Eurotunnel ready for Brexit 'no matter what the outcome'

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter
Eurotunnel trains at Eurotunnel in Folkestone, Kent, ahead of the debate and vote on the Brexit motion at the House of Commons, London. Photo: PA

Eurotunnel says it is ready for Brexit on 31 October “no matter what the outcome,” after it invested in preparations for Britain leaving without a deal.

Getlink (GET.PA) , formerly Groupe Eurotunnel which runs a railway shuttle through the Channel Tunnel, said it had created two new “pit stops” to carry out new customs checks in Folkestone in Britain and Coquelles in France.

It said the pit stops will “check 20 trucks at a time in just a few short minutes,” as it played down fears of significant disruption at the borders if Britain crashes out without any agreements on trade with Brussels.

It also said in a statement it had built a 240-space new parking zone for trucks that had to face more rigorous checks, as well as investing in new customs support workers to help drivers get their paperwork in order.

“For goods, there will be new regulations in the event of a no deal, with a system of per-declaration in the customs systems on each side of the Channel before trucks arrive on the terminals in Folkestone and Coquelles,” the statement said.

READ MORE: France to treat Britain ‘like South Africa’ in dress rehearsal for no-deal Brexit

“Since the referendum in 2016, Eurotunnel has worked with the two governments to provide its customers with the fastest and simplest route across the Channel, no matter the outcome on 31 October.

“For the 22 million passengers who use the Shuttle and Eurostar trains through the Tunnel, there will be no change to the immigration formalities they pass through today. Additional VAT refund services will be available if needed on our terminals.”

Michael Gove, the UK minister in charge of no-deal planning, and his French counterpart, the minister responsible for customs Gerald Darmanin, are due to meet on Monday, according to Eurotunnel.

Some 5,000 trucks pass through the Tunnel every day, but they will be expected to make new customs declarations before their arrival at terminals to cross the Channel.

Eurotunnel said around £130bn ($157bn) of goods cross the Tunnel each year, making up more than a quarter of all UK trade with the EU.