Monday, September 2, 2019

The Undersea Route for Freight Between the UK and the EU Claims to be Brexit Ready

Channel Tunnel Carries Over 25 Percent of British European Trade
Shipping News Feature
UK – FRANCE – As confusion continues amongst the political elite in London and Brussels the Channel Tunnel authorities have been at pains to point out that, no matter the result of the shenanigans in Westminster and beyond, the pipeline which carries a quarter of the goods traded between the UK and Europe is Brexit ready.

Eurotunnel says that it has spent the past three years ensuring it can provide its customers with what it describes as ‘the fastest and simplest route across the Channel’ no matter the outcome on 31 October. For the 22 million passengers who use the Shuttle and Eurostar trains through the Tunnel, there will be no change to the immigration formalities post Brexit.

For the freight traffic there will of course be new regulations in the event of a no deal, with a system of pre-declaration in the customs systems on each side of the Channel before trucks arrive at the terminals in Folkestone and Coquelles. To be ready to continue to offer the 5,000 trucks which pass through the Tunnel every day a smooth passage, Eurotunnel says it has made some serious investment to ensure continuity of trade.

Two ‘Pit Stops’, one at each terminal have been created to confirm all the checks and controls are successfully undertaken by Eurotunnel prior to boarding. Eurotunnel says specially trained operators will check 20 trucks at a time in just a few short minutes.

Those vehicles which achieve ‘Green Route’ status from the Customs authorities will transit exactly as they do today. For trucks that the authorities want to check in more detail, a new Customs and Sanitary/Phytosanitary control zone has been built on the Coquelles terminal. Here nine inspection bays and 100 parking places are available for the French authorities to check goods coming from the UK, without disrupting through traffic. The will be a 240 space secure parking zone for trucks heading for the UK.

There will also be new ‘Eurotunnel Customs Support’ staff available to help truck drivers ensure their paperwork is in order for the new controls if required. One of the essential factors being drummed in to all parties is to ensure paperwork is fully completed before turning up at any of the Channel ports to avoid bottlenecks.

Two French and British government ministers, Gerald Darmanin and Michael Gove, visited the Eurotunnel HQ last week to see for themselves what is proposed and Eurotunnel has launched a social media campaign via the hashtag #BrexitandBeyond to illustrate the preparations with a series of clips and photos.