UK Transport minister George Freeman has confirmed the government is assuming that disruption from a no deal Brexit would lead to a 40-60% drop in traffic at the port of Dover for three months, at a fringe event at Conservative party conference in Manchester on Tuesday (1 October),
Doug Bannister, chief executive of the Port of Dover, said that the drop in traffic would mean that the port could lose £1bn of trade every week.
“That’s how critical it is. If there’s a no-deal Brexit, it’s not going to be OK. But people are doing all they can to ensure Britain keeps trading,” he said.
The government’s worst case contingency planning in ‘Operation Yellowhammer’ has warned that it expects France to impose EU controls on UK goods immediately after it exits the bloc, and that most UK heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will not be ready for the new customs regime. This could lead to delays for trucks and lorries of between 1.5 and 2.5 days. However, ministers and freight industry officials say that the disruption is unlikely to begin until 4 November because of a public holiday on 1 November.