‘Not Afraid of Brexit’: Calais Ready for No Deal, ‘No Delays’ Says Port Chief

CALAIS, FRANCE - MARCH 06: A line of trucks snakes along an access road leading towards the port of Calais on March 06, 2019 in Calais, France. Delays have increased as customs agents work-to-rule in a bid to receive more pay, ahead of the prospects of a demanding period during …
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The deputy mayor of Calais has said that he is ready for a clean, no deal Brexit, saying, “If everyone does their jobs properly, there won’t be any problems.”

Jean-Marc Puissesseau told Sky News that Calais has been planning for a customs border between his EU port and Brexit Britain for over a year, introducing new customs processes including internet-based customs declarations and a revamped area for the small percentage of lorries that will need to park and be checked.

“We have been planning for a no-deal Brexit for more than a year so we have been improving the flow of traffic. We started the building work in January with a deadline of having it done by 29 March,” Mr Puissesseau said.

“We should not be afraid of Brexit. For the hauliers, the only difference is having e-declarations before they leave the country. When they are on the ferry, they will know whether they are going to leave via the green or the orange channel.”

“We don’t think they will face any delays,” the port chief said, explaining that more than 90 per cent of hauliers will use the green channel with nothing to declare and no controls.

Mr Puissesseau said with confidence of the rest of the haulage using the orange lane, “In the other 10%, some will get checked. That’s normal.”

“The processes in the port of Calais are like a chain. All the links should come together, whether that is the ferry companies, the police, the border force, or the port itself. If everyone does their jobs properly, there won’t be any problems,” he said.

The port chief made similar statements in January and December after Brexit scare stories that in the event of a no-deal, Calais, one of the UK’s major haulage entrances to the continent, would hold up traffic for miles both sides of the English Channel, performing exhaustive customs checks.

The House of Commons voted to rule out a no deal exit and to extend Article 50 after MPs voted down Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal for a second time last month; otherwise the UK was scheduled to leave the EU tomorrow, Friday the 29th of March.

The European Commission announced on Monday that all of the EU’s preparatory work for a no-deal Brexit was completed, in what it said was the “increasingly likely [event] that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April” — the European Council’s agreed extension date, given to Prime Minister May to attempt to pass her deal in a possible third vote.

Brussels’ chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier told the UK in March that even if the House of Commons votes against a clean break, it “does not prevent it from happening” and advised the nation’s adminstrators to “finalise preparations for No Deal.”

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