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Port of Dover Summer Getaway Goes According to Plan

Dover, UK: 9 August 2023

The Port of Dover has seen its extensive planning pay off with a successful start to the summer getaway, helping 860,000 passengers on their holidays so far, with border processing times averaging less than 40 minutes during peak hours.

Since the summer holidays commenced on Friday 21st July, the Port has helped 859,239 passengers, 201,275 cars, 4,199 coaches and 96,525 freight vehicles through Dover. These volumes confirm Dover’s position as the UK’s number one port for the summer getaway, as holidaymakers opt to travel via the country’s shortest sea crossing to France, enjoying the choice of three operators and the flexibility of multiple sailings per hour.

Meticulous preparation by the Port of Dover, its ferry operators, and Police aux Frontières, together with all other operational partners, saw average border processing times of 40 minutes on the first weekend of the summer holidays (21-23 July), 35 minutes on the second (28-30 July) and 23 minutes on the third (4-6August). The maximum processing time planned for of up to 2.5 hours was confined to the morning of the busiest day (Saturday 29th July) and did not exceed 90 minutes across the other two peak getaway weekends.

Doug Bannister, CEO, Port of Dover, says: “This holiday period was a significant test, as it was Dover’s first full summer getaway under post-Brexit border controls and with traffic volumes back up to pre-pandemic levels. Despite huge demand, we have succeeded in getting passengers and vehicles away well within our planned timeframes.

“Even at the busiest times, Dover remains a very popular choice, for good reason. Our advance arrival time of 2-3 hours prior to your sailing is similar to an airport, but our process is simpler and often faster and less stressful. With us, your baggage stays with you throughout your journey, rather than having to be recovered upon your arrival. A Dover sailing also means having to pass border control only once, upon departure. You’re therefore ready to continue your journey the moment you drive off the ferry in France, rather than having to join another queue at immigration. Lastly, the anxiety of missing a departure is removed because we will place you on the next available sailing.”

Bannister adds: “Alongside our thanks to our operational partners – P&O Ferries, DFDS Ferries and Irish Ferries, Police aux Frontières, National Highways and Kent Police – we wish to reiterate our special thanks to the Dover community for their understanding on the busiest summer weekends since 2019. In addition to securing the best possible passenger experience, minimising community disruption has been the core purpose of our extensive planning, including measures such as ensuring the resourcing of key town junctions with traffic officers during the peak hours. We’re grateful to residents for their support during these popular weekends, as we work hard to keep the local network moving. We will carry on liaising with local stakeholders, such as Kent Resilience Forum and Dover District Council, to serve the local community’s interest.”

Commenting on the plans put in place by the Port of Dover and its operational partners for summer 2023, Dover District Council Leader Kevin Mills said: “I’m grateful to the teams at the Port of Dover and the Kent Resilience Forum for putting in place the proactive traffic management we called for. Being mindful that the local community was impacted during isolated periods, the summer plan has been deployed successfully so far, and we have not seen a repeat of the issues experienced on local roads at Easter and in summer 2022,. These busy days are predictable, as Dover is a critical international gateway, so these measures need to be in place every time we see peak travel periods. That way, the Port and ferry operators can deliver a better service for their passengers, and local communities can go about their business. We look forward to working with the Port of Dover and other local stakeholders to deliver a long-term and permanent solution that supports our local community and enables Kent to remain a key travel hub connecting the United Kingdom to mainland Europe.”

The Port of Dover gives the following advice to passengers to ensure they have the best start to their holidays this summer: 

  • Allow plenty of time for your journey, but do not arrive more than three hours before your allotted sailing.
  • If you do experience any issues, rest assured, you will be placed on the next available sailing.  
  • Travel to the Ferry Terminal via main routes only to avoid causing traffic delays for yourself and local residents. 
  • Do not arrive at the Port without a booking.  
  • Have sufficient food, snacks and entertainment with you to ensure the most comfortable journey. 
  • Have passports open and ready before border controls to allow the quickest possible transit and reduce the waiting time for other vehicles. 

For more information and summer travel advice, visit: 


For further press information and images

Port of Dover

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

M: +44 (0)7741 164 971


8020 Communications  

T: +44 (0)20 7664 6310  


Notes to Editors

Passenger and traffic volumes over the peak summer getaway weekends were as follows:

notes to editors

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.