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Published: 11 October 2017      

New truck record for Eurotunnel

Le Shuttle Fret carried 138,774 trucks in September this year, the highest September figure on record

In September 2017, Le Shuttle Freight set a new historic record for a month of September with 138,774 trucks transported, an increase of 2% compared to the month of September in 2016. Since 1 January 2017, 1,225,943 trucks have crossed the Channel with Le Shuttle Freight, so the service could top last year's result of around 1.6M HGVs.

Passenger vehicle traffic increased by 9% compared to the month of September in 2016, with 240,059 vehicles transported, the second best month of September since the end of duty free in 1999. Since 1 January 2017, Le Shuttle Passenger traffic is relatively stable with 2,072,415 vehicles transported.

According to the latest annual port statistics from the Department of Transport, the Port of Dover accounted for 26.5 Mt of accompanied freight in 2016, while Eurotunnel's figure for Le Shuttle Fret was 21.3 Mt, so in total Dover Straits flow-through trade amounted to 47.8 Mt.

This just underscores how exposed the trade is to a hard-Brexit and to potentially a 5-fold increase in customs clearances. CHIEF, the UK customs system is now around 20 years old and has an estimated capacity of 150M annual transactions, but the post-Brexit number could increae to 300M.

The replacement Customs Declaration Service (CDS), combining off-the-shelf tariff and declaration processing products from IBM, is not due to go live until 2019, the Brexit year, and it is unlikely there will be no "teething problems."

Speaking recently to WorldCargo News, Chris Sturman, CEO of the Food Storage & Distribution Federation, pointed out that because of the migrants' crisis and the UK import:export trade imbalance of almost 2:1 via the Dover Straits, only about 1 in 10 trucks using the Straits by ferry or Eurotunnel are UK-registered.

Border delays with trucks tailing back 30-40 miles - what the Port of Dover has termed the "armageddon scenario" - could result if the EU plays "hardball" with the UK, but non-UK truckers would be the hardest hit, so it is no-one's interest for EU negotiators to try to bury the UK's nose in it.

Groupe Eurotunnel SE’s third quarter revenues will be published on Thursday 19 October 2017 before market opening. The traffic figures for October 2017 will be published on Monday 13 November, before market opening.

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