Department for Transport warns of Dover chaos in event of no-deal Brexit

Published on: 3rd September 2019

Vehicles could face a two-day delay at the port and haulage companies may cancel deliveries due to anticipated waiting times.

According to government documents seen by Sky News, the haulage industry is bracing itself for lengthy delays at Dover. The analysis, commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) suggests that, from day one of a no-deal Brexit, the worst case scenario would be a two-day delay for freight and vehicles at Dover and an average wait of one-and-a-half days, which could amount to a pile-up of up to 8,000 vehicles.

In the best-case scenario, with businesses as prepared as they possibly could be, the report suggests that vehicles will be waiting for two to three hours, with 50% of vehicles waiting for at least eight. The DfT expects that many haulage companies, faced with lengthy new processing periods, may cancel delivery schedules, leading to shortages of goods.

Dover handles up to £122b of trade annually, with trucks currently processed in two minutes.

The haulage industry has been relaying its concerns to government for some time. Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association, told Sky News: “The sort of delays that Sky News is reporting at the moment would be crippling to many sections of British industry and the supply chain on which we all depend. We must keep any delay to an absolute minimum to try and keep Dover, Calais and all the other ports working as efficiently as possible to ensure our economic future.”

Kevin Green, communications director of the Freight Transport Association, added: “A lot of these issues are caught up in the (Brexit) negotiations and probably won’t get agreed until very close to the deadline and then there clearly won’t be any time to respond, and delays and impacts will be very worst of the estimates.”

Previously, ministers have sought to dismiss concerns over leaked preparations for no-deal, as they were written under the May government. However, the latest report was compiled more recently and is based on current government policy.


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