Sunday, 28 February 2021
Sea Pictures from DOVER ....
Dover early morning....
Dover Sunrise: The early ferry arriving at a misty Port of Dover as the sun rises in the distance above Calais.
Dover Sunrise : Seagull gliding across Dover Harbour and heading into the rising sun on chilly morn ...
On the same day as YM Evolution dropped close by below...the Cosco Shipping giant Pisces also came right in close to shore. That's her above. Unfortunately at this earlier time, the visibility was poor, with grey-blue haze everywhere...so we just look at her here in the distance across the lingering Disney Magic.
YM Evolution: another pic above there of the YM Evolution following on from the pic just below. This time showing the pilot boat returning in the freezing blistering conditions. The chill factor was a shocker that day...looking over the top of the YM Evolution you can just about, just about, see the frozen shivering hills of France...see also below.
Last year I wrote to the Chancellor to ask for the return of duty-free and the Brexit boost that could bring to our port, ferry companies and cruise ships. So in Parliament I welcomed those regulations for the return of duty-free and the opportunities that brings on the Channel Crossing.
As a young woman, I enjoyed putting on my spotted rah-rah dress and dancing across the sea on the ferry disco. From ordering your ‘frites et mayonnaise’ to shopping at a Calais Supermarché, it was a proper day out.
Many a local resident enjoyed the all-you-can-eat buffet, with its exotic name – the Smorgasbord - on the now-defunct Sally line from Ramsgate. While so many friendships and relationships were rekindled and revitalised on the famous evening Dance to France.
Like so much from those years, while we have gained, we have also lost. So focused on our destination that we have lost the pleasure in the journey. For me and for many, a ferry trip is nothing less than a mini-cruise. From ballpits and play areas for the little ones, to video games and bars for the grown-ups, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Such enjoyment is what it is all about.
There’s so much fun on the ferries.
Natalie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal
Thats a section above from Natalie's latest message..... very enjoyable. We left the party political bit out....
After rough and grim weather a number of large ships come close to port to let pilots off etc...
the one photographed below here a couple days ago is the YM Evolution...we look across the choppy straits in the second picture to the frozen hills of France.
Frozen France....when will we ever be able to get back on a ferry and back there ...
Dover in the Snow.
Dover Seafront: a winter wonderland by night..as you can see a few people have ventured out in the freezing conditions...brrrrr...
DOVER: The stunning White Cliffs....
The White Cliffs of Dover are even whiter than usual due to the big frosted freeze and the shivering snowfall...
We're chilled to the bone but... we're liking it...?
Hard Times for Hauliers...
Exports to EU plunged 68% in the month after Brexit ....say hauliers...
"Since transition, we have worked tirelessly to demonstrate the devastating consequences these changes are having but it is very clear that Government are not doing enough to address them." say the Road Haulage Association, seemingly singling out Michael Gove in particular. The trucks are still working hard in all weathers as you can see above but the volume isn't there...many returning to their destinations empty.
Sunday Snow on Dover Seafront
The Port in the gloom a few nights ago. This picture just about sums up the January just gone. Gloom gloom all is gloom....no bars no bistros to chase away that all conquering gloom. However, the good news is.. the Covid vaccine is rolling out fairly quickly so perhaps that 'summer of joy' is just around the corner. Hold on tight....
Dawn at Dover .....
Another day begins on the English Channel.
The Pilot boat waits patiently in the harbour at dawn for the approaching bunker ship Fredericia...while the hustling bustling seagulls set off for another day of fine food foraging.... no bin to remain unravaged...
A short while later ...and the day is a bit lighter now, as Fredericia approaches gently to service the ever waiting Disney Magic.
FINE FOXES of the White Cliffs.
FOXES OVER THE PORT: The weather has been so cold and grim, chill biting winds and shivering snow flurries, so when the local foxes saw the sun shining, they shimmied forth out of the dense shrubbery to bask in the...well we won't say warm sunlight, but...sunlight anyway. Some sunlight is better than no sunlight at all...and it blindingly dazzled... as it bounced off the harbour waters.
