The Port of Dover will be helping to keep Christmas more affordable for the British public this year, as the port and ferry operators work together to keep traffic flowing and the cost of festive goods down following recent interim operational upgrades to manage freight and tourist flows.
Dover, which is the UK’s busiest roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ferry port and fastest sea route to the EU, expects to handle about half a million truckloads of freight between October and December, as the pre-Christmas retail surge gets underway.
With 50% of Dover’s freight volumes destined for locations north of London, the Port will be helping to put food on tables and smiles on faces throughout the UK in the festive season.
A number of interim border control improvements by the Port this summer have proved very effective at keeping passenger and freight traffic moving at peak times.
By increasing border control booths by 50% and repositioning routes within the Port, Dover kept traffic moving constantly throughout the busy October half-term getaway period and ensured that freight reached its destinations on time.
Emma Ward, Chief Operations Officer, Port of Dover, says, “With the rising cost of living foremost in people’s minds, Dover has an important role to play this Christmas. Our short sea crossings, high-frequency sailings, and unrivalled efficiency means we help keep total freight costs at a minimum. In addition, our recent infrastructure upgrades mean we are even better at keeping trucks on the move when the Port is busiest, creating further savings that can be passed on to retailers and customers.
“Our ferry operator partners – DFDS, P&O Ferries and Irish Ferries – offer half-hourly sailings and superb onboard facilities for truck drivers,” Ward continues. “It’s therefore no surprise that we currently handle nearly a third of all HGVs transiting through the UK’s major seaports.”
Port of Dover’s freight operation has an annual combined value of £144bn, or 6% of GDP. Goods are transported through the Port on 2.4m trucks and 17,100 ro-ro vessel arrivals every year. Thanks to Port of Dover’s efficiency and resilience, freight traffic remained stable even during the 2020 COVID disruption.
Ward concluded: “Dover is the connecting point for UK and European motorways, offering superb access for the UK to European markets, and for European exports to the UK.
“With our ferry operators, we also offer faster crossings and greater frequency of sailings than any other UK port. In fact, a truck would have to miss 27 ferries at Dover for the routing to be less cost-effective than the next cheapest alternative, so we deliver greater resilience and efficiency than any other sea transport hub.
“These important advantages place Dover at the heart of the UK’s international supply chain and the pre-Christmas surge we are ready for is a perfect illustration of Dover’s role in ensuring that people throughout Britain can buy what they need, when they need it.”