The Port of Rotterdam Authority, the Municipality of Rotterdam, the Municipality of Vlaardingen and highways authority Rijkswaterstaat, are creating five new buffer parking sites. Trucks will be able to wait there at a temporary base if their customs documents have not been properly prepared for maritime crossings to the UK, when the country leaves the European Union on 29 March 2019.
The goal of this action is to prevent any extra delay due to additional customs formalities at ferry and short-sea terminals and ensure a smooth freight traffic to the UK. Additionally, more intensive passport checks and inspections by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority could lead to longer processing times at terminals.
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If the capacity of these temporary buffer parking sites are proven insufficient, the organisations have additional overflow areas in reserve. Moreover, Rijkswaterstaat has been discussing traffic control plans with all parties to make sure it flows efficiently.
Out of the about 54 million tonnes of freight that is traded every year between the UK and the Netherlands, around 40 million tonnes passes through the port of Rotterdam, and in particular through ferry and short-sea crossings.
When Brexit takes place, the Dutch sea ports will create an outer border between the EU and the UK, which will have major consequences, particularly for the processing of customs papers and passport control.
In order to ensure the efficiency of this plan, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the ferry terminals in Rotterdam arranged for a simulation study to be performed regarding the effects of Brexit on the processing of freight traffic at and on the approach to the terminals. Based on historical data, it can be expected that about 400 trucks will not have their formalities in order. The results of this simulation study enabled a substantiated estimate of the number of temporary buffer parking places for heavy goods vehicles to be made. These numbers mean that the authorities can expect that the 700 additional spaces provided at buffer parking sites will be enough.
On the northern bank in Hoek van Holland, Rotterdam has allocated the Oranjeheuvel site. This site is near to the ferry terminal in Hoek van Holland. Rijkswaterstaat is creating space there for around 200 trucks. In Maasdijk, Rijkswaterstaat has created a buffer site for around 50 trucks. In Vlaardingen, a site is being created on Waterleidingstraat for about 80 trucks.
On the southern bank, buffer parking sites are being created on Moezelweg and Seattleweg. The site on Moezelweg will provide space for around 290 trucks. This site is near the ferry and short-sea terminals that operate out of the Europoort port area. The site on Seattleweg will provide space for about 80 trucks.
The buffer parking sites are only accessible to trucks that do not have access to the ferry terminals in the port of Rotterdam because the Portbase system has not received prior notification of their cargo. Truck drivers can use these locations to liaise with their client or transport planner and ensure that the necessary formalities can be completed.
Finally, the Port Authority, the Municipality of Rotterdam and Rijkswaterstaat are advising exporters, hauliers and shippers to use Portbase to provide digital notification of their cargo that is destined for the UK.