Borders must stay open, says Dover chief

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Port of Dover chief executive Doug Bannister has called on the government to ensure that all borders remain open to ensure that time sensitive essentials continue to flow post-Brexit.

He was responding to a parliamentary statement by Cabinet Office minister David Lidington which set out plans to secure freight capacity to bring medicines and medical equipment in from the continent in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Bannister said: “In the current circumstances, it is natural and appropriate that the UK Government should consider how to protect the supply of certain critical goods such as medicines. However, we also need a measured and holistic approach, one that rationally deals with all of our trading needs.

“The identified Category 1 goods, while critical, form a small subset of the total volume of goods essential to maintaining our quality of life.

“We believe a prudent Government should place a commensurate level of attention to ensure that all borders remain open so that other time sensitive essential items, such as perishable foods, continue to flow via the most economic route to market.”

Bannister pointed out that keeping the traffic moving freely across borders will mean balancing any requirements for declarations around the realities of just-in-time logistics and flexible routing of lorries, and crystallising those requirements in sufficient time for merchants to develop the capability to meet them.

“It is in this area of ‘trader readiness’ that Government can have a profound impact.

“The Port of Dover, as with our sister ports in France and our ferry partners, are prepared for the 31st of October. Merchants, border agencies and highway authorities pivotal roles to play in ensuring the system continues to operate smoothly.

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