Brittany Ferries reports spike in bookings amid Dover port chaos as Portsmouth port avoids disruption

FOLLOWING the port of Dover becoming gridlocked with massive queues, a ferry firm sailing from Portsmouth has reported a spike in bookings – but the city’s port does not predict similar disruption.

Dover has had to declare a critical incident after holiday makers and freight lorries found themselves queuing as long as six hours to enter the port, which has been hit by delays to border checks.

Now Portsmouth-based Brittany Ferries has reported a 50 increase in reservations over the weekend, which the firm believes is driven by those seeking to avoid the Dover chaos.

Brittany Ferries spokesman Nigel Wonnacott said: ‘It was smooth sailing through our ports of Portsmouth, Poole and Plymouth and onto ships this weekend.

Photo of a Brittany Ferries vessel heading for Caen. Picture: PA Photo/Brittany Ferries.

‘There were no delays or queues on roads and we expect this to continue throughout the summer holiday season. We’ve also recorded a 50 per cent increase in reservations since Friday, no doubt driven by those seeking alternatives to crossing the Channel via short-sea routes.’

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Portsmouth International Port has not been hit by any disruption as sailing times and border checks are different to Dover, according to Ian Diaper, Portsmouth International Port’s head of operations.

The port boss said: ‘Fortunately we have not faced any disruption at the port, with passengers heading off on their holidays and freight traveling through the port as we would normally expect for the summer season.

‘We do not have juxtaposed controls like they do in Dover, (where) French authorities undertake border control checks in the UK before boarding rather than on arrival. This means they are feeling the impact of checks at the port itself, as opposed to it happening at the destination country.

‘Portsmouth has a longer stretch between sailings and a variety of destinations to France and Spain, which means more time on the other side to process passengers and also spreads the volume across a greater area.’

The port retains plans to ‘manage traffic flows’ in the event of any heavy congestion around the site, according to the head of operations.

He said: ‘We do not expect to face the same issues as Dover as the operation at our port is completely different.

‘Customs checks have been the biggest change, but this has been in place since the beginning of the year.’