Night Falls on the Harbour
Rising Seafront Bridge at Dover: You can see the new bridge rising above there...it towers above the Seasports Centre and the now renamed Dover Patrol Restaurant (formerly the Hythe Bay restaurant...we understand the ownership is still in the same hands). The new marina cuts across the seafront road into the old marina, hence the need for a bridge (a 'bascule' bridge, you might need to look that one up!). Traffic gets paused from time to time to accommodate the incoming/outgoing craft....it was paused at the time of shot as you can guess.... otherwise everybody would......
The advertising truck shown above is obviously touring the roads of a harassed Kent informing everyone about the need for new paperwork now that we have left the EU...as if we didn't know already. But like they say...every little helps...
Below we have a picture of the self-discharging bulk carrier Tertnes leaving the Port of Dover a few days ago. She had just self-delivered a considerable amount of aggregate to pier WD4 here at Dover... here we see her heading back to Norway and the Port of Eikefet...
Tertnes...the self discharging bulk carrier leaves the Port...
Dover Seafront below in the approaching fog.....
The Disney Magic finally moved away on Saturday from its position on the eastern arm Port of Dover. It moved off through the fog, but the situation cleared partially to allow us to capture the shot above...also in the picture, which shows the western entrance to the Port, is one of the Border Force patrol vessels, these vessels are on constant local patrol. The Disney Magic is expected to return after a 'channel run'... ( ...and she has!).
Reuters are reporting that...Trade flows between Britain and the European Union have remained low this week after many companies stockpiled goods in late 2020 to avoid having to cross the new customs border in the first week after Britain left the EU's orbit on Dec. 31. Despite the quieter period..."We are experiencing a high volume of vehicles being refused and delayed at the Ports of Calais, Dunkerque and Dover, due to incorrect paperwork being presented at check-in," DFDS said on Twitter.
The early morning ferry nearing France...
..........you can just about see the rolling hills ...
The spectacular sky above lasted for such a brief few-minute period a couple of days ago, afore long we were shrouded in drizzle and dark skies, skies that have barely lightened since.The Port isn't busy as of yet, the expected new year drama hasn't quite begun, but we wait with anticipation and concern to see how it will all play out post Brexit.
THE MEDIA DESCENDS ON DOVER....
Extra picture added immediately below of our Media friends as January gets underway... we continue to witness/enjoy the frenzy of reporting from Dover...Waiting below to send in their reports from the mini pier mid harbour Dover, are a team from TV station France 24. Brexit and its consequences are still fascinating the world it seems.... all round though Dover so far remains quiet.
In the space of one hour midday on New Years Eve we saw four, yes four, media teams in the immediate hundred yards. There were many more too just out of vision reporting from hither and thither, every Dover vantage point seemingly used. They all had the .. ermm 'original' idea of reporting from weary Dover on our final day with the European Union. Dover however was eerily quiet...everyone giving it a miss for fear of holdups. There were no holdups as nobody turned up! ... except the media...and of course they were all very welcome....
(That's ITV News in shot 2, not sure who that is in shot 3)
The good news continues on the local traffic front...the town of Dover is clear and functioning. Much relief to all.
For the non-functioning scenario see pix below.
MOTIS NEWS - BOXING DAY DOVER TRAFFIC UPDATE....
- The A20 & Manston Airport are now clear of vehicles.
- Still significant numbers of Vehicles on the M20
- The Ferries and Eurotunnel are running an optimised timetable to help remove the back log
- Covid testing continues on the M20 and also in the Buffer zone at Port of Dover
- Lydden Hill race circuit (CT4 6RX) is also available for Testing for Vehicles below 7.5 Tonnes only (no HGV's)
- No Negative Covid Test within the last 72 hours= No Travel
Certainly looking more positive there.....that will cheer us all up in Dover.
