Saturday, 12 June 2021www.doverforum.com/sea-news
Sea Pictures from DOVER ....
the view from Dover Seafront...
See also base of page.
Clock Tower Square...once more above. This time from afar and looking across the water. Pictured at night as you can see. At the time of pic we were just about to be engulfed by a meandering fog...as the sirens wailed across the dark water.
The new Clock Tower Square is an exciting Port development open to all.
Dont miss the post immediately below.....
Clock Tower Square Opens.....
Monday June 7: The Port of Dover has today unveiled its latest outdoor recreational space overlooking the waterfront ....Clock Tower Square.
It is another major part of the Dover Western Docks Revival regeneration project to open to the public.
Located at the beginning of the Marina Curve with great views over the Harbour, the 1,000 sq metre (roughly a quarter of an acre) site combines fresh design features with artefacts from Dover’s inspirational history to create a contemporary site that’s perfect for relaxing and appreciating local culture.
Doug Bannister, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover said:
“Clock Tower Square is a destination for the future; it capitalises on Dover’s inspirational heritage and iconic scenery to form a modern outdoor community hub that’s rich in history.
With the new Marina Pier already open, the Marina Curve coming soon and our recent beach re-profiling work completed, we are pleased to be making more leisure space available to the public during a time when the outdoors has never been appreciated more”.
Dave Herrod, DWDR Programme Director added:
“We are proud to see Clock Tower Square opening today. After years of planning and construction, the new design perfectly combines sustainability with ecology, history and public engagement, creating a fantastic site that’s ready for future generations to enjoy.”
Clock Tower Square pays tribute to the previous Prince of Wales pier with original artefacts and plaques dating back over 100 years on display. Granite coping stones from the old quayside form new benches, lamp posts have been refurbished and the original paving has been re-laid to reflect the old Prince of Wales pier layout. The original gates have been reinstated and new public toilets are also now available.
Natalie Elphicke MP said:
“Clock Tower Square is a really great place for people to sit down, stroll and really enjoy the view across the Port. It’s a major investment by the Port of Dover for our community which will help to increase visitors and boost tourism. With the Council’s successful multi-million bid to improve the links between the town and the waterfront, this all looks set to come together to make Dover a great destination for people to come and see.”
Cllr Trevor Bartlett, Leader of Dover District Council, said:
“The opening of Clock Tower Square marks a key stage in the transformation of Dover Waterfront into a modern and vibrant public space. The Port worked closely with our heritage planners and I’m delighted to see the attention to detail on many of the heritage features retained and restored from the Prince of Wales Pier.
“With outstanding views of the busy harbour, Dover Castle and White Cliffs of Dover it will be another outdoor space that is much valued by the local community and visitors alike. I hope it will also stimulate more commercial investment on the waterfront.”
The magnificent and large Baltic cruise ferry Silja Europa has been hired by the Police, as we understand it, to accommodate the extra officers needed to provide solid security at the G7 summit in Cornwall. It seems we need a lot of officers! The ship will be used for a 10 day period and moored just off Falmouth. We see her here passing Dover in the rain on Friday morning.
Silja Europa.....Pictured through the gloom early Friday...
the actual scene was a lot murkier than shown, modern technology did the rest.
Main Roads Dover:
A staggering amount of roadworks are taking place overnight at the moment... The roads are closed (in the wee small hours only) in a piecemeal fashion, one section here one night, then once section there another night. The area shown in the picture above has had and is having those overnight works...however on a recent overnighter someone forgot to switch the traffic lights back to work mode and they remained in a permo-red state.
And there we are above the next morning, everyone held up for ages before the penny dropped...and so it went on with the next batch of traffic...and so it went on...
The early trucks bringing in our worldly goods from the EU only got 100 yards into the UK before they hit the first barrier.... there are other barriers but that's a different story...
Dover Lifeboat in recent action.
Dover Lifeboat safely towing in a Wetwheels craft on the evening of June 1...we have used the picture smaller than usual as the quality isn't there, Time of pic approx 8pm in fading light...although a number of pictures were taken none were particularly useable. We blame the fading light!!
You can find out more about the Wetwheels Foundation on Google.
A handful of protesters tried to cause as much disruption as possible in Dover at the bank holiday weekend. A guesstimate would say about 50/60 or so turned up for their Saturday revelry. Their message...anti-immigration.
