France ready for no-deal Brexit after tests at French operator's terminals

17 September 2019

France is ready for a no-deal Brexit after spot tests of lorries at Brittany Ferries' Portsmouth and Caen-Ouistreham ferry terminals said French Economy and Finance minister Gérald Darmanin.

The controls on 13 September of lorries arriving in France as if a hard Brexit were already in place were successful, Mr Darmanin said. 'France is ready, has been since March and is even more so today', he said, while expressing 'some concern' at the way the UK was dealing with exit from the EU. He believed this would not cause traffic hold-ups in France.

Brittany ferries Managing Director Jean-Marc Roué was more cautious. He recognised that sanitary and veterinary controls could also create bottlenecks. Risks of delays would be at an absolute minimum but there was always a possibility of computer bugs or vehicles that had not submitted customs declarations.

To achieve maximum traffic flows with 80% of lorries, non-French transporters must declare paperwork to customs via a new Internet transport system before undertaking their journey. According to the Normandy region food, agricultural and forestry body, 185 new phytosanitary posts are to be created nationally.

Over the coming weeks Brittany Ferries, which has been preparing for the tests for a year, will continue spot controls in all its French and British terminals starting with Roscoff, Le Havre, Cherbourg and Saint-Malo.