Many thanks to MOTIS
once again for the info...
...and a huge thanks to all those who are working hard to clear the backlog.
The Pride of Canterbury ferry heads to Calais early on Christmas Day...
Ferry heads for Calais in the early gloom of Christmas Day
The Port remained open and the ferries worked all through Christmas day to try and clear the backlog....
although having said that, this particular ferry doesn't look terribly packed...but it may just be the early light.
Motis News: Christmas Day latest....
The Traffic Situation in South East Kent is improving and definite progress is being made. However due to the sheer volume of Vehicles in the Backlog this will inevitably take some time to clear.
- A20 Main road through the Town of Dover is now Clear of traffic - This was a key point to resolving the issue as allows
Vehicles access to the port when they are released from Manston Airport / Operation Brock/Stack and traffic to be managed
- 800 Military Personnel were deployed last night to increase testing capability. This seems to have improved the situation.
- The Ferry Operators and Eurotunnel are running a robust timetable to deal with the back log (full credit to all for re-staffing on
Christmas day to clear the backlog).
- Whilst there is still some way to go, we believe that the process is now in a good position to manage the reduction of the
back log as quickly as possible.
- Note, No NEGATIVE Covid Test = No Travel, Please don't attempt travel to the port without one. Testing continues at
Manston Airport & on M20 (join queue at Junction 8).
- UK Government advises no vehicles to travel to Kent at the moment.
Many thanks to MOTIS for sending through the info above.
Dover on Christmas Eve below...
Port of Dover Traffic Surge :
The great lunge towards the Port gates above...yes you are seeing it right, illegally from both sides of the carriageway the vehicles push to move forward. The picture above was taken at 07.53 on Christmas Eve morning, amid horrendous gridlock all around the town and increasing desperation.
Since then the overall situation has improved somewhat with the authorities working hard to restore some order.
The BBC are estimating that we are up to more than 6,000 trucks now...so quite a backlog to clear....
and the Covid tests still apply.
Dover: Truck drivers abandon their vehicles to demonstrate at the Port gates amid the chaos....
Frustrated truck drivers march towards the Port entrance...as the weary wait goes on...
Latest: Port of Dover is re-opening slowly, but everyone travelling must have a valid Covid test. Mass testing has begun. Because of the testing it will take quite some time to clear the backlog...we now have up to 4,000 trucks waiting...waiting... Only EU nationals are allowed to travel we understand.
Port of Dover: France and other EU countries have closed their borders to the UK for 48 hours. This is due to the new Coronavirus variant sweeping the southeast UK. No trucks will leave Dover but the inward operation is still running....but the issue is whether trucks bringing supplies inwards will want to come for fear of being trapped in the UK. There have been calls for an extension to the Brexit deadline due to the ongoing chaos.
Overnighting below..... trucks laid up for the night.
Sleeping Trucks everywhere......at Dover:
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps naively said yesterday there were 170 trucks queuing at Dover. That of course was inaccurate spin, we can see that many from our window here, the BBC more accurately estimate 900 trucks queuing (latest estimation 1500, now 3000 and growing).... we have sympathy for all those drivers stuck.
See also the OPEN LETTER from Port of Dover CEO
Doug Bannister further down page...
Also the Port responds to funding shortfall....Note in particular paragraph 3 below re funding detail ....
PORT OF DOVER RESPONSE TO PORT INFRASTRUCTURE FUND ANNOUNCEMENT
Keeping the nation’s trade flowing should be a partnership effort. The Port of Dover has worked positively together with both UK and French partner agencies located in the port, to establish the requirements for maintaining a smooth flow rate of traffic through the port following Brexit under the special arrangements of the joint UK-France Le Touquet Treaty, which is an international agreement that governs the provision of juxtaposed border controls in Port of Dover.
