The Port of Dover is “100 per cent ready” for a clean, no-deal Brexit, according to Doug Bannister, the port’s Chief Executive Officer.
“The Port of Dover is 100 per cent ready. Ferry operators: 100 per cent ready. Calais, Dunkirk: 100 per cent ready,” said Mr Bannister in comments reported by Bloomberg — sinking a key narrative of anti-Brexit agitators who have been promoting the discredited “Yellowhammer” papers speculating on a worst-case trade scenario after a no-deal Brexit.
“Once the rules of the game are known business will adapt, and they will adapt very, very swiftly,” he added, indicating that yet another delay to Brexit would have the undesirable effect of “prolonging the period of uncertainty” by leaving businesses in “limbo”.
Bannister added that, while he did expect there might be “some incremental friction in the trade”, this was nothing new.
“One thing I do know is for our operations here in the Port of Dover, we deal with uncertainty every day,” he explained in comments to the Press Association.
“We can have disruption occur at any point in time and the teams of people we have here are really well versed in handling disrupted traffic flows and getting the business and indeed the traffic all up and running as quickly as possible,” he added.
Indeed, trade between Calais and Dover has experienced a number of prolonged periods of disruption in recent years which European Union membership did nothing to prevent, due in large part to France’s volatile industrial relations.
These periods of disruption were not accompanied by the sort of mass casualties due to shortages of essential food and medicine which British Remainers agitating against a no-deal Brexit, and have faded quickly from the national memory.
Britain’s other international ports, which have been handling huge volumes of trade from beyond the European Union and its Customs Union for decades, have previously made it clear that a no-deal Brexit would not be a problem for them.
“These ports already have the capacity and infrastructure to handle large volumes of both EU and non-EU trade today without ‘logjam’,” explained Tim Morris, Chief Executive of the United Kingdom Major Ports Group, in December 2018.
“The UK’s port sector is resilient, adaptable and highly competitive. We will work through the challenges of Brexit as we have with huge changes through the centuries. Our island nation has always been dependent on sea trade and the ports that enable it.”
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