The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says a warning of 15-mile queues at the Port of Calais, if border checks are introduced after Brexit, should be a wake-up call for the British and EU27 governments.

As the leading membership organisation representing the entire logistics industry, FTA has been highlighting the possible risks of introducing border checks at Dover.  Now for the first time, French officials have revealed the potential impact of such changes on the flow of traffic into the Port of Calais.

The Deputy Mayor of Calais, Philippe Mignonet, told the BBC Today programme this morning (15th February), that the introduction of border checks at Calais could result in traffic queues of up to 15 miles at the French port.  The warnings of long tailbacks have highlighted what is at stake, not only for UK business but for exporters based in the 27 countries of the EU.

FTA’s Deputy Chief Executive, James Hookham says this, once again, proves the absolute necessity for frictionless trade with the EU:

FTA has been warning for some time of the potential risks of the introduction of border checks at Dover and the importance of doing everything possible to keep Britain trading.  Now we can see there are similar concerns about gridlock on the French side of the border.   The Government and our EU negotiating partners need to take these issues seriously and prioritise practical trade arrangements.

FTA has written to the Prime Minister setting out the key objectives the UK must now place at the forefront of negotiations, in order to allow exporters and importers to continue working and avoid a catastrophic breakdown in this country’s trade with the EU.

“British logistics companies are the best in the world and they are on standby to do whatever is needed to make our new trading arrangements with the EU work successfully.  I have no doubt they will find a way to keep the UK supplied with the goods everyone needs and to allow British firms to continue exporting, but at what cost?   Now is the time for political speculation and idealism to end.  We need clear decisions taken urgently, to keep Britain trading through the expected consequences of a tough Brexit.”

FTA is taking its message to the heart of Europe’s institutions, by organising a major event in partnership with the Ports of Dover and Calais, to brief MEPs, their advisors and staff working for the European Commission on the importance of these issues.

Efficient logistics are vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than eight million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc.

A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.