Indeed, this work was presented to the UK Government a year ago, with the rationale for a specific project concerning the outbound border controls to be government funded. The port was encouraged to seek funding via the Port Infrastructure Fund to deliver it. This was based on the identified and agreed need for additional French passport control booths to compensate for slower transaction times and a reordering of controls within the port to enable any non-compliant traffic to have been detected before reaching the French control. It also catered for further EU immigration system changes in 2022.
The Government’s own border planning assumptions, as well as those of French counterparts, were predicated on that work and in good faith the port applied for £33 million of funding, but at the eleventh hour the Port has only been offered just one tenth of one per cent of what was needed. For the primary gateway handling unitised trade with the EU, to reach this conclusion so late in the piece undermines so much work by all parties in preparation for the end of the Transition Period.
The port wishes to reassure customers and our community that it will continue working hard to keep traffic flowing, having already shown its resilience by doing so throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic and more recently as businesses choose Dover in order to stockpile ahead of the end of the Transition Period. Dover will still provide the highest frequency, highest capacity and therefore ultimately the best supply chain resilience as the closest point to Britain's largest trading partner, but the lack of financial support will make a smoother transition more difficult. This should and still could be avoided as we continue to seek support from Government ......
but the clock is ticking.
THE DISNEY MAGIC STORY CONTINUES at the PORT OF DOVER.
The Disney Magic pictured above in the approaching gloom.
As you can see the weather was turning rough...the Disney Magic, a short time later, moved away from new pier WD4 above to a more secure footing on the eastern arm Port of Dover.
The Spirit of France:
The picture above is actually one from the past, one from our own archives....yours truly was reminded of it when seeing it recently on Google. We're using it again today as the picture sums up the current weather situation quite well...ie very rough in the Channel..... but the ferries keep right on going...
Dover: Rising Sun dramatically encircling a ship early morning on the Dover Straits ...
Indian registered tanker Jag Lokesh waiting offshore recently for a crew change ...
Border Force Vigilant seen above returning to the Port of Dover in recent days...we believe the Border Force rib powering alongside contained some migrants as several incursions were reported on the day.
The Disney Magic resting tranquilly at new pier WD4 Port of Dover, the tranquility making a change from all the recent rough weather...while in the foreground the Harbour Patrol Boat meanders along keeping everything safe and secure... In the far distance you can just see the Vasco da Gama cruise ship heading for Portugal.
DISNEY at DOVER
The Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic
If you quietly wish upon a star, hoping for even more wondrous magic in Dover,
...well you might just end up with two Disney's....
OPEN LETTER FROM DOUG BANNISTER, CEO, PORT OF DOVER
Dover is the right choice for business and consumers now more than ever
The United Kingdom Major Ports Group (‘UKMPG’) has issued a ‘briefing paper’ intended to encourage businesses to transfer cargo away from the Short Straits, the UK’s most vital link to European markets.
The paper points out that the Short Straits, which includes ferry links between Dover and Calais, as well as the Channel Tunnel, has a 60% market share of ‘British-Continental EU trade’. The Short Straits has achieved this market share because it is the right choice for business. Indeed, the paper acknowledges that the routes businesses use today are the right ones and the reason businesses choose the Short Straits is simple; it offers the most time efficient, cost effective and resilient access to international markets, delivering an estimated £3 billion saving for British businesses and consumers compared to alternative routes.
Our own independent analysis (Oxera 2018) has previously suggested that it would cost around £2.7 billion to take just 20% of our existing traffic in order to pay for new ferries operating on longer and slower routes. Importantly, these new ferries do not exist today and need to be built. With shipyard capacities and construction lead times, delivering such a fleet of new ferries holds significant lead time.
The UKMPG paper suggests that other ports might have capacity to take up to 60% of Short Straits traffic now, but acknowledges that this requires both Government and trader support for this offer of ‘resilience’ to be possible. Exponentially, this suggests that the cost to businesses and ultimately the consumer could be up to around £8 billion.
