Port of Dover officials have said that it is the only way in which freight traffic can be kept moving after Brexit. Plans to use other ports are a non-starter. Port bosses insisted Dover could ensure frictionless trade next March and the costs of using other ports would be prohibitive.
The cost of trying to divert traffic to other UK ports has been calculated to be around £2.5 billion. Tim Reardon, Head of EU Exit, Port of Dover, said: “It is clearly good news that the Government recognises the need to keep traffic flowing through Dover, not just for the port but for everyone who relies on the goods in the lorries. 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.”
There have been suggestions that other ports including Sheerness and Ramsgate could be used to solve some of the pressures that Brexit could bring next year. But that was dismissed by Mr Reardon: “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.”
The port said it was central to the government's contingency plans to deal with the challenges in the event of there being a “no deal” Brexit.