It was a relatively shortlived disruption, the small group (some bearing flags as you can see in the picture above) gave it their best shot but it was just a minor headache for policing and a brief irritation for local traffic. There were four arrests.
Stella M superyacht below, approaching the Port of Dover...extra pic now added
"Your taxi has arrived sir, at the western entrance .....Thank you Jeeves, you can have the rest of the day off"
Extravagant superyacht Stella M approaching the Port here in Dover a few days ago...and very nice too. We understand she might be for sale, but we may have to do some serious bidding....
Superyacht Stella M arrives at the western entrance...
From P&O and DFDS .....
Freight drivers will now be able to board the next available sailing when they arrive at the Port of Dover or the Port of Calais, regardless of which of the two ferry companies is operating the crossing.
This will ensure customers benefit from more flexibility, with a sailing every 36 minutes. It will reduce the amount of waiting time at the port saving our freight customers up to 30 minutes on their overall journey time.
The two ferry companies carry more than 2.5 million lorries across the English Channel every year, making it the busiest trade route between the UK and Europe, maintaining the flow of essential items including food, medicines and other materials into and out of the UK.
Doug Bannister, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, pictured left said:
“Developing the ferry product by maximising choice, capacity, flexibility and resilience in this way is a fantastic demonstration by the ferry operators of how the Dover route is responding to renewed market confidence."
Sailing By : it's always a delight to see a fine sail ambling by. In this awful ongoing horrid wild wet windy weather, anything that reminds us of balmier summer days is immensely welcome. Pimms and strawberries...where is it all ? We see the delightful sails of RUSH here to remind us of better days...unfortunately the weather in the picture is much as it has been for a while.....
Rush sailing by....
Disney Magic at Dover
Disney Magic above returning to base here in Dover just before the onset of the aforementioned fiercely rough weather. Magic had just enjoyed another one of her regular channel runs....
It was a rough ol day on Friday 21st May... as you can see above, holding the camera steady was the big problem here...we couldn't keep the ships in the picture!!
However the oddish pictures sort of show the drama of the wild weather. How the ferries keep going is bewildering to the onlooker but keep going they do...mostly anyway.. with some delay of course. The DFDS ferry featured is the Cote des Flandres... in the foreground of shot two the tug is holding on to a P&O ferry just out of shot...you can just see the line there ...
Diggers on Dover Beach
Diggers move in to restructure beach...
It seems the tides have changed following all the harbour redevelopment, and the beach has substantially changed with those tides...but the diggers are here now to re-align the shingle and the rocks/groynes in an effort to restore everything to near-normal...
Albemarle Island...there are so many reefers and general cargo ships coming into the Port now its almost impossible to keep up, so we have selected this pic above as a general representative shot which shows reefer Albemarle Island approaching recently...
Border Force Valiant photographed entering Port on May 13 ...
You can see Valiant above there as she is about to enter the Port of Dover after another hugely busy day and indeed busy week in the Channel. Approximately 2,500 people have made it across in small boats so far this year with a further 3,000 prevented from doing so by the French authorities. The numbers are hugely up on last year... so as you can guess, it's hectic for the Border Force teams at the moment ....
Very recent photo above of Dover Lifeboat as she returns to the Port here. These are indeed busy times with much activity of a migrant nature in the Channel...the Lifeboat, as always, working hard to keep everyone safe.
The Disney Magic catching some late-in-the-day sunshine as she exits the Port of Dover on Saturday evening May 8. You can see the pilot returning at the end of a long rough day. The Magic took another of her familiar channel runs and returned to Dover on Monday May 10..... Now that we are beginning to exit lockdown, maybe the cruise season or something akin to it will start off again soon ...we wait patiently...
Air Ambulance....And then she was gone. Approximately an hour later the helicopter went roaring off again heading west across the rooftops of Megger and P&O leaving those buildings shimmering in her wake....
On Dover Beach : Air Ambulance arriving/landing on the beach here early on Friday May 7, it was something of a shock for those enjoying some gentle seaside leisure time in the sunshine.....the emergency medical team rushed from the helicopter and headed straight into town on foot ...we understand the medics went to a residence in Snargate Street....
Air Ambulance at Dover Beach.
A fully laden ferry the Pride of Kent moves across the harbour here at the Port of Dover to leave via the western exit...bound for Calais of course.. In the background you can see the pilot departing the reefer Star Prima...
