The secret government plan for Humber in event of a no-deal Brexit

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 3 Dec 2018

Secret government talks could see a small Humber port play a vital role in bringing important medical supplies into the country in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Government ministers are rumoured to be working on secret plans to use the port at Killingholme, near Grimsby, to avoid possible delays at the crowded Port of Dover.

There are fears that a no-deal Brexit could lead to severe customs delays at the busy south coast port – leaving Britain without access to critical medicines.

According to The Sunday Times newspaper, the Government’s Border Delivery Group is working on solutions to the Dover dilemma, and has earmarked the Humber port of Killingholme as an alternative.

It is not the first time concerns have been raised of gridlock at Dover.

The Port of Killingholme, near Grimsby. (Grimsby Telegraph)

Hull Live reported in September that northern ports such as Hull and Goole could face an influx of cargo ships if Brexit talks turn sour.

Stephen Silvester, inward investment manager at East Riding Council, said: "As evidenced by ABP's recent investments in container infrastructure, the Humber Ports are already thriving and have the capacity to handle more trade post Brexit.

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“The Port of Goole as the gateway to the Humber and the start of the 'Energy Estuary', is particularly well equipped to support this growth due to its inland position, proximity to the main motorway network and oven ready employment land such as Capitol Park which has Enterprise Zone status.”

More than 2.5m containers passed through the Port of Dover in 2017 from across Europe. Most of these were accompanied by truck drivers.

The Port of Dover. (Getty Images)

Bosses in Dover recently warned that a two-minute delay at the port could cause 17-mile lorry tailbacks on the nearby M20.

Peter Baker, of PRB Associates, said any shift from Dover could be accommodated easily because there was spare capacity on routes across the North Sea.

He calculated that as much as a fifth of container trade from Dover and the Channel tunnel could move to alternative crossings.

It is hoped an increase in port traffic in Goole could have a knock-on effect to the whole town.

There are fears queues like this, on the M20 near Dover, could become a familiar site. (PA)

But now it appears Humber ports south of the estuary could also be called on to ease demand on Dover.

Whether it is Hull, Goole or Killingholme though, one thing is clear.

The Humber’s ports look set to play an important role in seeing the country through its complicated exit from the European Union.

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