Published: 00:01, 30 October 2018
| Updated: 18:55, 30 October 2018
The government was today be urged to make use of Sheerness port in the event of a 'no-deal' Brexit and ease the pressure on Dover.
Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson used a debate in Westminster to press for the port to be incorporated into the government's contingency plans as well as using it in the longer term.
Speaking ahead of the debate, he said it made sense to use Sheerness dock, which is owned and operated by Peel Ports group.
“We have become fixated with where we are going to park lorries.
"I believe there is a better solution and that is to use other ports like Sheerness and use them to get the lorries in and out of other ports.
"All the time we are fixated with Dover, we are going to have a problem whether or not we get a [Brexit] deal because even when Dover is operating normally and at the best of times there is going to be a problem.
"I’d like to see a route from Rotterdam to Sheerness, stopping it going through France to Calais.
"The great thing about Sheerness is that it has the deepest water outside Rotterdam.”
He acknowledged that there would have to be investment in the road network but “it wouldn’t cost as much as they are proposing to spend on the M26.”
The MP was supported by the Green county councillor Cllr Martin Whybrow: “There is a problem because so much freight comes through this corner of the country.
"Of the 10,000 lorries a day, two thirds are destined for places north of the Midlands.
"It does seem ridiculous to have lorries on ships for such a short period of time and would love to see us use other ports."
The Port of Dover recently contended that it was the only real option for dealing with a ‘no deal’ scenario.
Tim Reardon, head of EU exit at the Port of Dover, said: “Trying to divert the traffic through other ports is a non-starter.
"The port capacity isn’t there, and a whole new fleet of ferries would be needed which simply doesn’t exist.”
“Successful future trade with Europe must be about delivering a realistic solution.
"That means a free-flowing Dover, whose speed, efficiency and capacity cannot be replicated without adding significant cost to the supply chain.”