The Port of Dover warns of delays during peak season


Photo: ANP

The UK’s busiest port, Dover, is warning travelers to expect significant delays during the peak tourist season this summer. Despite the fact that the Port Authority has increased its capacity to transport more people to the European mainland, waiting times for passengers rise to two and a half hours on the first weekends of July 23.

The Port of Dover has worked with ferry companies and customs officials in recent months to double down on bus handling at the French border, including using additional bus lanes. There are also separate lanes for buses carrying passengers of multiple nationalities and departure points and for buses whose passengers are of the same nationality, such as schoolchildren from the UK or EU.

These measures are designed to prevent a repeat of recent delays that caused travelers to wait hours over Easter. However, vacationers traveling between Thursday and Sunday, which are peak days this summer, will still need about 90 minutes to cross border controls, said Port of Dover CEO Doug Bannister.

All problems with France have been settled, said Emma Ward, the port’s director of operations. It said officials from both sides had cooperated “at every step” to handle the traffic flows. Abby Penlington, director of Discover Ferries, said passengers who choose to travel by ferry from Dover can expect a smoother journey as a result.

The Port of Dover handles about 1.7 million passengers during the summer period. In addition, Dover handles more heavy goods vehicles than all other UK ports combined, with approximately 177km of freight traffic per day. However, due to the increasing regulatory burden, traffic flows at the port have not returned to pre-Brexit levels. Prior to the UK’s exit from the European Union, the port was able to handle 15,000 cars during peak days. Ward expects the number to be closer to 10,500 by Saturday.

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Megan Vasquez

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