Brittany Ferries boss joins ports and firms for Brexit ‘alarm’ press conference in Paris

A Brittany Ferries ship in the Solent
A Brittany Ferries ship in the Solent

THE PRESIDENT of a ferry company which operates from Portsmouth has united with French allies for a Brexit press conference.

Brittany Ferries’ Jean-Marc Roué has joined figures behind ports and shipping companies in France to ‘sound the alarm’ on the negotiations at a meeting in Paris today.

As talks on what Brexit deal prime minister Theresa May may secure rage on, Brittany Ferries is among 11 parties uniting to highlight its fears for the future. 

Among those are the possible repercussions of a no-deal Brexit. 

A spokesperson for the bodies participating in today’s conference – which also include chambers of commerce in Normandy and Caen – said: ‘A Brexit without an agreement, the ‘no deal’ as it is known in the United Kingdom, represents a major threat to our economy and even more so to our port economy – unless concrete and immediate action is taken.’ 

Others concerns surround the reinstatement of a border and customs checkpoint between the UK and France, the construction and cost of new veterinary and health control facilities and changes to major European trade corridors. 

On the impact of the former two woes, a spokesperson said: ‘Created barely 30 years ago, the Caen to Portsmouth route quickly became the busiest cross-Channel link west of the Dover Strait, with nearly three million tonnes of goods transported each year, and nearly one million passengers.

‘The reinstatement of a border and customs checkpoint at the end of next March will require the establishment of facilities for collecting customs duties and VAT.

‘But that is not all – it will be necessary to provide for the construction of facilities dedicated to veterinary and health controls, which would be applied systematically.’ 

Collectively, parties involved in today’s press conference said it was taking these issues ‘very seriously’. 

They added: ‘Perhaps, eventually, we’ll finally discover that for us too, the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union can bring some opportunities.

‘But before we can dream, there is much to do, and to do very quickly. The emergency facing Normandy and its neighbouring regions is also a national emergency.’