The Port of Dover is planning to reclaim land in the sea to expand its facilities and avoid potential delays when the EU’s Entry-Exit Scheme (EES) is implemented. The EES, originally scheduled for introduction in 2022 but now expected in autumn 2024, will require individuals entering the EU to register their fingerprints and a photograph alongside their passport. The port’s CEO, Doug Bannister, has expressed concerns that this new system could lead to bottlenecks and queues at the border.
To address this issue, the Port of Dover is considering accelerating a project to reclaim land in its western docks for passenger use when the EES comes into effect. This expansion would cost an additional £2 million, with plans to finalize the design by the end of the year and commence work in the spring. The port is also exploring the possibility of government financial support for this project.
Doug Bannister has mentioned the potential development of an app to handle part of the registration process before passengers arrive at the port. However, the primary goal is to prevent “unacceptable” queues from forming at the border.
The Port of Dover’s efforts to expand its facilities and streamline passenger processing are driven by the desire to minimize delays and ensure smooth operations, especially during peak travel times. Other organizations, like Eurotunnel’s owner Getlink, are also taking measures to adapt to the new EES requirements and maintain efficient cross-border travel and trade.
Despite recent challenges and delays, the Port of Dover experienced busy periods during the summer, with a high volume of passengers and vehicles passing through. The port’s average wait time during peak periods was 41 minutes, and it handled a significant number of passengers traveling to France, approaching pre-pandemic levels. These statistics highlight the importance of addressing potential delays and bottlenecks in anticipation of the EES’s implementation to facilitate the smooth flow of people and goods through the port. (The Port of Dover is planning to reclaim)