Border Force at Dover
Mayday: Border Force personnel bringing in a dinghy to Port of Dover early morning on May 1. We have seen something of a surge of migrant boats attempting the crossing in recent days. The weather's been easy and receptive recently, hence the big increase in numbers trying to get across. It remains dangerous though. The Border Force teams are immensely busy as you can imagine....the migrants will have been transferred from the dinghy to another vessel ....
The multi award winning movie director Danny Boyle filming on Dover Seafront
Some of the Danny Boyle crew readying above...Dover Seafront was closed to normal traffic...
One heck of a Box Brownie camera below there, not that we remember what Box Brownies were! ..
........bit larger than your i-phone eh!..
Yes a huge filming operation is taking place around Dover...its the last week in April and the pictures above there show some of the extensive camera operations, these shots here show Dover Seafront in that last April week. Other locations in Dover have also been used. To a lay person, like yours truly, It looks like a big production and we understand its a tale about the Sex Pistols...those punk rockers from the seventies....oh dear! we see some headlines screaming at us as we write...Johnny Rotten wants to sue Danny Boyle...once again..oh dear!...
We have another picture...yes here we are...
The Danny Boyle movie crew filming..we believe that's Maisie Williams on the bicycle....
A couple of unfamiliar names here...above we have Hood Island on her way to Vlissingen with the pilot boat in close attendance, Vlissingen obviously the main base these days for all Euro bound reefers, and below we have the all new Cool Eagle arriving at the Port recently..empty but she left Dover stacked up. We dont cover all the ships now but these latest inclusions once again show how busy the Port is these days...
It was a delight to see some yachting in the harbour recently....roll on balmier days! The picture above was taken one recent evening, a bit of a misty evening it has to be said but there we are....you cant have everything. We didn't catch the name of the yacht unfortunately as its name was written in tiny lettering...but that's regular visitor Tertnes in the background, a self discharging bulk carrier, at pier WD4 ....
The Trinity House buoy-laying vessel Patricia out in the channel a few evenings ago. The picture above is a close-in crop of the one below to give a bit more detail on the buoys as you can see.... a lovely evening it was...
THV Patricia with the coast of France in the background.
Angara Leaving Port.
Angara; The Russian registered ( St Petersburg ) vessel leaving the Port of Dover in the dazzling midday sunlight in recent days, with the pilot boat in close harmony. She had been depositing her cargo at one of the the new piers here (WD4). That pier very busy now with a constant stream of cargo vessels delivering....
The Seal on Dover Beach
The Little Visitor: The little seal above came in to join us on Dover Beach in recent days...it was lovely to see and very exciting. Perhaps he/she was getting out and about celebrating the end of lockdown ...and very welcome too, both the seal and the end of lockdown...
The Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) tanker Marvel Eagle moving down the channel a few days ago. Quite a new vessel (2018) and an impressive sight too. In the background you can see Boulogne shimmering in the welcome sunlight, you can spot the Cathedral. In the foreground we have the ever busy Border Force in mid operation...this time its Valiant in action. It was a wee bit hazy but also in the mix in there is the Varne Lightship....
Some pictures above there of the offshore support vessel Olympic Commander...she was seen...ermmm offshore.. here at Dover quite recently, presumably to let off a pilot or perhaps even to make a crew change. She paused outside the Port for some while, the second picture above was taken a bit later and by then you can see she has been joined by the Port of Dover pilot boat. Bit of atmospheric shimmer in the second picture unfortunately...
Since Monday (April 12) we have been able to sample the delights of something like normal living ...many facilities have now re-opened in mixed ways. The hospitality sector, pubs and restaurants to you and me, have re-opened but we must remain outdoors. Handy for those establishments that have an outdoors at their disposal. But while we shiver manfully over our pint or our vin blanc in the aforementioned 'great outdoors'...we must remind ourselves that at least it's a better situation than we had before... onwards and upwards eh...
The reefer Hellas Stream on her way to Vlissingen from the Port of Dover recently....
in the background you can see an interesting ship called Fjord...a heavy load carrier moving on down the channel.
Dover Castle ... with flag at half mast.
Sadly HRH Prince Philip is dead, he died on the 9th of April 2021 at age of 99.
The Nation mourned widely and in many different ways...as a mark of immediate respect the flag flew at half mast on Dover Castle above.
DFDS launches new unaccompanied freight service from Sheerness to Calais
The service will start on 1st June and will offer one daily sailing in each direction between the two ports.
