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Dover Delivers a Very Merry Christmas at the End of a Fruitful Year


The Port of Dover, the UK’s busiest Port, is experiencing a thriving end to a successful year for its cargo operation and ferry services, as they enjoy a bustling period ahead of Christmas.

The Port’s busy cargo terminal is currently booming with perishable cargo for the Christmas rush, including melons, grapes, and bananas. Meanwhile, Dover’s Eastern Docks is flowing with trucks carrying goods to stock shops, restaurants, and supermarket shelves for the festive season, and is looking forward to welcoming passengers bound for their Christmas trips and ski holidays.

The Port of Dover’s year in travel and trade, in numbers

Since January 1:

  • 29,108 miles of freight, car and coach traffic has been processed through the Port, a huge sum that underlines the efficiency of the operation based here; processing a distance that stretches beyond the circumference of the globe (24,901 miles), in just 0.68 square miles of land.
  • 8.4 million passengers have travelled through the Port – with over 2m passengers passing through the Port during the 6-week summer holiday period alone, returning Dover towards its pre-pandemic tourist volumes; one of the first travel gateways to achieve this.
  • The Port of Dover ferry terminal handles £144bn worth of UK trade and 33% of the UK’s trade with the EU, every year.
  • The Port of Dover’s cargo terminal imported 148 million bananas and 9 million melons into the UK.
  • The cargo terminal also saw a doubling of grain export volumes from 2021 – to 81,500 tonnes.

Commenting, Doug Bannister, Chief Executive Officer at the Port of Dover, said:

“It has been a storied year at the Port, as ever; with records broken, milestones hit, and new partnerships formed. After the challenges of the Easter getaway, our collaboration with operational partners ensured a smooth summer season and a return to our pre-pandemic tourist volumes – one of the first travel hubs to do so – as holidaymakers continue to choose the country’s shortest sea crossing to France.”

“We also delivered the message of Dover’s value and policy needs to party conferences in Autumn, formed partnerships with best-in-class universities to incorporate AI into our daily operations and digitalise our Port, and took a huge step forward in becoming the UK’s first green shipping corridor. Meanwhile, the Port of Dover Cargo terminal continues to go from strength to strength – handling its largest-ever amount of fresh produce last winter season – with 31 vessel calls between December and March – with other thriving commercial partnerships cultivated that connect the South East and the world with construction materials, fresh produce, project cargo and agri-bulks.”

“The Port of Dover is also looking ahead to the opportunities and challenges 2024 will bring – launching the public consultation of our strategic masterplan – Port of Dover 2050 –  welcoming passengers bound for the Olympics in July, kicking off two significant projects to grow our business at both the Western and Eastern Docks, and working with UK and European Authorities to shape the EU entry-exit system to mitigate risks of a suboptimal implementation currently due in Autumn 2024.”

Emma Ward, Chief Operations Officer at the Port of Dover, said:

“Christmas is a hugely important time for all of us at the Port of Dover. The current pre-Christmas rush signifies the crescendo from a strong year for trade and travel through the Port, as Dover helps to deliver a very merry Christmas to the United Kingdom.”

“We at the Port also remember the power of community this time of year; reminiscing about the challenges of December 2020 when Dover pulled together with the Kent community and our operational partners to look after the stranded HGV drivers who could not get home for Christmas that year. Each festive season, we remember the community spirit we saw and the importance of thanking those who work hard throughout the year to deliver for the UK – freight drivers and seafarers, the Port’s own staff, our colleagues at P&O, DFDS, Irish Ferries, Police aux Frontières, Kent Police and Border Force – and of course Dover residents for their local support. We wish all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”


For further press information and images

Port of Dover

T: +44 (0) 1304 240 400 Ext. 4410

M: +44 (0)7741 164 971


About Port of Dover   

The Port of Dover is the busiest international ferry port in the UK, with two million cars and 11 million passengers passing through the Port every year. Dover also processes 2.4 million trucks per year, more than all other UK ports. In total, the Port of Dover deals with £144bn of trade in goods each year, and 33% of the UK’s trade with the EU, supporting businesses across the nation.   

With a cargo business handling fresh produce, containers, project cargo, general cargo, grain and Ro-Ro traffic operating from a state-of-the-art terminal next to the world’s busiest shipping lane and on the quickest sea route to Europe, Dover is building for the future. In addition, Dover is the UK’s second busiest cruise port, welcoming more than 25 cruise lines and 200,000 guests each year. The Port also has a marina and property business primed to benefit from a new waterfront.   

The Port of Dover holds ambitious net zero targets, placing it at the vanguard of decarbonisation within the UK ports industry. More information on the targets can be found here. The Port’s focus on sustainability is driving it forward, enabling the team to keep the Port of Dover at the heart of international trade and tourism, and contributing value as a key gateway, employer, business and community partner.