The French port of Boulogne-Calais (Nord), which saw its capacity double and its services increase in 2021, indicated that it did well “his pin in the gamedespite a further drop in passenger traffic and Brexit-related complications.
The year was “exceptionalsaid the president of the port of Boulogne-Calais, Jean-Marc Puissesseau, on Thursday during a press briefing on 2021. Despite fears linked to Brexit, freight traffic “are holding up (…) in a difficult situation“and the traffic remained”globally fluid“, he added. A total of 38 million tonnes of goods were transported, down 1%, the port said in a statement.
Passenger traffic impacted
Passenger traffic was largely impacted by Covid-related restrictions, with a 27% drop in the number of passengers (2.4 million) and 42% in the number of light vehicles (248,000). But Jean-Marc Puissesseau said he was optimistic about a rapid recovery as soon as the restrictions were lifted, especially since Calais put into service on October 31 a new cross-Channel terminal capable of accommodating giant ferries. This infrastructure, which doubles its area and capacity, requires six years of work and an investment of 863 million euros. In addition, a third shipping company, Irish Ferries, launched links between France and England in mid-2021, while the two existing companies, DFDS and P&O, have invested in new vessels.
The arrival in the first quarter of 2022 of a tenth boat to ensure the Calais-Dover crossings will bring the service to 100 daily crossings, with a departure every 30 minutes. A new high-speed freight rail service should also open next spring between the ports of Calais and Sète. For its part, the port of Boulogne was also able to “get out of the game for fishing“, indicated Benoît Rochet general manager of the port. Boulogne, which remains the leading French fishing port, recorded an increase of 2% in the quantity caught (28,400 t.) and 13% in its value, with 73.5 million euros in turnover. And this, despite the latecomers in the allocation of post-Brexit fishing licenses, at the heart of a battle between London and Paris.