LONDON (Reuters) – The British government will spend more than 100 million pounds chartering extra sea ferries to ease cross-Channel congestion if the United Kingdom fails to secure a trade deal before leaving the European Union next year.
FILE PHOTO – A cargo lorry arrives at the Port of Dover in Britain January 9, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
Just three months before the United Kingdom is due to leave the world’s largest bloc, the risk of a no-deal Brexit is rising — the nightmare scenario for many businesses, which are now planning for an economic shock.
Extra ships will be needed to work new routes across the Channel in the event that the main French terminal of Calais and Britain’s Dover and Folkestone are clogged up by customs checks.
Currently, Britain’s membership of the EU means that trucks drive smoothly through border checks within the bloc. But in a no-deal Brexit, even a few minutes’ delay at customs for each truck would be likely to mean vehicles backing up at ports and queuing on feeder roads on both sides of the Channel.
To ease a potential backlog, the government has awarded three contracts to provide additional freight capacity on routes from English south-coast ports including Poole, P