As I write, the summer peak ferry traffic at Dover has seen thousands of unhappy travellers caught up in hold-ups and congestion, the causes of which are several.
The principle one being increased security controls due to terrorism in cities across Europe, especially Paris and Nice. The Dover-Calais crossing bore the brunt of the security fall-out from these tragedies with traffic jams of over 12 hours seizing up the road approaches to Dover with cars moving hardly a mile in that time. The ferry companies did their best and security, at least at Dover, was eased, but there were reports of ships leaving lightly loaded as vehicles were virtually static at security barriers and on slip roads.
Shortage of security staff, especially at Calais, was also an accusation and roadworks and poor police control on the UK side were also criticised. Given the scale of the problems over a 24 hour period at the busiest time of the year, I believe the ferries coped well to clear the horrendous backlog. P&O, Stena and DFDS also pointed out their other UK-Continent sailings suffered little inconvenience and ships out of Hull and Harwich were on time and often with space.
One route which must have benefitted from the congestion was Newhaven-Dieppe. There are reports the route, supported by a French local government subsidy, is to be guaranteed for another four years, I assume that is unless the UK exit from the EU does not upset that prospective deal. In fact I would not be surprised if the knock-on effect over the next few years of the traumatic scenes at Dover and Calais seen by millions on TV does not boost the alternative Channel routes, Brexit issue notwithstanding. May it even resurrect Ramsgate-Ostend I wonder?
I include an image of that strategic link between the Scotland and Northern Ireland, European Highlander at Larne from Cairnryan. British politicians are saying there will be no impact on the situation of Northern Ireland as and when the UK leaves the EU, but I’m not sure how they can say it with any certainty.
A few years down the line there will have to be major adjustments to international law and border issues if there is not to be an EU boundary around Scotland, should it not wish to leave the EU as its voting record indicates.
And an EU border that may isolate Ulster from the rest of Ireland will make for special diffi culty for Larne-Cairnryan.