Port Responds to Fears of 7,000 Trucks Delayed at Dover

29 September 2020

“Intensive, Team-UK Approach Needed to Avoid Brexit Blockages”

Port Responds to Fears of 7,000 Trucks Delayed at Dover

 Peel Ports, the major UK port and terminals operator, has said its Port of Liverpool facility is ideally placed to contribute to the “Team UK Approach” needed to overcome major Brexit delays at Dover, following a stark warning from cabinet minister Michael Gove.

In his letter to haulage associations, Mr Gove warned that 7,000 trucks could be queuing for up to two days in Kent due to delays caused by Brexit, impacting ‘category one’ goods such as food, medicine and hospital equipment.  

Peel Ports Group Commercial Director Stephen Carr said: “We have long argued the UK is too reliant on a few key pinch points in the South-East and today’s announcements demonstrates the risks to UK businesses of this strategy.

“We have been preparing rigorously for many months and have invested heavily at our Liverpool, Heysham and Sheerness ports to ensure they have the capacity to accommodate cargo switch routes and modes.

All three ports have already taken steps to improve resilience ahead of Brexit, with increased throughput capacity for HGV trailers, containers and storage to support smooth operations by RORO ferries and other shipping services.”

The Dover Straits now accounts for roughly three-quarters of all RORO trade with the continent – whereas prior to the signing of the Maastricht treaty it was less than half – despite the fact much of the UK’s warehousing is situated in the Midlands and North of Britain.

The Port of Liverpool has seen in recent weeks new ferry routes commence with Spain and Portugal with CLdN in addition to more capacity being added to existing services.  

Stephen Carr added: “Potential delays and hold-ups post-Brexit underline the advantage of using ports closest to the origin or destination of goods.

“Every minute that goods are delayed waiting for border checks incurs greater costs to businesses and stops the flow of vital goods such as food and medicines – an issue which has been brought sharply into focus by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Port of Liverpool is uniquely positioned to offer this proximity to market, which allows goods to reach their end destination more reliably and with less reliance on increasingly scarce truck drivers. This is a need which has never been more critical considering the changes in demand patterns we’ve seen this year, with added pressure of anticipated queues at Dover and long onward journeys from the South to the North of the country.

“A port’s proximity to markets has other indirect benefits, not only acting as a strategic gateway, but as a facilitator of supply chain activity and as a catalyst for reducing carbon emissions of a journey.

“Whether it’s full processing, product finalisation or implementation of storage solutions, being close-by means a port can fulfil a wide range of logistics activities, as well as minimises the risk of disruption as a result of transport congestion. It additionally offers environmental benefits given shipping’s relatively low carbon emissions when measured on a per tonne KM basis.

“All businesses will be impacted by the changes Brexit will bring, but the preparations undertaken by UK’s ports industry will relieve pressure on traditional routes, increase capacity and introduce new trade routes.

“The Port of Liverpool is an obvious, sustainable port of choice for those looking to avoid costly delays and future proof their supply chains.”