As part of its response to Brexit, Ports of Normandy has implemented a major programme of adaptations to its cross-Channel ferry terminals on the Caen-Ouistreham, Cherbourg and Dieppe sites. The European Commission has just approved one of the most sensitive points in these measures: the premises provided to house the veterinary and phytosanitary border inspection services (SIVEPs).
Faced with the demands of coping with Brexit, Ports of Normandy has set itself a target that is as clear as it is ambitious: to maintain the free flow of traffic through its three ports by organising the loading/unloading of ferries in the same turnaround time as currently, in spite of the introduction of controls that did not previously exist.
One of the most delicate issues to resolve concerns the control of goods of animal or plant origin and, in particular, live animals. These operations require specific facilities that cannot be improvised for the "SIVEPs" (veterinary and phytosanitary inspection services), namely temperature-controlled warehouses accessible by HGVs and equipped with unloading docks.
As initially these facilities needed to be ready in time for 29 March, Ports of Normandy and its delegatees, Caen-Normandy CCI for the Caen-Ouistreham terminal and SAS Port de Cherbourg for the Cherbourg terminal, decided to temporarily convert some existing buildings:
The Ouistreham and Dieppe SIVEPs are off-site, a few kilometres from the terminals,
The Cherbourg SIVEP is located in one of the port buildings.
For these facilities, an application was submitted to the European Commission for its approval on 15 December 2018, after which the Commission requested a large number of complementary documents.
At the end of March, the Commission made it known that it would be rejecting the proposal for the "Live animals" SIVEP at Dieppe, on the grounds that it was too close to the racecourse and could therefore lead to a temporary risk of contamination. Ports of Normandy therefore immediately filed another application, proposing to set up the temporary SIVEP in the Hangar d'Afrique building.
The European Commission has just given its approval for all the SIVEPs at Ports of Normandy's cross-Channel sites.
"This matter has set us the dual challenge of turning Brexit into a real opportunity to develop our cross-Channel traffic and of maintaining the quality of the transport of plants and animals – in particular the transport of horses, which are so closely linked to Normandy's identity. For the record, the Dieppe-Newhaven and Cherbourg-Poole routes carry almost 600 horses a year, while some 2,000 travel on the Ouistreham-Portsmouth ferries. This traffic is essential to the economic balance of these routes. This approval is therefore a successful first step and recognises the ability of Ports of Normandy's staff to adapt, for which I wholeheartedly congratulate them," declared Hervé Morin, President of Ports de Normandy and of Normandy Regional Council.