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Why the turmoil in British ports worsens – and why technology isn't the only answer

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The recent scene of bumper-to-bumper traffic and heavy truck lines along the road leading to the British ports of Dover and Folkestone will be equipment for British travel reports without appropriate technical and diplomatic solutions. There is a possibility.

Dover Port declares a serious incident as people waiting to board the ferry faced a waiting time of up to 11 hours on Friday, July 22, the beginning of the busiest weekend of their trip to the UK. I was forced to. The time to clear passport management has been reduced to an hour by next Sunday, but port authorities and ferry companies anticipate the next busy weekend.

With the increasing number of summer vacationers and post-COVID freight transport trying to make up for the lost time during the pandemic, it is likely that congestion will continue for some time in and around the UK transportation hub. Not only are they at stake, missing connections and ruining their vacations, but travelers have been caught in traffic for hours without food or water and access to toilets. This is also a major challenge for cargo moving from the UK to the EU to export items containing fresh food that is at risk of spoilage if delayed.

Of course, such scenes have become more and more familiar on British screens and front pages in recent years. Brexit travel arrangements and cross-border checks came into effect after the transition period ended in December 2020.

However, this change was actually felt only by the freight industry, and to some extent the passenger transport sector, in January 2022, as the increase in post-pandemic travel coincided with school holidays. The P & O Ferries decision to shut down services following last year’s Easter mass redundancy had a similar effect.

If this is just an operational issue, better resources and management can handle it, but there are also signs that it is a structural and political issue due to Brexit. In this case, a combination of solutions is needed to address the issue and reduce the risk of UK vacationers and freight disruptions.

Destruction theory

There are several theories as to why this confusion is occurring. Resources are obviously a problem. British passport holders now need a stamp and check of the reason for their trip to the EU, which requires extra time with passport officials.

In addition, the UK reported that France provided only six border officers to the 12 booths available at the Dover checkpoint, but French officials said a trip to the Channel Tunnel delayed inspectors. Said that. The ongoing debate about who should pay what to staff in passport management did not help the situation.

Brexit also has very high characteristics as the main reason for travel turmoil, but the exact reason depends on political views. In Britain, Brexiteers have accused the French government of not providing adequate support, and the rest, and French officials, point out this as another reason Britain should not have left the EU.

Heavy truck congestion at Dover Port, UK in March 2022 after P & O Ferries’ mass redundant action.
Andy Rain / EPA-EFE

Make future trips easier

Solutions to this travel turmoil include addressing two challenges: sourcing resources and UK-Europe relations after Brexit. More French resources at the UK border will help address the increased paperwork required as a result of Brexit. However, this requires a political solution, both in terms of mutual cooperation and adequate financing.

And even if we accept this new normal in terms of movement, weather issues on the channel can cause even more disruption. In 2019, Storm Gareth formed a line of heavy trucks seven miles long because the crossing of the waterway was stopped due to weather conditions. To address this issue, both governments need to improve the infrastructure around the port to maintain passenger and freight traffic if the ferry is canceled or delayed due to bad weather.

Technology also plays an important role in mitigating some of the processing delays. The ability to reserve digital apps for congestion monitoring and document processing windows may also be useful.However

The UK Government’s Freight Vehicle Transportation Service (GVMS) is a freight transportation portal that provides a wallet for all the paperwork required by Customs. This is useful, but not the same as free movement, with processing delays compared to before Brexit. SMEs may also need support and training to use these digital tools for both the import and export of goods between the UK and the EU.

Beginning in September, EU requirements for biometric processing of all visitors (cargo and passengers) from the UK to the EU will come into force. This can cause car and truck drivers to delay processing at ferry and train terminals. This is because you may need to leave the car to check. However, the introduction of the EU’s Visa Waiver Program (ETIAS) in 2023 could offset some of this increase in border processing time.

There are many technical solutions that can address these ongoing issues of UK freight and tourism, but such efforts must be supported by greater cross-border cooperation. Politicians on both sides of the channel must work together to identify solutions to alleviate further travel turmoil.