Jump to content
Redwards

Port Border Issues

Recommended Posts

I appreciate this may well have been discussed before but as it seems we are drifting (I am trying to be non political here) towards a hard border between the EU and the UK  I wonder if our more knowledgeable members have any ideas on what  our ferry ports will be like to transit post brexit.

We are frustrated now with uk border and their ponderous processing of cars at Portsmouth.    What happens with no free movement?   Lorries parked everywhere waiting to clear the port customs   ship turnarounds taking hours longer as they cannot get vehicles off the ferries unless the ports expand?     

Or am I just thinking a potential problem for which others in the know have a practical answer for,  even if we are  no longer within customs and free movement agreements.    Someone must be confident as BF are building a new ferry.   

I would appreciate opinions from those on this forum with practical knowledge.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently a non EU lorry takes 7 minutes to clear customs in the UK so if you flip that and take into account a car might be a bit quicker, but then it’s all speculation so far but it will put folk off if it takes too long I suppose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I can only speak as someone who has travelled to the ‘continent’ once or twice a year both pre and post EU membership.

I honestly can’t see what difference Brexit (when it finally comes and in whatever form) will make to ‘tourist’ traffic. The events of the last 20 years has of course increased the degree of surveillance and almost certainly made transit just that bit slower. How quick that transit is in the future, would seem to be a function of how many Immigration staff are positioned, rather than anything to do with the UK’s exit from the EU.

For most of us, it’s a case of queue up, show your passports, a quick word & on your way. Nothing really changes as far as I can see.

Commercial traffic?  Now that’s a whole different ball game, on which I’m not qualified to comment.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The subject was discussed on the recent TV programme about the Channel. They were looking specifically at Dover and the Tunnel but the smooth loading process depends on the bulk of the freight being between EU countries and if customs checks are introduced the it will gum up the works pretty comprehensively. There has been talk of automated clearance, particularly in regard to the Northern Ireland border but, as pointed out in today's Times there are no such systems in place or which could be put in place to meet the Brexit timetable. It's all pie in the sky plus the EU countries have no real incentive to make things easier for us.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Prior to joining the EEC there was certainly a requirement to obtain an International Driving License and there was also a requirement regarding indemnity for import duty in case the vehicle was written off or sold while abroad. We probably could  see both these things again.

Edited by G4rth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As the ferry companies must be able to supply the immigration service with passenger numbers, let's say, 24 hours in advance of travel, and assuming there is no last minute rush, then how complicated can it be for the Border Agency to put on the requisite number of staff to deal swiftly with the load? And if there are going to be problems then the alternative is to tweak the schedules ever-so-slightly so that no two ships arrive and unload at the same time. Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

As the ferry companies must be able to supply the immigration service with passenger numbers, let's say, 24 hours in advance of travel, and assuming there is no last minute rush, then how complicated can it be for the Border Agency to put on the requisite number of staff to deal swiftly with the load? And if there are going to be problems then the alternative is to tweak the schedules ever-so-slightly so that no two ships arrive and unload at the same time. Ed

That would imply that the Border agency is sufficiently staffed and has a realistic staffing quota who are willing to be adaptable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

That would imply that the Border agency is sufficiently staffed and has a realistic staffing quota who are willing to be adaptable.

Of course, silly me for thinking that as we ultimately pay their salaries (and that the country's trade links and tourism reputation depend on them) they might actually do something to warrant that money. :D Ed 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

As the ferry companies must be able to supply the immigration service with passenger numbers, let's say, 24 hours in advance of travel, and assuming there is no last minute rush, then how complicated can it be for the Border Agency to put on the requisite number of staff to deal swiftly with the load? And if there are going to be problems then the alternative is to tweak the schedules ever-so-slightly so that no two ships arrive and unload at the same time. Ed

And what's actually stopping them doing that today? Many travellers would like that to be the situation now. If it's not possible this morning how is it going to be possible with, if as we are told is true, falling government revenues?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Cabin-boy said:

Of course, silly me for thinking that as we ultimately pay their salaries (and that the country's trade links and tourism reputation depend on them) they might actually do something to warrant that money. :D Ed 

If you have two booths open at Plymouth and the checks take longer even slightly it doesn’t matter how hard or how many people are manning the two booths it’s still going to require investment to improve the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

As the ferry companies must be able to supply the immigration service with passenger numbers, let's say, 24 hours in advance of travel, and assuming there is no last minute rush, then how complicated can it be for the Border Agency to put on the requisite number of staff to deal swiftly with the load? And if there are going to be problems then the alternative is to tweak the schedules ever-so-slightly so that no two ships arrive and unload at the same time. Ed