For Port of Dover, when looking at the overall UK Trade Resilience we take a systemic view – across ports, vessels, capacities, frequencies, operating models and traffic management schemes. To focus only on port capacity is terribly one-dimensional.
The geographic advantage that Port of Dover holds with the UK’s largest trading partner means that a single vessel can complete up to five round voyages in a single day, making our ferries hugely productive assets. Further, our operating model delivers an average inbound dwell time at our port of just five minutes, providing unparalleled port efficiency.
Other operating models, for example containers and unaccompanied trailers may have inbound dwell times from several hours to even several days, adding inefficiency to the system-wide supply chains. For those routes with longer sea voyages, a single vessel may only make a single round voyage in a day – meaning to replicate the capacities and frequencies offered via Port of Dover would require five times as many vessels.
The UKMPG paper admits that a ‘short term’ constraint might be the availability of additional ferries to handle the trucks being encouraged to divert to other routes, whilst also citing wider capacity issues on the southern North Sea corridor.
The report is right to focus on resilience as we approach the end of the Transition Period, but what resilience do you have if you are sending traffic to ports where the ferries do not exist? Neither is that a quick fix. The market dynamic is important here. In fact, rather than investing in new ferries, operators at some of the alternative ports have actually been closing these longer routes with tonnage moving back to the short routes as that is what the market wants – Dover has of course kept going throughout the pandemic. This dynamic applies to the European side too, with the majority of freight vehicles choosing to route through northern France to Calais and Dunkirk as it is simply closest.
All EU-facing UK ports will be under the same rules – there will be a standard process and transaction applied everywhere. We know from examples elsewhere, such as ‘Operation Wellington’ on the Humber, which anticipates using parts of the M62 and M180 as holding areas for HGVs, that if there is disruption it will be everywhere. The report itself admits that there is already a risk of disruption at these alternative ports due to new systems for HGVs. Therefore, on top of this, sending more traffic to ports that do not even have the ferry capacity will make the situation far worse and create far less resilience for UK trade.
In contrast, the traffic management regimes for the Short Straits are tested and proven – in short, we know they work. For example, the recent national security operation that affected all ports with additional screening and searches left around 4,500 lorries in Operation Stack. When the security operation ended, Dover had cleared all queuing traffic and was back to normal operations within just 12 hours. Nowhere else could do that. It would take weeks with the current vessel capacities and frequencies available elsewhere. For UK trade resilience, supply chains must have the confidence in managing periods of disruption, and crucially recovery and restoration of normal flows as swiftly as possible – both areas in which Port of Dover has excellent credentials.
As we all navigate the massive economic difficulties caused by COVID, and the uncertainties as we approach the End of Transition, it is right to showcase the incredible efforts of the maritime sector, and the excellent ports that we have across the nation towards ensuring supply chains are robust and functioning well.
Come what may, we will keep working to keep the nation supplied with the essential goods people need at this difficult time and give all businesses wherever they are the benefits of Dover’s unrivalled service. This is what we do all day, every day.
Indeed, as the Maritime Minister said on a panel discussion with us only the other day regarding the national trade network; ‘you have to have goods and people moving around freely. So if you are to have parts moving quickly and efficiently across the Channel, and through Dover, and through the country, you have a much easier opportunity for companies that might exist in the Midlands or in the North to get involved in whatever that industry is.’
The report says that the UK has not always been reliant on the Short Straits, harking back to pre-Single Market days. Equally, the UK has not always been reliant on the internet and same day/next day/just-in-time deliveries, but it is now.
A vision that takes the UK backwards is not the vision of the future we want to see. We need one that backs consumers and businesses everywhere for the challenges and opportunities ahead of us. We feel that we should celebrate our impressive, modern and efficient supply chains across all ports and modes throughout the nation.
For Dover, we fully appreciate the essential role that we conduct for the nation, and will continue to take our responsibility with all of the due care and attention the British people would expect of us, which is why Dover will remain the clear market choice.
Doug Bannister, CEO Port of Dover.
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