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Is Europe’s busiest seaport ‘Brexit ready?’

Thursday, 17 October 2019 | 12:00

The white cliffs of Dover overlook Europe’s busiest shipping port.

But this place, the Port of Dover in England, hasn’t been fully assured by the the country on the other side of the English Channel, France, that it isn’t going to run into a big customs problem after Brexit happens.

That’s according to Dover’s chief executive, Doug Bannister, who says they’re still waiting on the same guarantees they’ve had from UK authorities.

“Government (in the UK) has been very clear and very firm that there will be no incremental checks at the border so traffic will continue to flow. We have not had the same level of assurances from the French authorities.”

Because of that, he says there are uncertainties what new declarations freight operators will have to prepare for, and whether France will keep goods moving.

Dover has been a crucial gateway for trade between Britain and the rest of Europe since ancient Roman times, now handling $149 billion worth of goods every year.

As such, it’s been a focal point of the Brexit debate.

Regardless, Bannister says the port will weather any Brexit storm.

“Look the Port of Dover is fully ready for Brexit. We’ve also been in contact with our sister ports in Calais and Dunkirk, they’re ready, our ferry operators are ready. Now what we are saying by being fully ready is: we’re not guaranteeing that there’s going to be no disruption or no congestion because clearly under a no-deal Brexit there would be, but what we are saying is that we’re ready to handle that.”

EU leaders have already signaled they do not believe a deal will be reached by the time they meet with the UK Prime Minister at a Brussels summit later this week.
Source: Reuters

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