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Port of Dover and Calais sign agreement to ensure both invest creating a freight corridor for Europe in memorandum of understanding

14 April 2014
by Chris Price

A new vision for links between two ports in Kent and France has been agreed to cope with rising traffic and ship sizes.

With freight traffic between Dover and Calais expected to rise by 40% by 2030, bosses at the two ports have signed a broad agreement on future investment.

Dubbed the Bridge Project, it outlines plans to create a freight corridor combining road, rail and maritime transport, linking the UK with northern France, Benelux and north east Spain.

Dover Docks

Dover Docks

At an event in the Chambre de Commerce et d’industrie Côte d’Opale in Calais, the Port of Dover presented its plans to move its cargo operations from the Eastern Docks to the a new development at the Western Docks.

Meanwhile, Calais sets out plans to increase capacity through the development of a new harbour, a new cross-Channel terminal with a further three cross-Channel berths and one roll-on roll-off berth, plus 80 hectares of new platforms – called Calais Port 2015.

“This project recognises that by collaborating we can complement each other and enhance the resilience of this international trade route..." - Port of Dover's Tim Waggott

This also includes development of a rail motorway terminal linking the port in Nord-Pas de Calais with Perpignan in the south of France.

Port of Dover chief executive Tim Waggott said: “This project recognises that by collaborating we can complement each other and enhance the resilience of this international trade route.

“We connect the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland with the continental mainland, so it is essential that Dover works closely with our opposite numbers in Calais.

“By developing efficient port facilities and transport connections on both sides of the Channel we will be perfectly placed to meet the needs of our customers, communities and strengthen the local economies.”

Dover Harbour Board sign the memorandum of understanding with the Port of Calais. From left, finance director Shaun Pottage, chief executive Tim Waggott and chairman George Jenkins

Dover Harbour Board sign the memorandum of understanding with the Port of Calais. From left, finance director Shaun Pottage, chief executive Tim Waggott and chairman George Jenkins

The new joint vision was set out in a memorandum of understanding on Friday, signed by Nord-Pas-de-Calais Regional Council, the owners of the Port of Calais, port managers the Côte d’Opale Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Dover Harbour Board.

The Port of Dover is the busiest roll–on roll–off ferry terminal in Europe, handling 2.2m freight vehicles, of which 80% travel to Calais.

It also welcomes 13m passengers every year.

At present, three berths are being enhanced with two piers recently extended. Another three major berths will be refurbished by 2015.

Last week Shipping and Ports Minister Stephen Hammond set out plans for Dover to continue as a Trust Port, putting people from the town at the heart of decision making.

He has also agreed that Dover Harbour Board should be granted greater financial powers and flexibility by allowing it to enter joint ventures and borrow against its assets.

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