BREXIT PANIC: Rotterdam SCRAMBLES to prepare for no deal Brexit

Rotterdam’s port, which accounts for eight per cent of the EU’s trade with the UK, has ramped up preparations for a no deal Brexit. The port, the world’s busiest from 1962 until 2004, is set to lose between two and four per cent of its long-term operations, according to estimates. The anxiety surrounding a hard Brexit likely stems from the port being a huge contributor to the national economy, accounting for 6.2 per cent of Dutch GDP and employing nearly 400,000 people.

It is feared the UK’s departure from the EU will result in an increase in important tariffs for goods, which could result in a drop of up to 40 per cent of trade.

Port officials are determined to avoid delays or custom clogs of trucks that arrive from all over Europe in the event of a no deal Brexit.

State leaflets issued to transporters travelling to Britain, state: “If you do not prepare, you will not cross.”

The leaflet has been published in eight languages, including Turkish, Polish, Russian, Bulgarian and Romanian.

Mark Dijk, external affairs manager of the port, said: “Cooperation will be essential and we hope that both sides have papers in order.

“We will expedite procedures to avoid delays on the way to the United Kingdom.

“To do this, we use Portbase, a mandatory registration system which must include the reservation of the date of travel by the transport company, the declaration of the nature of the cargo at the customs and the corresponding certificates.

“It can be done online, but without this procedure the truck will not be able to enter the ferry from the Netherlands.”

Despite the prior warnings, it is expected that there will be rejections of merchandise in the terminals during the first six to eight weeks.

Some 35,000 Dutch companies do business with the UK and embark in Rotterdam, and those who do not submit the necessary forms will need a place to wait until they have been completed.

Mr Dijk added: “We have created five temporary parking lots to the north and south of the port.

“After those weeks, we assume that everyone will be up to date.

“We can not influence Brexit. We can only collaborate so that trade does not stop.”

British ports will be expected to carry out the same steps.

Dutch companies have already started to stockpile goods in warehouses located at the port, due to fears of a blockage of consumer goods if documents are not submitted on time.

Neele-Vat, one of the largest logistics and transport companies in the area, has already seen a 500 per cent increase in visits from the UK in the last six months.

Cuno Vat, director of the firm, said: “Most customers do not want to run out of stock in case of hard Brexit.

“They want to keep supplying their customers, and the current uncertainty is the worst.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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