Calais port boss: UK plan to create new Brexit trade routes disrespectful

A no-deal Brexit will have no impact on the flow of truck traffic through Calais port, the terminals boss, Jean-Marc Puissesseau, insisted on Wednesday while lashing out at British plans to create alternative ferry routes.

At present, some 10,000 trucks pass over the Channel on a daily basis between Dover and Calais at peak times. But the lack of space for customs and regulatory checks on the British side means the U.K.s Department for Transport is funding alternative routes — like a Ramsgate to Ostend link — threatening to drain traffic from Dover-Calais.

Puissesseau insisted on the BBCs Today program that his port will not restrict transit under a no-deal scenario. “There will not be any delay,” he said. “The trucks will be passing as they are doing today.” Puissesseau said preparations include an information campaign for hauliers and creating special checkpoints onsite.

But Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington later told the Today program that Calais does not have infrastructure in place to carry out all the necessary checks in the event of a no-deal exit.

“European law says all food exports and livestock exports from a third country to the EU have to be inspected 100 percent [and] checked at a designated border inspection post,” said Lidington.

Puissesseau said he is “very angry” that Seaborne Freight has been awarded a contract by the British government for ferry services even though it does not own any ships.

“Im very shocked, I consider it disrespectful for Calais and Dover,” said Puissesseau.

He said the only benefit could be that migrants camped at Calais hoping for transit into the U.K. could move to Ostend as that port site is less protected.

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