A contingency option using uncongested ports
With uncertainty around the impact of Brexit on ports, businesses need to find new ways of keeping their supply chains moving in and out of the UK.
Trade with the continent is likely to be gridlocked when the UK leaves the customs union without a fundamental rethink of cross-channel roll-on roll-off (RORO) services.
Peel Ports is asking cargo owners, hauliers and others to consider two potential solutions to imminent congestion at Dover, learning lessons from a model used when moving Irish Sea freight and using capacity at ports across the country.
Currently, more than 75% of all RORO freight from ports on the near continent passes through the Dover Straits. The market is around 4 million units, of which 99% is transported by conventional means of a lorry driver with a cab and trailer.
This is in contrast to Irish Sea freight, where more than 50% of the cargo is only the trailers. In this model, goods are held as contingency stock at the port of entry, with trailers not leaving the port until up to 48 hours after their arrival in some circumstances. Such an approach would provide more time for border checks to take place without the pressure of them needing to be completed during a short sea crossing or at a congested border point.
To ease congestion, cargo could be distributed across different ports.
The UK has around 30 major ports, the majority of which handle RORO cargo. Although not all will have the docking facilities and land required at the moment, many could increase capacity to accommodate goods diverted away from delays at Dover. Peel Ports operates four ports with RORO capabilities in London Medway (Kent), Liverpool, Clydeport and Heysham (Lancashire).
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