It will be operated by the Gothia Seaways, which can carry up to 165 unaccompanied freight units (trailers or containers without drivers).
The port of Sheerness, part of Peel Ports’ London Medway cluster, is located in northern Kent and operates 24 hours a day and is fully open/accessible seven days a week. This flexibility offers customers congestion free access to drop and collect trailers, with no standage charges applied for the first 48 hours. The port benefits from close proximity to the M25 orbital ring which is ideal for goods heading to the London area and the Midlands.
"It is the latest in a series of investments we are making to improve our services. A brand-new freight and passenger ship, the Cote d’Opale will join our Dover to Calais route in July this year, increasing capacity on the route and enhancing the passenger experience onboard its fleet." say DFDS
In recent rough weather, and yes we have had some rough ol days, the 'lampshade' marker above bit the proverbial dust in spectacular fashion...it has lain there now for a few weeks. Perhaps it has been undetected by the Port repair teamsters so far, or else its just on a long list of things to do...
Each of these rocky formulations in the harbour (groynes?) has a marker at the end of it...you can see a section of a functioning one in the pic below and all's well. We also note below how the cormorant is master of all he surveys ...while the seagull acolytes busy about in somewhat subservient vein....
Dover Lifeboat at the Regatta.
No Regatta.... ( and Christmas is cancelled too...well sort of...)
Port of Dover: Reluctantly, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the decision has been taken that no large-scale public events will take place on the port estate in 2021. This includes the Port of Dover Community Regatta and White Cliffs Christmas.
Safety concerns around how to restrict numbers and ensure social distancing on the seafront at an event that can attract up to 10,000 people were uppermost in the decision regarding the Regatta. With White Cliffs Christmas being an indoor event and difficulties identified in maintaining social distancing for some of the most popular activities such as the real ice rink, the risks were considered too great.
Doug Bannister, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said: “One year on and who could have foreseen that we would be in a third national lockdown? These major events take months of planning and although we hope that the UK manages to stick to the roadmap set out by the Prime Minister, there are still too many uncertainties to begin preparations at this time with confidence. Public safety has been at the heart of our decision making and so cancelling this year’s two major public events at the port was the responsible thing to do.”
ENDS - thanks to the Port for the info.
Spotted on April 1st : A girl excitedly runs with the waves along Dover Beach watched by a frolicking Dolphin ...
Well I never...!!
Below....The Worm Moon over Dover.
Yes its the Worm Moon : we didn't go for a close up this time but captured the moon in the wider heavens...as it hung there suspended in the chilly sky above the Port of Dover. Why Worm Moon...well...it seems native American tribes reckon its magical mesmerizing quality lures worms to the earths surface. Well its a magical tale anyway...
Disney Magic Early Morn....
Top shot there shows the Disney Magic on one of her 'round the harbour' manoeuvrings...this time moving early morning and stern first into new pier WD4. She did so...it transpired...to be ready for the arrival from across the Channel of bunker ship Duzgit Harmony, and there we have Duzgit approaching in the pic below some time later.
(Further down the page you can see Fredericia doing the same thing.)
EXCITING NEWS for the DOVER - CALAIS route :
a subsidiary of Irish Continental Group plc, is pleased to announce a new service on the Dover - Calais route. This service is planned to start in June 2021, with the transfer of the ferry Isle of Inishmore
to the route. Additional capacity will be added in the coming months. Irish Ferries is the market leader for freight and passengers between Britain and the Republic of Ireland, a leadership position that has been built on the twin pillars of customer focus and investment in purpose-built ships for each route.
Both Doug Bannister CEO Port of Dover and Jean-Marc Puissesseau, Chairman, Port of Calais, have issued statements of warm welcome.
.....We ourselves look forward greatly to photographing the ship and any further ships in due course...
The Autumn Stream: We have an abundance of reefers streaming in and out of the Port these days, being facilitated at the all new cargo terminal at the western end. Turnaround is fast...above we see one of the stream, Autumn Stream in fact, leaving the Port in weak sunshine recently. In the distance that looks like our ol dredger friend Reimerswaal to the left and the ever present Varne Lightship a distant right.
The Disney Magic above there taking a decidedly misty/murky but magical run along the channel...she occasionally has a brief gallop away from base just to keep everything functioning favourably and there she is in action a few days ago. Magic also likes to move about the Port...she left the eastern arm, returned to the western arm, then moved across to new pier WD4...that's a tour in itself....tickets available ! ( no - not really! ) ... We all wait now for a strident return to normal life when cruising can re-commence in earnest...