I am led to understand that the Border Force will supply a certain number of staff - anything over that the port/operators must pay for. I would assume that providing your queue time at the border isn't impacting the operations of the ports or shipping there's very little incentive for either port or operator to take the extra costs. Particularly when they can just direct the blame for your delay at the Border Force.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All they could either open more booths, if there are any, or have other agency staff patrolling on foot and with dogs checking random vehicles and opening boots before people even get to the booths to allow those officers to only process the passports. If there are armed marshalls on board the ferries then they can also tour the car decks during the crossing to identify vehicles of interest which can then be directed by the shore staff into a separate channel for further investigation. Ed. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That’s my point there are only two booths and they are open they have the equipment required to scan the micro chip that’s in passport so unless you have government investment in the Border agency infrastructure you won’t see any improvements,there was already policemen with guns patrolling and Border agency staff looking at vehicles but it doesn’t stop the backlog of having only two booths with a maximum of four people scanning passports.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With freight the emphasis is more on customs and excise rather than borders and there are a whole host of computerised streamlined procedures in place which have been used for many years meaning for most carriers C&E is satisfied at source before they leave the yard rather than the point of exit. 

We still use custom seals & T.I.R, which is now electronic, there are movement reference numbers, there's the computerised transit system plus community transit procedures which means duties and VAT are suspended until the goods reach their destination with the onus very much on the receiver rather than the provider. These are global systems which use compatible Microsoft NET software enabling them to communicate with those more locally based.

We live in an electronic world where business communication is conducted rapidly rather than by pony express.

Every HGV entering the UK today is searched far more robustly than those leaving our shores. Are those ports slow?

The UK's biggest stumbling block is that these seal & reference numbers will all be re-checked rather than just those heading to non EU countries. This is where the hold ups will occur and why many logistics companies feel than in the long run there will be more of an even spread of freight movement across the channel ports rather than what is seen today.

EFTA countries enjoy the same freight freedoms without the same global restrictions EU members have. Again there are many who believe the UK will revert to something resembling this model, which they initiated in the early 1960's.

For the likes of us who travel by sea I think the changes will be subtle. Let's not forget that we already have a border, we're not part of Schengen I, II or III. The UK won't be subject to such an upheaval as either France or Spain would witness.

There is already a large visible presence in terms of police & canine accompanied Douanes not to mention the Securitas officers, Caen-Portsmouth is four times busier than Roscoff-Plymouth and there's hardly ever a hold up there. 

All they'll do for passenger traffic leaving the UK is adjust the minimum check in times, possibly to 90 minutes for everyone which is still a hell of a lot faster than what we already endure at airports.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found this Guardian article interesting - not because it's the Guardian, but because it's the opinion of the executive director of a logistics company which employs 6000 staff. It dates from November 2017.

One titbit relevant to discussion above:

'Pomlett told the Freight Transport Association conference in Dublin on Monday that delays in Dover would lead to a “calamitous situation”. It is calculated that an increase of just two minutes in the average time it takes trucks to clear customs could cause 17-mile tailbacks in the port town.'

Not sure how you get 17-mile tailbacks "in the ... town" but ...

The whole article is well worth a read, though, with mentions of the problems of the Irish border.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The potential changes at ports like Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth will be as nothing compared with the potential changes at ports like Cairnryan where ferries come in from Northern Ireland.  No checks there at all today because the ferries are coming from another part of the UK,  but what will happen in the future?  

If free movement of people across an open border continues from the Republic up into Ulster - and everyone  insists it must - then will there be passport checks at ports like Cairnryan searching for illegal immigrants trying to enter mainland UK up there via Ireland? 

I hope this isn't too political.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Movement of people across the UK borders will surely be subject to no more checks than at present.  As Jonno pointed out, we are not part of Schengen and there is no free (ie unchecked) movement of people now.  Sure, the rules about who can and can’t be admitted may change, but there ought to be no need for further checks.

The thing that currently has unchecked movement is goods, and that is where the main change will have to happen as far as checks are concerned.  This will affect both freight and tourist traffic alike, in that customs controls over what is brought into the country will be increased.  But in terms of immigration (people), I can’t see how there will need to be any increase in checks.  The checks are already there and already happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Gareth said:

Movement of people across the UK borders will surely be subject to no more checks than at present.  As Jonno pointed out, we are not part of Schengen and there is no free (ie unchecked) movement of people now.  Sure, the rules about who can and can’t be admitted may change, but there ought to be no need for further checks.

 

As Wortly has rightly pointed out there is one UK- EU border where there is free movement at present. Neither the UK nor Irish governments have been able to stop the "holiday sheep" fraud although they know it exists. Surely there will be no incentive to continue any UK-ROI or ROI-IOM ferry services in future when one can just drive into the North without any checks as has been promised and catch a ferry to the mainland from there. The link to the Irish press from John is interesting and could see an increase in container business for small UK ports.

Edited by G4rth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...