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Brexit: "Uncertainty is continuing, but we are prepared" says Port of Dover

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The Port of Dover says it is ready to handle "whatever comes its way" as uncertainly over Brexit continues - but lorries firms must be told what documentation they need.

New chief executive Doug Bannister is reassuring the nation that its operations will not cease in the wake Britain's departure from the EU.

In a new statement, he says that dealing with disruption like Operation Stack has enabled it to be more prepared than any other EU-facing gateway.

The Port of Dover says it is "prepared" for Brexit
The Port of Dover says it is "prepared" for Brexit

However, it is still relying on the government to inform the logistics community what documentation will be required for when lorries arrive at ports.

He said: “Throughout the Brexit debate, what people have been desiring is certainty.

"Uncertainty is continuing, but we are prepared.

"We will continue to manage our infrastructure professionally and our team stands ready to handle whatever comes our way.

"We look forward to welcoming customers on March 29, March 30 and far into the future.”

Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister. Picture: Port of Dover
Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister. Picture: Port of Dover

The Port works with two ferry operators, P&O Ferries and DFDS, with a fleet of 12 ships capable of handling up to 10,000 lorries a day – a 180km trade expressway.

It can handle up to 120 ferry movements a day, where each ferry is berthed, unloaded, re-loaded and heading back to France in as little as 45-50 minutes on the shortest sea crossing.

Its understood that operations could be slowed down by external factors such as border controls.

The statement says: "What makes Dover different is that it has the experience of how to deal with major disruption and find a way through – nowhere else has this experience.

"That is why within a few days of the last significant incident of Operation Stack in the infamous summer of 2015, Dover was once again handling record volumes.

"During the course of any year, the Port of Dover manages smaller disruptions through our continuing professional approach. Dover has stood the test of time."

Dealing with disruption like Operation Stack has helped the port prepare for Brexit
Dealing with disruption like Operation Stack has helped the port prepare for Brexit

The port has been working closely with its Border Delivery Group, a cross-Government group coordinating Brexit planning across Whitehall and with a firm remit to keep traffic flowing across the Channel.

Bosses say it is now essential that the UK Government and its agencies as well as the European Union and its member states expedite the provision of necessary information to the logistics community in order that it has what it needs to plan for and prepare the required documentation in advance of lorries arriving at ports.

Kasper Moos, managing director of DFDS in Dover, said: “We have been preparing for a wide range of scenarios for some time along with the port and our partners.

"We have adapted our IT systems and are building customs expertise so we can offer customs and other services to our customers to help mitigate any effect.

"We are now intensifying work to ensure those customers are preparing for any new border processes in order to protect their business and keep people and goods flowing through this vital trade route.”

David Stretch, P&O Ferries’ managing director - Short Routes, said: “As long as there are goods and people travelling between the UK and Europe, P&O Ferries will continue to provide a comprehensive ferry and logistics service to and from the continent.

"We have been working with the authorities on detailed preparations to support our operation at Dover which, along with our ports on the east coast of England, will continue to give customers a range of options for connecting with Europe under every scenario."

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