...well, since the above she has moved again, now over on the eastern arm once more...busy busy!
Hauliers can travel straight to Dover on the M20 from Sunday as the MANSTON AIRPORT site is stood down.
From Sunday 21 March 2021, freight travelling to the Port can travel straight down the M20 motorway using a dedicated lane for Dover rather than being redirected to Manston, as the site owned by the Department for Transport prepares to be stood down.
Therese West–Moore, Terminal Operations Manager at the Port of Dover said:
“The Short Straits provides the most convenient and efficient access to the continent, so we will be really pleased to see the return of direct travel to Dover this weekend as hauliers get back to using the M20 for the quickest route here."
Trucks filing slowly into the Port of Dover.
As we are all well aware, in recent times the roads around Dover have been mightily congested. Lengthy lines of trucks lingered long, waiting for their trip across the channel. This became the horrid norm, this situation is now thankfully diminished...but at the time the grassy verges became littered on a grand scale with rubbish of all sorts. Indeed, further un-appetising human unmentionables were likewise left to fester. However ... do not despair, the Dover District Council has a plan...a section from a recent media release below...
* * ...... From Dover District Council March 15.
Dover District Council is taking action to address the litter on our main routes in and around Dover. Working with partner agencies, the plans will ensure that the litter can be cleared efficiently, whilst causing the least disruption to traffic flows on these key routes, and most importantly, ensuring the safety of any operatives undertaking this work.
Dover District Council is responsible for the clearance of roadside litter on the A256, which has increased as a result of the additional traffic using this route since December 2020. Freight delays over the Christmas period, and the use of Manston airport for increased freight checks and Covid testing, have both contributed to a large increase in roadside litter on the district’s local road network.
The two-week traffic management plan for this has now been costed and agreed, and the cleansing of both lanes along the entire 11-mile length of the A256 will commence this week. The Council has written to National Government to request further financial support for the additional impact that the UK leaving the EU has had on the district’s roads.
The A2 and A20 will also be cleansed in the next few weeks by another contract firm, working at night to minimise disruption. Highways England is responsible for this route and it requires an emergency order for managing traffic flow....from DDC * *
Well we have had some rough ol' weather in the past few days..and the tugs and the ferries keep right on going through most of it. Both Port of Dover tugs ( Doughty and Dauntless ) are seen in action above there in a blisteringly bone-chilling strong wind...they had just helped a DFDS ferry on its way, keeping our trade going with the European Union.
And speaking of trade....
We note that the latest data is showing a huge falloff in trade with the EU. In January exports to the EU fell by just over 40%...a staggering drop over normal times. At the same time imports tumbled almost 29%. Is this the Shangri-La we were promised or is it just a temporary blip? These figures are from the ONS, the Office of National Statistics, so we can assume they are accurate.
Now .. January is/was a wicked month this year... we found ourselves in an all-new situation, so perhaps things will pick up...we need successful free flowing trade in Dover. Free flowing trade with the EU and plenty of it.
The Herald of Free Enterprise Garden - Dover.
Wreaths and Flowers Laid for the Herald of Free Enterprise :
There is a delightful garden on Dover Seafront laid out in memory of the sinking tragedy which occurred on the 6th March 1987. The ferry went down just outside Zeebrugge. Hard to visualize such an awful situation. There wasn't an official ceremony on the seafront this year but a number of relatives to the lost laid the wreaths.. But yes as mentioned the garden is delightful, probably not at its best at this time of year, but in the summer lots of white roses leap into bloom.
We will have some more pictures....
...and here we are.......
Remembering above...The Herald of Free Enterprise...
Below....Springtime flowers surround the dedicated Garden....
Dover Marina: There is nothing particularly special about the picture above, it just celebrates the arrival of spring, the arrival of sunlight on the water, sunlight on boats on the water. After a long long dark lockdown winter, we now wait for an uncoupling of the chains that bind us to the sofa and the kitchen table... the picture was a first for us in one way however, it was taken on a mobile phone ( i-phone) ...
There is a lovely garden on Dover Seafront dedicated to the memory of the Herald of Free Enterprise and those lost,
wreaths were laid at the weekend, we will have some pictures of those soon..
