Backlog at Port of Dover cleared but concerns remain about future travel disruption

Mon 3 Apr 2023
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Port of Dover

The Port of Dover has announced an end to the weekend travel chaos that disrupted both freight and passenger movements across the Channel.

However, there are lingering concerns about how the terminal will handle traffic during the upcoming Easter bank holiday.

A critical incident was announced on Friday (31 March) with delays at the border reportedly lasting several hours.

This has since been stood down, with the remaining backlog cleared and services running normally this morning (3 April), according to the Independent.

‘Race’ to handle traffic

There are fears that such issues could repeat later on in the week as the influx of traffic expected over the long weekend coincides with strikes by border workers in France and the UK.

The port offered a full apology and said it was ensuring improvements would be made so that it is ready for Easter. iNews reports that a ‘race’ is now on to avoid such disruption.

Brexit dispute

The Times reports that officials at the Port of Dover have attributed some of the chaos to the post-Brexit formalities that now have to be observed.

Former Conservative minister Robert Buckland also suggested Brexit was at least partly responsible for the chaos, according to the Evening Standard.

"I think that there's no doubt that some of the increased checks that now are necessary since we left the EU will be a part of that,” he said.

Fellow Conservative MP, Tobias Ellwood, agreed and called for a “Brexit upgrade”.

Not ‘adverse effect’ of Brexit

Home secretary Suella Braverman rejected this line of thinking.

“I don't think that is fair to say that this is an adverse effect of Brexit,” she told Sky News.

“I think we have seen we have had many years now since leaving the EU and there's been, on the whole, very good cooperation and processes.

“But at acute times, when there's a lot of pressure crossing the Channel whether the tunnel or the ferries, then I think there's always going to be a backup.”

Border politics

Braverman also played down any suggestions that such disruption could become a regular feature, stating that generally things have been "operating very smoothly at the border"

The EU is due to bring in a new Entry Exit System (EES) from November 2023 onwards, which will register additional information about non-EU travellers.

According to Euronews, officials from Austria and Germany have raised concerns about the new system causing delays.