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Dover Port officials speak about the impact of Brexit

Dover port chiefs have underlined the importance of keeping traffic moving after Brexit, saying it is vital if the UK's economy is to continue to grow.

Chief executive Doug Bannister is due to tell a Conservative party fringe meeting today it is vital smooth operations are maintained if factories are to stay busy, shops full, and prices kept low for British consumers.

Dover Eastern Docks. The port authority says the Brexit delays gives it more time to prepare (18124587)
Dover Eastern Docks. The port authority says the Brexit delays gives it more time to prepare (18124587)

The port was one of two in Kent to learn last week that it is to get a share of another round of government funding to help prepare for Brexit.

Mr Bannister said: "Dover is a fast-pace operation unlike anywhere else and has been dubbed Britain’s just-in-time trade conveyor belt; but it is Ireland’s too with around 40% of Irish exports to the EU travelling via Dover.

"Business as usual means Dover as usual and that is what we have been working on."

However, he said the port was one link in the chain and governments had a responsibility to ensure borders operate efficiently.

The port has been under the spotlight in the run-up to the Brexit deadline on October 31.

There have been predictions that HGVs could face 48-hour delays with customs clearance checks taking longer once Brexit takes effect.

Doug Bannister
Doug Bannister

Documents released by the government under Operation Yellowhammer, its contingency preparations, have suggested that in some scenarios, lorries could be delayed by up to two and a half days.

Lack of readiness and limited space in French ports could cut HGV traffic by 40-60% and lead to disruption lasting three months

The Port handles 17% of the UK’s trade in goods on the shortest sea crossing between the UK and the EU.

Some 120 ferry movements take place daily with a fleet of 12 ferries carrying up to 110 miles of lorries between them - more than all other UK ports combined.

Mr Bannister added: "Alongside ongoing major investment in our operational capacity, we've prepared for Brexit, working hard to ensure our assets are ready, critical spare parts stocked and the right level of resources are in place."

How is Brexit going to affect Kent? For all the latest news, views and analysis visit our dedicated page here

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