The French port city is the most important gateway for continental Europe to Great Britain. The head of the port of Calais reassures and ensures that it is fully prepared for Brexit without agreement. The head of Rotterdam port is less optimistic about the future.
The route between Calais and Dover is covered annually by 2 million trucks and 40 million tonnes of goods. This transport can be disrupted by the increasingly likely hard Brexit. The United Kingdom will then become a third country and an external border of the European Union will be created in the port of Calais. This means that every container and every truck from and to the UK will have to have customs documents and will be subject to clearance. This, in turn, can cause huge queues and bottlenecks in supplies.
Head of Calais port gives reassurance
“We have been preparing for the hard Brexit for a year now and we are ready,” says Jean-Marc Puissesseau, head of the port, for the German press agency dpa.
Everything in the port is clearly marked: a new parking lot for waiting trucks, a control area for animals.
Puissesseau reassures that there will be no problems. He adds that if carriers fill in customs documents beforehand, drivers will not have to wait in long queues. According to the plan, truckers going to the UK will be asked if they have the right documents.
“If they answer ‘yes’, we will stop there. There will then be no more controls than at present. At the most, random checks,” promises the head of the port.
A new parking lot for 200 vehicles has been created for trucks without paperwork. There, drivers will be able to complete the documents.
Rotterdam ready for Brexit?
If, despite the assurances of the head of the French port, there are long queues in Calais, the companies will have to decide whether it is worth wasting time in France or whether it would be more advantageous to cross to the Isles e.g. from Rotterdam.
The port there has also been preparing for months in case the UK leaves the EU without an agreement. Employees distribute information leaflets in eight languages to truck drivers every day. However, despite an extensive information campaign, Mark Dijk, spokesman for the port of Rotterdam, does not rule out the possibility that hard Brexit will cause chaos.
“We are afraid that we did not reach all businesses,” he says.
In Rotterdam, all exporters have to register their cargo in the automatic Portbase system. Truck drivers who have not been authorised online will not be allowed in. According to the port’s estimates, every day around 400 trucks will be returned at the terminal – reads the transport portal verkehrsrundschau.de.
Buffer parking lots
The port of Rotterdam together with the Rijkswaterstaat and the municipalities of Rotterdam and Vlaardingen have created temporary parking spaces for trucks. These will be located in the port of Rotterdam, near ferry terminals, on both the southern and northern shore.
There will be a total of five parking spaces for a total of 700 trucks. Drivers will be able to spend 24 hours there, during which time they will be able to complete the documents required at the border.
Here are the locations of parking lots:
Practical information on border formalities and procedures can be found in the guide prepared by the British Government for a meeting at the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Brexit.