Dover, UK: 15 June, 2023 – Following the implementation of new operational measures, the Port of Dover successfully processed 15,000+ tourist vehicles, including coaches, over the peak May half-term weekend, with the average wait time not exceeding 45 minutes during the Port’s busiest period.
So far this year, the Port has experienced an increase of over 200% in coach traffic, and a 65% increase in passenger volumes, compared to the first five months of 2022, highlighting Dover’s attraction as the route of choice for the coach industry.
Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover, says: “Through a collaborated effort with our three ferry operators, coach associations and Police aux Frontières (PAF), we efficiently managed peak traffic flows over the May half-term. Overall, passenger wait times were as predicted and the new measures implemented proved to be extremely effective; even during the challenging period on the Saturday morning of the peak weekend when French border colleagues were resolving their temporary IT issues, the maximum wait did not exceed two hours.
“Coach passengers who travelled through the Port over half-term were the first to experience our new processing system and increased resource levels. Now, we are focused on the upcoming summer period and planning the implementation of even more improvements, including the addition of a permanent coach border processing facility to replace contingency measures in the buffer zone. This in turn will improve the border capacity for cars travelling onto ferries.
“We are excited to welcome passengers to the Port this summer and ease their journey through the Port before their departure for Europe. Passengers continue to enjoy swift journey times; with no leg room restrictions, as much luggage as you can fit in a car, on board entertainment and no further checks on disembarkation, passengers can drive directly off to their destination, making ferry travel via Dover the best choice for families this summer.”
Graham Vidler, CEO, Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, says: “We worked closely with the Port in the run-up to May half-term to ensure the needs of coach operators and passengers were fully understood. We welcome the Port’s response to our calls for more French border control staff and improved coach facilities, and recognise the Port’s determination to deliver a much better customer experience.
“A significant amount of preparation has gone into creating an effective plan for handling coaches and half-term demonstrated how the plan works. The Confederation of Passenger Transport will continue to work with our Dover partners to ensure the coach industry continues to benefit from investment in infrastructure and can enjoy a successful summer.”
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Notes to editors:
Recent infrastructure changes made at the Port of Dover:
For Summer 2022
- The Port repositioned internal traffic routes to improve vehicle flows
- The Port expanded its team of passenger champions to provide help and information
- The Port provided additional welfare such a toilets and refreshment facilities ahead of border controls
- The Port developed an hour-by-hour projection for every day and provided it to port partners for them to plan their resources and processes
For Easter 2023
- Following the challenges of the first weekend, ferry operators worked with coach customers to spread travel demand and smooth peak times
- The Port installed additional border control infrastructure to enhance coach processing capacity by 66%, utilising two of the incremental PAF positions installed for Summer 2022
- Police Aux Frontières fully resourced the additional infrastructure
- Plans included improving flow rates for all traffic types, including cars, coaches and HGVs
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.