BRIDGE Strengthens Links Between Dover And Calais
With freight traffic between Dover and Calais expected to rise by 40% by 2030, the importance of strengthening the route between the two independent ports is currently the focus of cross-Channel collaboration and major investment.
Seeking to protect the long-term resilience of this internationally important trade link, described as a ‘European motorway of the sea’, the BRIDGE (Building the Resilience of International and Dependent Gateways in Europe) Project brings together the Port of Dover and Port of Calais.
Currently those two busiest Roll–on Roll–off (Ro-Ro) ferry terminals in Europe handle more than one third of RoRo cargo between the UK and continental Europe, representing goods worth more than 70 billion euros.
The BRIDGE Project, which aims to ensure that Dover and Calais are part of European efforts to create a fully integrated freight corridor combining road, rail and maritime transport and linking the UK with Northern France, Benelux and North-East Spain, was recently unveiled at a joint event held in the French port.
Calais Port 2015 sets out plans to increase capacity through the development of a new harbour, a new cross-Channel terminal with a further three cross-Channel berths and one
Ro-Ro berth, and 80 hectares of new platforms. To handle the increased traffic, Calais, like Dover, is reorganising cross-Channel traffic flows and the road networks in and around the Port. Major investment being undertaken under the Calais 2015 banner also includes the development of a rail motorway terminal linking the Port in Nord-Pas de Calais with Perpignan in the south of France, enabling the transhipment of trailers between rail, road and ferry in the Port.
Tim Waggott, Chief Executive, Port of Dover, said: “BRIDGE recognises that, by collaborating, we can complement each other and enhance the resilience of this international trade route.
“We connect the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland with the continental mainland, so it is essential that Dover works closely with our opposite numbers in Calais. By developing efficient port facilities and transport connections on both sides of the Channel we will be perfectly placed to meet the needs of our customers, communities and strengthen the local economies.”
In the short term, the BRIDGE project will ensure that the two ports operate efficiently by adapting the berths to the highest technical standards of ship accommodation, as well as focussing on the enhancement of the local transport networks to improve the resilience of the trade route.
At the Port of Dover, three berths are being enhanced with two piers recently extended. To improve the short-term operational performance and safety on the Kent side of the English Channel, a further three major berths will be refurbished by 2015.
The ports of Dover and Calais, each recognised by the European Commission as strategically important, and designated as ‘core ports’ under the TEN-T network 2014-2020, have been working together on the BRIDGE Project.
During the event, and in the presence of their stakeholders and the Nord-Pas de Calais Council (as the owner of the Port of Calais), a Memorandum of Understanding between the two ports was signed by the Côte d’Opale Chamber of Commerce and Industry (as the port manager) and Dover Harbour Board.