Normandy Ports ready for Brexit confirms Hervé Morin in London and Dublin

Normandy Council has been busy preparing for Brexit since autumn 2017. It has organized working meetings with customs and agriculture administrations, along with shipping companies and operators, to establish the facilities and procedures required for Brexit and to be as ready as possible for the different leave scenarios. In October 2018, Normandy Council chairman Hervé Morin urged the French government on several occasions to adopt exceptional measures.

As part of this effort, the Council chairman, first deputy chairwoman in charge of economic development Sophie Gaugain and several major maritime stakeholders in Normandy, including Ports of Normandy, the Logistique Seine Normandie network, Soget, Brittany Ferries and the Normandy Development Agency, travelled for a second time to London and Dublin on 22-23 January 2018 to meet with their port and logistics counterparts and finalize the last preparations for the Brexit deadline of 30 March 2019.

The main aim for Normandy Council is to ensure that the ports of Cherbourg, Dieppe and Caen-Ouistreham – three major cross-Channel stakeholders west of the Dover Strait, with two million passengers and 200,000 HGVs every year – remain totally operational despite any new constraints resulting from the UK leaving the European Union. The ports need to be in a position that enables them to keep existing customers but also draw new traffic from Ireland and the UK.

Hervé Morin informed London and Dublin that Ports of Normandy will be ready as of 30 March to deal with the upshots of Brexit, even a hard Brexit, thanks to three action plans:

  • Cherbourg, Dieppe and Caen-Ouistreham ports will be equipped with the necessary border control facilities. Applications for the approval of new control points at Dieppe, Ouistreham and Cherbourg were submitted on 15 December last year. Ports of Normandy plans to invest almost €30m in this project, given that Hervé Morin has obtained both an agreement from the French government on simplified regulatory measures and substantial co-financing from the European Commission. The final configurations for each port are now established. They reflect the characteristics of each location, notably the mix of Ireland/UK traffic at Cherbourg, the density of traffic at Ouistreham and the restricted space at the city-bound port of Dieppe.
  • All three ports will have an adequate number of customs and sanitary officials. The French prime minister reassured Hervé Morin of this on 18 January 2019 during a working meeting with the chairpersons of regional councils.
  • The information exchange and goods flow management systems of the ports will be adapted and harmonized with the British facilities. A Cargo Community System shared by the Norman ports and dedicated to Ro-Ro traffic has been tested. A version that will be up and running by 30 March is in progress.