Dover gridlock ‘cleared’ as French blame Brexit for delays

The port of Dover reported operations returning to normal on Sunday as a massive backlog of holidaymakers was cleared.

The Kent port handled 72,000 passengers, which it estimated to be more than 200 miles of tourist and freight traffic combined.

Queues also built up at the Eurotunnel terminal at Folkestone with reports of holidaymakers being held up for 21 hours in traffic while attempting to head to France at the start of the summer getaway.

The Dover delays led to a war of words between French and UK officials, with both sides blaming each other.

The government said French authorities failed to provide enough border staff to check passports at Dover over the weekend.

But French transport minister Clement Beaune rejected this and highlighted additional border checks required by Brexit.

The Dover port said: “The backlog of tourist passengers that was generated on Friday has also now been cleared along with successfully getting Saturday’s holidaymakers off on their way. 

“With the entire port system working efficiently, including strong support from French border colleagues and ferries running through the night, the port demonstrated that its summer plan will work for the rest of the holiday period, as it did in clearing huge volumes of tourist and freight traffic to get back to normal by the early hours of Sunday morning.”

Port chief executive Doug Bannister said: “I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has turned this situation around, from the French and UK authorities to our ferry operators, Kent partners and our own port staff. 

“I am also incredibly grateful for the support and understanding that our customers and community have shown us during this challenging period. We all now owe it to them to ensure our summer plan is delivered in full for the rest of the holiday period.”

Additional French border control booths installed at Dover are now being fully utilised.

But travellers were advised to check with their ferry companies for updates and carry food, water and supplies for the journey to the port.

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.