EUROPE: Channel Tunnel concessionaire Eurotunnel is prepared for the UK’s scheduled departure from the European Union on October 31 ‘no matter the outcome’, it said on September 2.

The company said there would no change to immigration formalities for the 22 million passengers/year who use Shuttle and Eurostar services. Additional VAT refund services would be available at the terminals if needed.

For goods, there would be new regulations in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, with customs predeclarations on each side of the Channel before trucks arrive at the Folkestone and Coquelles terminals.

Eurotunnel has made investments to enable it to continue to handle the 5 000 lorries which pass through the Channel Tunnel every day.

‘Pit stops’ have been created at Folkestone and Coquelles to ‘regroup’ the checks and controls already conducted by Eurotunnel before boarding. In future these would also enable the scanning of customs documents. Eurotunnel said it would be possible to check 20 lorries at a time ‘in just a few short minutes’.

Lorries which are declared ‘Green Route’ by customs officials would cross as today. A customs and sanitary/phytosanitary control zone has been built on the Coquelles terminal for ‘Orange Route’ vehicles that the authorities want to check in more detail. This has nine inspection bays and 100 parking places where the French authorities can check goods from the UK, without disrupting through traffic.

There is a 240-space secure parking zone for lorries heading to the UK. Eurotunnel Customs Support services will help drivers get their paperwork in order, if needed.

Eurotunnel said £130bn of goods passes through the Channel Tunnel each year, equivalent to 26% of trade between the UK and the EU.

  • Cross-Channel high speed train operator Eurostar told Railway Gazette that ‘at this point we expect to maintain services on the existing basis and timetable following Brexit. We are working closely with the governments and have made preparations to ensure we continue to operate in either a deal or no-deal scenario.’