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How the Port of Dover is empowering Britain’s economic prosperity

Port of Dover

3 min read Partner content

2023 was another record-breaking year for the Port of Dover – confirming the Port’s position as Britain’s premier trade and travel gateway to Europe. What are Britain’s busiest port’s priorities for the year ahead?

The Port of Dover, a vital economic artery of the United Kingdom, has long been synonymous with exchange, adaptability, and innovation. As the shortest crossing point to Europe, the Port is a champion of Britain’s position as a global trading power and empowers one-third of the nation’s trade with its largest single trading partner, the EU.  

The Port of Dover’s year in travel and trade, in numbers 

  • Freight, car, and coach volumes processed at the Port of Dover in 2023 was equivalent to 30,000 miles of traffic or 1.25 times around the circumference of the globe. This is a huge sum that underlines the efficiency of the operation based in just 0.68 square miles of land. 
  • 8.4 million passengers travelled through the Port – with over 2m passengers passing through the Port during the 6-week summer holiday period alone, returning Dover towards its pre-pandemic tourist volumes; one of the first travel gateways to achieve this. Despite the large-scale return to pre-pandemic tourist volumes, the average processing time at the border was 41 minutes during the peak hours and 23 minutes overall. 
  • The Port of Dover’s cargo terminal imported 148 million bananas and 9 million melons into the UK. 
  • The cargo terminal also saw a doubling of grain export volumes from 2021 – to 81,500 tonnes. 

EU Entry-Exit System 

The Dover-Calais/Dunkirk route carries £144bn of trade and 33% of the UK’s trade in goods with the EU and has remained the ferry route of choice for hauliers and passengers since the UK’s decision to leave the EU.  This is due to Dover’s irreplaceable location on the shortest sea crossing to mainland Europe and the resultant capacity, speed and service frequency it provides.  

As well as the critical need to avoid disruption to tourist passengers, the efficient movement of these goods is paramount for economic prosperity and growth.   

The Port of Dover continues to work with UK and European Authorities to shape the EU entry-exit system, calling for a remote and digitally led solution to mitigate risks of a suboptimal implementation of the scheme, which is currently due for Autumn 2024.  

2024 and beyond 

The Port of Dover is also looking ahead to the opportunities 2024 will bring – its work with best-in-class universities to drive innovation through AI and machine learning to optimise operations, welcoming passengers bound for the Olympics in July and kicking off two significant projects to grow its business at both its Western and Eastern Docks. Additionally, alongside its ambitious agenda for the near term, the Port is also focused on securing long-term prosperity for the nation and has launched ‘Port of Dover 2050’, its programme to develop a strategic long-term master plan to become the UK’s most seamless, sustainable, and tech-enabled port.   

If you would like to learn more about the Port of Dover, its current agenda and ambitions for the future, get in touch at communications@portofdover.com 

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