The Maritime Skills Academy in Dover
Some new pictures above there of the Maritime Skills Academy in intensive training in Dover Harbour recently. They always make for some interestingly spectacular pictures so hopefully we have managed to capture something of that. You can find out much more about the Maritime Skills Academy on the ever reliable Google.,,,
"The Maritime Skills Academy is helping the industry set new standards by
delivering a new level of marine, fire safety and simulator training."
Night of the Full Moon.....
Full Moon over the Port: Slightly soft misty foggy picture of the 'snow moon' over the Port of Dover on Saturday night. Its only just gone 6pm and the streets are deserted...where is everybody? No clamouring heaving EU truck surge to be seen, all is deathly quiet.
Dover early morning....
Dover Sunrise: The early ferry arriving at a misty Port of Dover as the sun rises in the distance above Calais.
Dover Sunrise : Seagull gliding across Dover Harbour and heading into the rising sun on chilly morn ...
Last year I wrote to the Chancellor to ask for the return of duty-free and the Brexit boost that could bring to our port, ferry companies and cruise ships. So in Parliament I welcomed those regulations for the return of duty-free and the opportunities that brings on the Channel Crossing.
As a young woman, I enjoyed putting on my spotted rah-rah dress and dancing across the sea on the ferry disco. From ordering your 'frites et mayonnaise' to shopping at a Calais Supermarche, it was a proper day out.
Many a local resident enjoyed the all-you-can-eat buffet, with its exotic name - the Smorgasbord - on the now-defunct Sally line from Ramsgate. While so many friendships and relationships were rekindled and revitalised on the famous evening Dance to France.
Like so much from those years, while we have gained, we have also lost. So focused on our destination that we have lost the pleasure in the journey. For me and for many, a ferry trip is nothing less than a mini-cruise. From ballpits and play areas for the little ones, to video games and bars for the grown-ups, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Such enjoyment is what it is all about.
There's so much fun on the ferries.
Natalie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal
Thats a section above there from a recent Natalie message..... very enjoyable. We left the party political bit out....
Hard Times for Hauliers...
Exports to EU plunged 68% in the month after Brexit ....say hauliers...
"Since transition, we have worked tirelessly to demonstrate the devastating consequences these changes are having but it is very clear that Government are not doing enough to address them." say the Road Haulage Association, seemingly singling out Michael Gove in particular. The trucks are still working hard in all weathers as you can see above but the volume isn't there...many returning to their destinations empty.
Dawn at Dover .....
Another day begins on the English Channel.
The Pilot boat waits patiently in the harbour at dawn for the approaching bunker ship Fredericia...while the hustling bustling seagulls set off for another day of fine food foraging.... no bin to remain unravaged...
A short while later ...and the day is a bit lighter now, as Fredericia approaches gently to service the ever waiting Disney Magic.
Rising Seafront Bridge at Dover: You can see the new bridge rising above there...it towers above the Seasports Centre and the now renamed Dover Patrol Restaurant (formerly the Hythe Bay restaurant...we understand the ownership is still in the same hands). The new marina cuts across the seafront road into the old marina, hence the need for a bridge (a 'bascule' bridge, you might need to look that one up!). Traffic gets paused from time to time to accommodate the incoming/outgoing craft....it was paused at the time of shot as you can guess.... otherwise everybody would......
DISNEY at DOVER
The Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic
If you quietly wish upon a star, hoping for even more wondrous magic in Dover,
...well you might just end up with two Disney's....
OPEN LETTER FROM DOUG BANNISTER, CEO, PORT OF DOVER
Dover is the right choice for business and consumers now more than ever
The United Kingdom Major Ports Group (UKMPG) has issued a 'briefing paper' intended to encourage businesses to transfer cargo away from the Short Straits, the UKs most vital link to European markets.
The paper points out that the Short Straits, which includes ferry links between Dover and Calais, as well as the Channel Tunnel, has a 60% market share of British-Continental EU trade. The Short Straits has achieved this market share because it is the right choice for business. Indeed, the paper acknowledges that the routes businesses use today are the right ones and the reason businesses choose the Short Straits is simple; it offers the most time efficient, cost effective and resilient access to international markets, delivering an estimated £3 billion saving for British businesses and consumers compared to alternative routes.
Our own independent analysis (Oxera 2018) has previously suggested that it would cost around £2.7 billion to take just 20% of our existing traffic in order to pay for new ferries operating on longer and slower routes. Importantly, these new ferries do not exist today and need to be built. With shipyard capacities and construction lead times, delivering such a fleet of new ferries holds significant lead time.
