processing." DOCK AND VESSEL AT SEA VESSEL MOVING FREIGHT VEHICLES ON MOVING VESSEL VESSEL DOCKING (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF THE PORT OF DOVER, DOUG BANNISTER, SAYING: "The outbound controls project is a major infrastructure development here in the port and it's one that takes place while we have to keep the port open and operational so that the goods can continue to flow into the country. And it's really important that we address this outbound controls project in a logical way and deliver in a pragmatic way. But it is still going to be a multi-year project for us to deliver. Getting the funding from the government will allow us to make some necessary critical steps forward at this time." VARIOUS OF FREIGHT VEHICLES ON MOVING VESSEL (SOUNDBITE) (English) CEO OF THE PORT OF DOVER, DOUG BANNISTER, SAYING: "From our standpoint, it is very logical for the government to be funding this project. It is down to our juxtaposed controls which are governed by an international treaty called the Treaty of Le Touquet, and it has to do with the post-Brexit immigration arrangements. And it seems very logical to us that this should be a project that government would wish to invest in." VARIOUS OF PORT OF DOVER
- Embargoed: 23rd July 2021 07:29
- Keywords: Britain CEO Chief Executive Doug Bannister Dover EU European Union France UK border customs ferry port shipping trade
- Location: DOVER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: DOVER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Europe,Government/Politics,International Trade
- Reuters ID: LVA001EL4CKSN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Britain's biggest port, Dover, fears there could be lengthy post-Brexit queues and slower trade when European-bound holidaymakers return, its boss told Reuters on Thursday (July 8).
The CEO of the Port of Dover, Doug Bannister, also stressed the British government must fund redevelopment to prevent long-term damage.
Britain's transition out of the European Union was helped by a lack of tourists driving to France because of the pandemic which enabled port staff to process the additional paperwork for trucks now required to access Europe and keep goods moving.
But the government dropped a travel quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated Britons on Thursday (July 8), potentially opening up holiday routes and increasing the number of vehicles that could descend on the south-west port in the summer months.
Bannister told Reuters the site had managed the switch to full customs checks relatively well so far after Britain left the trade bloc at the end of 2020.
But that's because the strain caused by transiting tourists has not yet been felt by the port's facilities, Bannister said.
In 2019, some 2.4 million trucks used the Dover port, along with 2 million tourist cars and 74,000 coaches.
Dover has modelled the impact of a return of passenger cars to the port and Bannister warned there would be challenges if it happened quickly.
British industry had warned, in the run-up to Brexit, that the UK's supply chains could be strained to breaking point when it left the EU, with even the government saying some 7,000 trucks could back up from Dover if they failed to fill out paperwork correctly.
Instead, a December rush to stockpile goods in the country meant trade dropped off in January and enabled manufacturers and logistics groups to adapt to the new demands.
Dover, just 21 miles (34 kilometres) across the Channel from the French coast, had applied to the British government for 33 million pounds ($45 million) in funding to adapt the port for the additional checks it needs to make, an application that was rejected.
Now it is asking again.
It says it needs to increase passport checking capacity to reroute some traffic and make it easier for trucks with the wrong paperwork to leave a site that is sandwiched between the white cliffs of Dover and the sea.
Dover is also unclear on what changes it would need to make, if any, before the introduction of a new EU security plan, the Entry/Exit System, that collects data on the movement of people.
Bannister said it was only logical that the government should fund the redevelopment because increased customs checks formed part of the Brexit deal it had chosen.
(Production: Gerhard Mey, Ben Dangerfield)
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