The Port of Dover has announced another record year of freight traffic as Rt Hon Theresa May MP took the first step to establishing the UK's future economic relationship with business organisation CBI, the port's biggest trading partner, this week.
The Port handled 2.6 million freight vehicles in 2016 with freight volumes increasing by 32% in just the last four years.
Tim Waggott, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover, said: “As we continue to handle more UK trade, the Port welcomes the prime minister's statement on the Government’s headline negotiating position for Brexit. Greater certainty of the broad parameters is a positive step forward.
“Any changes brought forward to the country's trading relationship need to be mindful of the UK's absolute need to maintain the rapid transit of goods and passengers through Dover and our sister ports on the European mainland.
“The Port and the CBI remain clear that a barrier-free relationship with the EU – our largest, closest and most important trading partner – must be a critical outcome of the negotiations to ensure we make a success of Brexit.”
Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, commented on Brexit in The Telegraph: “Reaction to the departure of Britain’s EU ambassador earlier this week highlights the deep ongoing political divisions following the referendum. Business, however, is focussed on making a success of Brexit. Firms across the UK are determined to achieve an exit from the EU that enables our economy and communities to prosper.
“There are certainly no calls from the CBI for unnecessary delays. The business community is 100% committed to making this work, and work well. At the same time, we will make no apology for highlighting the complexity of the task facing the country or for setting out the steps needed to get Brexit right.”
Port of Dover started 2017 in a strong position as the Dover Harbour Board signed an agreement this month (January 2017) to incorporate the Port Services Division of George Hammond PLC into its wider Port business, securing the long term success of cargo operations within the Port of Dover through the creation of new facilities in Dover’s Western Docks.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK’s largest transport trade association with around 16,000 members, has also announced its support for the Prime Minister’s vision of Britain’s intended future relationship with European and global trading partners.