Government leak shows no-deal Brexit could see cross-channel freight trade drop by 87% 1 year ago

Government leak shows no-deal Brexit could see cross-channel freight trade drop by 87%

But don't worry, a stiff upper lip will see us through

A border force document obtained by Sky News says trade across the English Channel could drop by as much as 87 per cent in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

That assumption is part of a contingency plan put together to predict the worst possible outcomes of a no-deal Brexit.

A slide from a PowerPoint presentation named "Freight Traffic Contingency Assumptions" revealed the projection that cross-channel freight trade could operate at as little as 13 per cent of its current activity.

It reads: "The reasonable worst case flow through the Short Straits is reduced to between 13 per cent and 25 per cent of current capacity for a period of between 3-6 months", referring to freight traffic between Dover and Calais, as well as through the channel tunnel.


Sky News' Faisal Islam reports that these numbers come from a secret document dating from late November. They were not in the official public guidance around Brexit, but are believed to have been discussed in Cabinet last month.

After the initial shock to the system, cross-channel trade is expected to return to a “new normal” level of activity, which could be anywhere between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of its current level.

Border Force slides predict that will last "until significant changes are made to improve border arrangements such as automation”.

The document also suggests that Agrifood exports (up to 15 per cent of goods trade) would no longer be able to travel from Calais, and would have to move to ports with an existing Border Inspection Post, such as Zeebrugge or Rotterdam.

However, it remains "unclear whether they will have sufficient capacity , causing delay at these locations".