Drivers to face de facto Brexit border in Kent

If there are going to be these enormous queues of lorries bacause the UK can’t get its act together how will this affect private citizens trevelling to/from France?

Do people appreciate the irony of there being a de facto border on the mainland of the UK around Kent? How will this affect ports such as Newhaven, Portsmouth, Poole, Plymouth, Harwich, and oethers?

It’s not really a border though, is it? - If you are doing anything other than the commercial export of goods to the EU you won’t notice a thing - unless, that is, you get caught in the queue of lorries on the M20

I must admit I worry more about the effect on Portsmouth as that is the port I normally use.

However I’m quite amused by the way people are tying themselves in knots over this, and have zero sympathy for the good denizens of Kent I’m afraid as they voted strongly for Brexit.


I couldn’t agree more.

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I would definitely be more concerned about the effects on the smaller ports, which simply don’t have the infrastructure to cope with logjams. Vehicle density on the roads of the UK is an issue in normal, unfettered access times, I can only imagine what hell it would wreak if transport vehicles are forced to back up on access roads into port cities/towns due to increased processing times at the borders in general. I imagine that similar issues will hit the French, Belgium and Dutch ports too though. For France, outside of Calais, I don’t recall that many of the port towns that connect to the UK have any significant traffic management infrastructure, but to be fair, I haven’t used any of them in the last 10 years.

Cherbourg might be OK as they have that loop of the N13 which takes traffic around town - and probably if necessary some sort of processing/holding area could be constructed fairly easily.

St Malo, Ouistreham or Le Havre would be hopeless because the existing roads all go through the towns - but I don’t know how much freight comes through them, probably not huge amounts compared with Calais.

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…".those that sow the wind shall reap the worldwind", no doubt the good citizens of Kent will chew on that as their county’s main roads grind to a halt,!

Something I have always thought about the Leave vote, managing all that anger when things go pear-shaped will be quite a challenge.

Surely the real problem creating queues of trucks is that there seem to be far more trucks wishing to travel than the maximum capacity that the ferry companies are currently providing.
There are long queues on both sides of the channel now, but at present the post 1/1/21 checks are not yet needed. So nothing has changed yet documentation wise, but there are long queues. Therefore the problem has to be one of there currently being more trucks wishing to cross the channel than the transport companies can manage.
I wouldn’t dream of driving my car to Calais ‘on spec’ without a reservation for a specific sailing.
Surely the answer is to introduce a similar advance reservation system for goods vehicles.

As a retired Continental Truck Driver I’m amused at many of the comments on a subject that they clearly know nothing about. You only have to go back to 1993 as before that all goods were subject to customs which involved obtaining pre registered documentation to cross borders and clearance at the destination country. The implementation of The Community Customs code(1992) did for many UK hauliers who could not compete (level playing field? sic) with East European rates resulting in the current state of affairs where most goods are brought into the UK by Foreign lorries. Brexit means a return to pre 1992 regulation, we coped then, we will now.


Pre-1992 there was much less demand for all sorts of goods, and lower expectations. There’s also the small matter of there being an extra 10 million people in the UK now compared to 1990.

I’m sure the plucky englanders will cope - most of them and particularly the richer ones. But with food poverty having risen hugely in recent years this will cause a lot more misery if it impacts on prices.


Well it’s certainly nothing to do with Brexit - move along nothing to see here.

Who would have thought this Banana Republic corrupt government would make an absolute disaster of implementing the Will of the People who were sold on the insistence that the mining of unicorn droppings would replace the funding gap of pulling away from the world’s largest trading block.


I don’t have time for a long answer but the problem is less the regulation in itself (though that is a problem) but rather that it will be introduced overnight - it’s the “sudden shock” aspect which is difficult.

Indeed, 1993 is a very different place than 2020


Coping is not usually a sign of great achievement. :wink:


There are 2 problems with your view here Philip:

  1. It assumes that the world has not changed much since the early 1990s, but that’s not true. The UK economy has more than doubled in size during its EU membership - and especially since the development of the single market, a much higher proportion of this much larger economy is involved in international trade rather than domestic consumption.
  2. The answer that the UK will cope is an answer to the wrong question. Of course it will cope - the question is at what cost to the wellbeing of its people?

I remember operation stack whilst trying to get to france a few years back and that part of Kent was gridlocked with vehicles especially lorries. Every road, lane was just full. Whether operation Brock is going to be enough we’ll all get to see.

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It has much more than doubled.
Inflation adjusted graph (about 3x growth since 1970)

A lot of the growth has been in services but you are right - the volume of import and export trade has certainly increased considerably as well.

In 1993 1,107,246 lorries passed through the port of Dover (source), compared with 2,397,270 in 2019 (in fact the two previous years were higher with 2017 being the peak year at 2,601,162).

So, trade is 2½ times the volume, probably with a move towards more complex loads with multiple products from multiple sources in a single shipment, and you are trying to go from a situation where comparatively few shipments need clearance to a situation where all of them do almost overnight. Throw new IT systems into the mix which people do not know how to use and which will inevitably be buggy and you have a perfect storm.

Huge lorries getting stuck on the small village roads, lots of arm waving by locals and police to assist with ‘extraction’ :woman_shrugging:

Don’t worry Brexit will soon put pay to that level of decadent growth.


Yes 2 1/2 times the parked up lorries :upside_down_face: