‘We are ready for Brexit’, says Port of Liverpool boss

A new Brexit deal is on the table and its success is in the balance but Peel Ports says it has the capability to help minimise any disruption cause by the UK’s departure from the EU. Tony McDonough reports

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The Port of Liverpool is ready for Brexit, says Peel Ports. Picture by HowardLiverpool


Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports says it fully prepared to help the minimise the possible disruption caused by a departure from the European Union on October 31.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a new Brexit deal had been agreed by the EU. However, whether or not he secures approval from MPs in Parliament at a special sitting on Saturday remains in the balance.

But whatever the outcome Peel Ports chief executive Mark Whitworth says its port operations at Liverpool Heysham and Sheerness (London Medway) now have the capability to limit the impact the UK’s departure from the EU on October 31 is expected to have on trading. 

Vital role

With a combined capacity to handle one million RORO (roll on, roll off) units per year, the ports could play a vital role in ensuring cargo flow freely through UK ports as trade is expected to be challenging across the Dover Straits following Brexit.

All three ports have already taken steps to improve resilience ahead of Brexit. These include increased throughput capacity for HGV trailers and storage to support smooth trade operations by RORO ferries.

Peel says that transporting non-perishable freight unaccompanied is faster and more cost effective than relying on driver-accompanied hauliers – of whom there are an acute shortage of across the continent – to transport cargo from Europe to the UK and vice versa.

Pinch point

Mr Whitworth said: “Our industry must address the risks of congestion. 75% of the trailer freight market between north west Europe and Britain passed through the pinch point of the Dover Straits.

The solution we are putting forward is a simple one, which will help maintain smooth trade and also offer increased value to cargo owners. Unaccompanied trailers offer more flexibility for longer sea crossings, taking advantage of capacity at ports other than Dover, such as London Medway.

These journeys allow for clearance checks to be completed without the pressure of a 90 minute crossing increasing throughput and capacity. Using RORO also helps to alleviate the critical lack of drivers available on both sides of the continent.

“Elsewhere at our ports at Heysham and Liverpool, we have unrestricted access to the Irish Sea with daily services transporting cargo across the Irish Sea Hub. We know that these practical solutions will help our customers to mitigate the risk which Brexit could bring.”

Logistics providers

He added: “We believe cargo owners and their logistics providers can ensure their supply chain is protected, regardless of the regulatory framework around Brexit, by embracing RORO and alternative ports across the UK.”

In August this year Peel Ports Group was officially accredited with the internationally recognised quality mark of Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) by HMRC, marking a significant milestone in its path towards Brexit.

The accreditation recognises that a business’ customs controls and procedures are efficient and meet EU benchmarks to safeguard goods passing through the international supply chain.

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