The Channel is ready for Brexit

The Channel BU will feel the full force of the upcoming new UK border rules from 1 January. The final end-to-end Eastern Channel testing of check-in, signage, infrastructure, customs, and clearance procedures between the UK and the continent is now complete – and everything works.

“We now know that we can move goods from the UK into the continent, end to end from Dover to Calais. This week’s internal test of all Channel processes, signage and infrastructure proved that we have all the necessary systems in place, and we know how to operate them,” says Vice President and Head of DFDS’ BU Channel Filip Hermann.“

At the check-in booth in the UK port, we scan customer documents and share these digitally with the French customs authorities.

When the French customs authorities notice trucks that require a customs check upon entering France – for instance ones carrying phytosanitary sanitary goods like live animals, plants and animal products – these trucks get an orange dot in our system. On board, we show a list of the trucks’ customs status:

If the trucks get a green dot, no checks are needed.

Trucks with orange dots need to follow the signage to parking lots when they leave the vessel, where their documents and goods are checked.

“The test showed that if customers have their documents in order, and their goods aren’t phytosanitary, things shouldn’t take much longer than they do today. We have put immense efforts into getting every step of this new process tried and tested. Every week, around 30,000 freight units cross the Channel with us, and a vessel’s delay can clog up the entire system and create negative ripple effects for DFDS staff and customers alike,” Filip says.

“I can assure our customers and staff that DFDS is ready. It’s important for customers to know that if they don’t have their papers in order, we quite simply can’t ship for them. But if they need help with Customs, we can assist with that, and we offer a full end-to-end service including customs declarations, port services, ENS etc.” Filip says.

“Personally, I’d like to thank everyone involved in this final testing,” Filip says. “One team cannot do this alone. The test succeeded because of the well-orchestrated collaboration between all parties. So many parts of DFDS deserve credit for making our new processes on the Channel work and I’m impressed with how my colleagues deal with all the challenges thrown at them – not just related to Brexit, but also Covid-19. It’s true that when we see a problem in DFDS, we fix it, and this testing and the strong process we now have in place just goes to prove that.”