Thursday, 15 April 2021www.doverforum.com/sea-news
Sea Pictures from DOVER ....
Further information at base of page.
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 Leiv Eiriksson passing the Port of Dover
Transocean's Leiv Eiriksson platform passing ( being towed) down the channel a few days ago. We understand that the impressive looking rig has been...errmm.. 'retired' and as a consequence is heading for termination in the breakers yard. It made for an awesome eye-catching few moments as the monster passed on through.
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 * *
Some pictures of the truck situation then can be seen further down the page.
The Pilot departs......
Many smaller general cargo ships frequent the new western piers now here at the Port of Dover, we feature one above. Or perhaps more accurately we feature the pilot, our intention was to capture the pilot departing the vessel after another excellent job done. The ship in question is the Amadeus Amethist, and as you can see the pictures are fairly long range. In picture two, as the pilot boat departs, we managed to cut the top off the distant Varne Lightship...heavens!
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....
Frozen France....when will we ever be able to get back on a ferry and back there ...
Dover in the Snow.
Dover Seafront: a winter wonderland by night..as you can see a few people have ventured out in the freezing conditions...brrrrr...
DOVER: The stunning White Cliffs....
The White Cliffs of Dover are even whiter than usual due to the big frosted freeze and the shivering snowfall...
We're chilled to the bone but... we're liking it...?
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.
Sunday Snow on Dover Seafront
The Port in the gloom a few nights ago. This picture just about sums up the January just gone. Gloom gloom all is gloom....no bars no bistros to chase away that all conquering gloom. However, the good news is.. the Covid vaccine is rolling out fairly quickly so perhaps that 'summer of joy' is just around the corner. Hold on tight....
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.
FINE FOXES of the White Cliffs.
FOXES OVER THE PORT: The weather has been so cold and grim, chill biting winds and shivering snow flurries, so when the local foxes saw the sun shining, they shimmied forth out of the dense shrubbery to bask in the...well we won't say warm sunlight, but...sunlight anyway. Some sunlight is better than no sunlight at all...and it blindingly dazzled... as it bounced off the harbour waters.
Night Falls on the Harbour
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......
The advertising truck shown above is obviously touring the roads of a harassed Kent informing everyone about the need for new paperwork now that we have left the EU...as if we didn't know already. But like they say...every little helps...
Reuters are reporting that...Trade flows between Britain and the European Union have remained low recently after many companies stockpiled goods in late 2020 to avoid having to cross the new customs border in the first week after Britain left the EU's orbit on Dec. 31. Despite the quieter period..."We are experiencing a high volume of vehicles being refused and delayed at the Ports of Calais, Dunkerque and Dover, due to incorrect paperwork being presented at check-in," DFDS said on Twitter.
* * * * * * * * *
THE MEDIA DESCENDS ON DOVER....
Extra picture added immediately below of our Media friends as January gets underway... we continue to witness/enjoy the frenzy of reporting from Dover...Waiting below to send in their reports from the mini pier mid harbour Dover, are a team from TV station France 24. Brexit and its consequences are still fascinating the world it seems.... all round though Dover so far remains quiet.
In the space of one hour midday on New Years Eve we saw four, yes four, media teams in the immediate hundred yards. There were many more too just out of vision reporting from hither and thither, every Dover vantage point seemingly used. They all had the .. ermm 'original' idea of reporting from weary Dover on our final day with the European Union. Dover however was eerily quiet...everyone giving it a miss for fear of holdups. There were no holdups as nobody turned up! ... except the media...and of course they were all very welcome....
(That's ITV News in shot 2, not sure who that is in shot 3)
The good news continues on the local traffic front...the town of Dover is clear and functioning. Much relief to all.
For the non-functioning scenario see pix below.
MOTIS NEWS - BOXING DAY DOVER TRAFFIC UPDATE....
- The A20 & Manston Airport are now clear of vehicles.
- Still significant numbers of Vehicles on the M20
- The Ferries and Eurotunnel are running an optimised timetable to help remove the back log
- Covid testing continues on the M20 and also in the Buffer zone at Port of Dover
- Lydden Hill race circuit (CT4 6RX) is also available for Testing for Vehicles below 7.5 Tonnes only (no HGV's)
- No Negative Covid Test within the last 72 hours= No Travel
Certainly looking more positive there.....that will cheer us all up in Dover.
Many thanks to MOTIS
once again for the info...
...and a huge thanks to all those who are working hard to clear the backlog.
The Pride of Canterbury ferry heads to Calais early on Christmas Day...
Ferry heads for Calais in the early gloom of Christmas Day
The Port remained open and the ferries worked all through Christmas day to try and clear the backlog....
although having said that, this particular ferry doesn't look terribly packed...but it may just be the early light.
Motis News: Christmas Day latest....
The Traffic Situation in South East Kent is improving and definite progress is being made. However due to the sheer volume of Vehicles in the Backlog this will inevitably take some time to clear.
- A20 Main road through the Town of Dover is now Clear of traffic - This was a key point to resolving the issue as allows
Vehicles access to the port when they are released from Manston Airport / Operation Brock/Stack and traffic to be managed
- 800 Military Personnel were deployed last night to increase testing capability. This seems to have improved the situation.
