They were a little nervous at the Rotterdam Port Authority last Monday. Will the 4th of January, the first normal business day since the UK left the European Union, be a bit “normal”? Or despite all the preparatory activities of the Port Authority, Customs, Rijkswaterstaat and other authorities, will the chaos remain in and around the port?
But, despite the chaos in Brexit decision-making in recent years, it was organized in the port of Rotterdam on Monday. Neither chaos, nor long traffic jams, nor large numbers of drivers who were not allowed on ferries because their papers were not against Brexit. “It did not go very smoothly, but it went well,” says a spokesman for the Port Authority. “It has almost gone smoothly,” says a spokesperson for Portbase, the company that companies have to register with if they want to export goods to the UK and where they have to report their status.
No truck driver misses his ferry
Port Authority’s Leon Williams says only a handful of drivers did not have their official papers on Monday. As previously announced, they were directed to one of the designated parking spaces in the port area and were given the opportunity to contact their customers and get their forms in order.
It worked, says Williams. Ultimately, he says, there was no truck driver who missed the ferry on Monday. Most of the approximately 700 available parking spaces remained unused. According to Portbase, the majority of the trade to be exported has been recorded to the UK. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 31 additional reports were received from companies, and there were 53 reports on Mondays. “These are the companies that finally arrived,” the spokesperson points out.
It’s hard to say if everything will go well in the coming days and weeks. Williams does not rule out that this will not be the case. But the course of events on Monday is hopeful, especially as the ferries have been so busy. Despite the lockdown in England and despite the strikes on the eve of Brexit – in both England and the European Union countries, much has been taken in fear of the consequences of Brexit – according to the Ports Authority and Portbase, it was the case at most. A little less busy than other working days. The two evening transits of the Stena Line were completely full.
A spokesperson said the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority had also passed in the early days after Brexit. Since Brexit came into effect, the service is required to check live animals as well as perishable goods destined for the UK.
On your way to England, no papers? In Vlaardingen, you can visit the Brexit waiting area
A shelter for trucks is being built in Vlaardingen. Drivers are referred there who want to take a ferry to England but do not have their papers in order.