With record freight traffic volumes currently being handled between Dover and Calais following phenomenal growth of 20% over the past two years, the need for investment in additional capacity and resilience has become ever more pressing.
The Port of Dover, together with the Port of Calais and the Regional Council Nord-Pas de Calais - owner of the port - have announced that their ongoing work to deliver essential short term capacity enhancements has been supported with over €14 million of EU funding from the European Commission.
Recognising the growing importance of Dover and Calais as core ports within a key transport corridor connecting the UK with France and the rest of Europe, the partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2014 to cement long term commitment to delivering a shared vision of the future through the BRIDGE (Building the Resilience of International and Dependent Gateways in Europe) project.
BRIDGE is ensuring that Dover-Calais remains resilient in the face of significant market growth and in support of an effective and efficient European transport network and growing European trade along the corridor. This is being achieved through major investment in protecting, maximising and delivering essential short and long term capacity with enhanced flexibility and efficiency as well as exploring new development opportunities.
The funding received is for the first phase of the BRIDGE project, dedicated to short term improvements. Through the Calais Port 2015 and Dover Western Docks Revival projects, European support will also be sought in delivering the long term elements of BRIDGE.
Tim Waggott, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said: "The Port of Dover handles £100 billion (€130 billion) of trade each year on behalf of the UK and EU. With around 80% of that trade moving between Dover and Calais, it is absolutely vital that nationally and internationally, the importance of this bridge between the UK and Europe is understood and supported. I am therefore delighted that, with our own Department for Transport's support, the European Union has recognised this and the urgency of supporting us in delivering key short and long term capacity enhancements on this core trade route by granting us €14 million of funding."