- The Ferry Operators and Eurotunnel are running a robust timetable to deal with the back log (full credit to all for re-staffing on
Christmas day to clear the backlog).
- Whilst there is still some way to go, we believe that the process is now in a good position to manage the reduction of the
back log as quickly as possible.
- Note, No NEGATIVE Covid Test = No Travel, Please don't attempt travel to the port without one. Testing continues at
Manston Airport & on M20 (join queue at Junction 8).
- UK Government advises no vehicles to travel to Kent at the moment.
Many thanks to MOTIS for sending through the info above.
Dover on Christmas Eve below...
Port of Dover Traffic Surge :
The great lunge towards the Port gates above...yes you are seeing it right, illegally from both sides of the carriageway the vehicles push to move forward. The picture above was taken at 07.53 on Christmas Eve morning, amid horrendous gridlock all around the town and increasing desperation.
Since then the overall situation has improved somewhat with the authorities working hard to restore some order.
The BBC are estimating that we are up to more than 6,000 trucks now...so quite a backlog to clear....
and the Covid tests still apply.
Dover: Truck drivers abandon their vehicles to demonstrate at the Port gates amid the chaos....
Frustrated truck drivers march towards the Port entrance...as the weary wait goes on...
Latest: Port of Dover is re-opening slowly, but everyone travelling must have a valid Covid test. Mass testing has begun. Because of the testing it will take quite some time to clear the backlog...we now have up to 4,000 trucks waiting...waiting... Only EU nationals are allowed to travel we understand.
Port of Dover: France and other EU countries have closed their borders to the UK for 48 hours. This is due to the new Coronavirus variant sweeping the southeast UK. No trucks will leave Dover but the inward operation is still running....but the issue is whether trucks bringing supplies inwards will want to come for fear of being trapped in the UK. There have been calls for an extension to the Brexit deadline due to the ongoing chaos.
Overnighting below..... trucks laid up for the night.
Sleeping Trucks everywhere......at Dover:
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps naively said yesterday there were 170 trucks queuing at Dover. That of course was inaccurate spin, we can see that many from our window here, the BBC more accurately estimate 900 trucks queuing (latest estimation 1500, now 3000 and growing).... we have sympathy for all those drivers stuck.
See also the OPEN LETTER from Port of Dover CEO
Doug Bannister further down page...
Also the Port responds to funding shortfall....Note in particular paragraph 3 below re funding detail ....
PORT OF DOVER RESPONSE TO PORT INFRASTRUCTURE FUND ANNOUNCEMENT
Keeping the nation's trade flowing should be a partnership effort. The Port of Dover has worked positively together with both UK and French partner agencies located in the port, to establish the requirements for maintaining a smooth flow rate of traffic through the port following Brexit under the special arrangements of the joint UK-France Le Touquet Treaty, which is an international agreement that governs the provision of juxtaposed border controls in Port of Dover.
Indeed, this work was presented to the UK Government a year ago, with the rationale for a specific project concerning the outbound border controls to be government funded. The port was encouraged to seek funding via the Port Infrastructure Fund to deliver it. This was based on the identified and agreed need for additional French passport control booths to compensate for slower transaction times and a reordering of controls within the port to enable any non-compliant traffic to have been detected before reaching the French control. It also catered for further EU immigration system changes in 2022.
The Governments own border planning assumptions, as well as those of French counterparts, were predicated on that work and in good faith the port applied for £33 million of funding, but at the eleventh hour the Port has only been offered just one tenth of one per cent of what was needed. For the primary gateway handling unitised trade with the EU, to reach this conclusion so late in the piece undermines so much work by all parties in preparation for the end of the Transition Period.
The port wishes to reassure customers and our community that it will continue working hard to keep traffic flowing, having already shown its resilience by doing so throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic and more recently as businesses choose Dover in order to stockpile ahead of the end of the Transition Period. Dover will still provide the highest frequency, highest capacity and therefore ultimately the best supply chain resilience as the closest point to Britain's largest trading partner, but the lack of financial support will make a smoother transition more difficult. This should and still could be avoided as we continue to seek support from Government ......
but the clock is ticking.
THE DISNEY MAGIC STORY CONTINUES at the PORT OF DOVER.
The Disney Magic pictured above in the approaching gloom.
As you can see the weather was turning rough...the Disney Magic, a short time later, moved away from new pier WD4 above to a more secure footing on the eastern arm Port of Dover.
The Spirit of France:
The picture above is actually one from the past, one from our own archives....yours truly was reminded of it when seeing it recently on Google. We're using it again today as the picture sums up the current weather situation quite well...ie very rough in the Channel..... but the ferries keep right on going...
Dover: Rising Sun dramatically encircling a ship early morning on the Dover Straits ...
Indian registered tanker Jag Lokesh waiting offshore recently for a crew change ...
Border Force Vigilant seen above returning to the Port of Dover in recent days...we believe the Border Force rib powering alongside contained some migrants as several incursions were reported on the day.
The Disney Magic resting tranquilly at new pier WD4 Port of Dover, the tranquility making a change from all the recent rough weather...while in the foreground the Harbour Patrol Boat meanders along keeping everything safe and secure... In the far distance you can just see the Vasco da Gama cruise ship heading for Portugal.
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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