French Port Boss Calls ‘La Bullsh*t’ on Claims UK, France Not Ready for Clean Brexit

DOVER, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Lorry drivers board a ferry to Calais at the port of Dover on March 5, 2018 in Dover, England. The haulage industry faces an uncertain future while Brexit negotiations between the British government and the European Union continue. Many in the industry, which currently enjoys …
Jack Taylor/Getty

A French port chief has emphatically dismissed alarmist claims that there will be massive delays between Dover and Calais if the United Kingdom leaves the EU Customs Union in a no-deal Brexit.

“There are certain individuals in the UK who are whipping up this catastrophism for their own reasons. This has provoked a lot of concern but basically ‘c’est la bullsh**’,” Jean Marc Puissesseau, the president of Port Boulogne Calais, told The Telegraph on Sunday.

Mr Puissesseau has been saying that his port is ready for No Deal and that there would be no delays to freight since January, and dismissed allegations that his British colleagues are not ready, either.

“The British authorities have been doing a great deal to prepare. People say they are asleep but I can assure you that they are highly professional and they are ready,” he said.

“Nothing is going to happen the day after Brexit,” he assured the newspaper, adding: “Britain will be a third country, that’s all, and there is no reason why this should lead to any problems. If both sides do their homework traffic will be completely fluid.”

He explained that other countries’ hauliers are also up-to-speed and prepared for new customs procedures, saying: “I have just received a delegation of Polish hauliers — and they are the most important in Europe — and I can tell you that they are perfectly up to speed on everything that has to be done.”

Around 30 per cent of hauliers travel empty from Dover to Calais, which Mr Puissesseau said “will go straight to the green line and won’t need any clearance” while another 60 per cent “does not carry material that needs to be checked”.

The port chief expressed a relaxed attitude to hauliers initially bringing the wrong documents in the early days of a no-deal Brexit, saying: “Every now and then we will have to stop a haulier at Calais but not many. If we find some with the wrong paperwork in the first days: we’ll tell them you are bad boys, don’t do it again.”

No-deal preparations are ramping up since Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that the UK will leave the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal. This week, Mr Johnson instructed the Civil Service to make no-deal preparations “top priority”.

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