Proposed Port of Dover inland border facility axed by HMRC, with current capacity deemed 'enough'

Fri 17 Jun 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Brexit Customs Controls Dover

A planned inland border facility (IBF) around the Port of Dover has been cancelled, the HMRC has announced today (17 June).

IBFs were created as part of the government’s plan to handle increased border checks on goods entering Great Britain from the EU after Brexit, with the aim of moving physical checks away from port locations.

The proposed IBF, situated along the A2 in Kent, would have cost £28m and was expected to ease traffic going into Dover.

Enough capacity

In making the announcement, HMRC stressed that current IBF arrangements were working well and that the Dover IBF was no longer needed, according to the BBC.

“The review showed that the existing facilities have enough capacity to deal with the flow of traffic and therefore a new site was not necessary,” HMRC and the Department for Transport (DoT) said in a joint statement.

The decision was reported to have saved £120m, which will now be spent elsewhere.

Alternative border uses

The move to cancel the project does not mean that the land will not be used, the Department for Transport stated, as it is currently considering its options for the site, according to ConstructionEnquirer.

“The Department for Transport is now exploring alternative options for its development to ease pressure at the border, given issues with disruption on the strategic road network in Kent and at the ports,” the statement said.

The port experienced severe delays around the start of the May half-term and Champions League final in Paris, as reported in Sky News.

To date £100m has been spent on the border control programme in the Dover area, creating 650 jobs, according to KentOnline.

Other IBF news

HMRC and Department of Transport also announced that interim IBF sites in Birmingham and North Weald would be closed ahead of schedule.

“Now the sites in Holyhead and Sevington are fully operational and coping well with demand, HMRC no longer needs the support of the interim sites.”

CMA deal

The move comes days after the Competition and Market’s Authority (CMA) reached a deal that would protect the crucial freight route between Dover and the Port of Calais.

The CMA announced the commitments secured from P&O Ferries and DFDS A/S to preserve a ‘capacity sharing agreement’ between the two companies.

The ferry deal, announced in December 2021, provided a ‘turn up and go’ function for the Calais and Dover ports, allowing freight carriers to take the next available ferry regardless of which operator they had booked on.

The CMA had concerns that the deal could have led to greater inflexibility and higher costs for truckers.

The ferry companies have committed to:

  • not agree with one another the number of sailings that each company operates
  • limit the number of sailings that they can cancel
  • amend the agreement to make clear that it does not fix the amount of freight customers that either company may carry