The UKMPG paper suggests that other ports might have capacity to take up to 60% of Short Straits traffic now, but acknowledges that this requires both Government and trader support for this offer of resilience to be possible. Exponentially, this suggests that the cost to businesses and ultimately the consumer could be up to around £8 billion.
For Port of Dover, when looking at the overall UK Trade Resilience we take a systemic view across ports, vessels, capacities, frequencies, operating models and traffic management schemes. To focus only on port capacity is terribly one-dimensional.
The geographic advantage that Port of Dover holds with the UKs largest trading partner means that a single vessel can complete up to five round voyages in a single day, making our ferries hugely productive assets. Further, our operating model delivers an average inbound dwell time at our port of just five minutes, providing unparalleled port efficiency.
Other operating models, for example containers and unaccompanied trailers may have inbound dwell times from several hours to even several days, adding inefficiency to the system-wide supply chains. For those routes with longer sea voyages, a single vessel may only make a single round voyage in a day meaning to replicate the capacities and frequencies offered via Port of Dover would require five times as many vessels.
The UKMPG paper admits that a ˜short term" constraint might be the availability of additional ferries to handle the trucks being encouraged to divert to other routes, whilst also citing wider capacity issues on the southern North Sea corridor.
The report is right to focus on resilience as we approach the end of the Transition Period, but what resilience do you have if you are sending traffic to ports where the ferries do not exist? Neither is that a quick fix. The market dynamic is important here. In fact, rather than investing in new ferries, operators at some of the alternative ports have actually been closing these longer routes with tonnage moving back to the short routes as that is what the market wants, Dover has of course kept going throughout the pandemic. This dynamic applies to the European side too, with the majority of freight vehicles choosing to route through northern France to Calais and Dunkirk as it is simply closest.
All EU-facing UK ports will be under the same rules there will be a standard process and transaction applied everywhere. We know from examples elsewhere, such as 'Operation Wellington' on the Humber, which anticipates using parts of the M62 and M180 as holding areas for HGVs, that if there is disruption it will be everywhere. The report itself admits that there is already a risk of disruption at these alternative ports due to new systems for HGVs. Therefore, on top of this, sending more traffic to ports that do not even have the ferry capacity will make the situation far worse and create far less resilience for UK trade.
In contrast, the traffic management regimes for the Short Straits are tested and proven, in short, we know they work. For example, the recent national security operation that affected all ports with additional screening and searches left around 4,500 lorries in Operation Stack. When the security operation ended, Dover had cleared all queuing traffic and was back to normal operations within just 12 hours. Nowhere else could do that. It would take weeks with the current vessel capacities and frequencies available elsewhere. For UK trade resilience, supply chains must have the confidence in managing periods of disruption, and crucially recovery and restoration of normal flows as swiftly as possible, both areas in which Port of Dover has excellent credentials.
As we all navigate the massive economic difficulties caused by COVID, and the uncertainties as we approach the End of Transition, it is right to showcase the incredible efforts of the maritime sector, and the excellent ports that we have across the nation towards ensuring supply chains are robust and functioning well.
Come what may, we will keep working to keep the nation supplied with the essential goods people need at this difficult time and give all businesses wherever they are the benefits of Dover's unrivalled service. This is what we do all day, every day.
Indeed, as the Maritime Minister said on a panel discussion with us only the other day regarding the national trade network; you have to have goods and people moving around freely. So if you are to have parts moving quickly and efficiently across the Channel, and through Dover, and through the country, you have a much easier opportunity for companies that might exist in the Midlands or in the North to get involved in whatever that industry is.
The report says that the UK has not always been reliant on the Short Straits, harking back to pre-Single Market days. Equally, the UK has not always been reliant on the internet and same day/next day/just-in-time deliveries, but it is now.
A vision that takes the UK backwards is not the vision of the future we want to see. We need one that backs consumers and businesses everywhere for the challenges and opportunities ahead of us. We feel that we should celebrate our impressive, modern and efficient supply chains across all ports and modes throughout the nation.
For Dover, we fully appreciate the essential role that we conduct for the nation, and will continue to take our responsibility with all of the due care and attention the British people would expect of us, which is why Dover will remain the clear market choice.
Doug Bannister, CEO Port of Dover.
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