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Brexit? It’s all a ‘bit fuzzy’ but trucks will continue to roll, say Dunkerque Port bosses

It seems the French, especially the media, have little to no interest in Brexit. While in Lille for the Dunkerque Port annual press conference yesterday, the only TV mention seemed to be a very short chat with a low grade Border official who, when asked about the UK leaving the European Union, replied: "Who cares?"

The impending departure does, however, concern the Dunkerque Port bosses who gave an honest appraisal of what life could be like after Brexit.

Stephane Raison and François Soulet de Brugière of Dunkerque Port
François Soulet de Brugière, left, and Stéphane Raison addressing the European media in Lille

“Traffic needs to be frictionless. We need to keep the traffic fluid,” said Stéphane Raison, chairman of the executive board. “French Customs are very positive. We do not want to have to stack trucks. We need to keep them moving freely to the UK.”

François Soulet de Brugière, chairman of the port’s board of trustees, also tried to damp down fears by adding: “Checks on trucks heading into Poland from Belarus are much more severe than those anticipated post-Brexit and it all goes very smoothly.” 

To this end, Dunkerque Port already has most of its ducks in a row. “We are getting prepared for Brexit in terms of Border checks, workforce etc,” Raison continued. As for the situation in the UK, he added: “It’s all a bit fuzzy.”

The press conference ended on a lighter note when a member of the UK press corps expressed the hope that entente cordiale between France and Britain would survive Brexit. Stéphane Raison smiled and replied: “Of course it will. We need to continue to nurture our relationship with the UK. It is vital for both our economies.”

As for the port’s performance in 2018, the statistics make impressive reading, with records handling oif general cargo, liquid and solid bulk and containers. There was, however, a fall in cross-Channel traffic. The number of trucks and trailers dropped 4% to 596,000 freight units while passenger vehicles were down 2% to 687,000. Passengers numbers also fell 2% to 2.62 million, although the port preferred to focus on the 5% rise from 2013.

Posted on 11th January 2019 at 04:50 pm in Ferry Operators | Ferry News |

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