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Eurotunnel suffers fall in freight traffic as businesses stop stockpiling for Brexit

By Eleanor Perkins

Eurotunnel reported its largest ever fall in freight traffic as businesses stopped stockpiling goods ahead of the original date for Brexit.

The Channel Tunnel operator suffered a 12% fall in the amount of goods carried between Britain and Europe in April compared with the same time a year ago.

Manufacturers have reported huge growth over the last year as businesses filled their warehouses with materials in case there were any problems with goods moving between the UK and EU after the scheduled date for Brexit on March 29.

The Eurotunnel freight shuttle service
The Eurotunnel freight shuttle service

Eurotunnel had benefitted with a boost to its freight traffic carrying more than 135,000 trucks in April last year.

Yet this fell to below 120,000 last month.

The company reported there had been a reduction of stock levels for non-perishable goods in April.

At the same time, several car plants brought forward their annual shutdowns, normally held in August, to April.

This “unique seasonality” was also compounded by the impact of striking French customs officers.

Eurotunnel predicted traffic reductions in April. Picture: Gary Browne
Eurotunnel predicted traffic reductions in April. Picture: Gary Browne

Despite this, Eurotunnel’s freight shuttles have carried nearly 560,000 trucks since the start of 2019, a new record for the first four months of the year.

Last month, the company's passenger shuttles saw a 3% increase in traffic compared to the same month last year, carrying 227,393 vehicles, buoyed by a favourable calendar effect which saw the Easter weekend fall in April compared to March last year.

Since the turn of the year, almost 717,000 passenger vehicles have crossed the Channel using the shuttle.

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