Memorandum by Dover Harbour Board (IT
I am writing in response to the Committee's
current inquiry into the Integrated Transport White Paper. Since
the outcome of the Trust Ports Review and the detailed "daughter
document" on freight are still pendingand being conscious
of the Committee's heavy workloadI thought it best to limit
Dover Harbour Board's initial response to the following brief
Dover is the busiest cross-Channel freight port
in the UK serving as the conduit for more than one-third (by value)
of all the country's visible trade with continental Europe. It
is a key link in the Trans-European Transport Network processing
in 1997 over 3 million T.E.Us and 21 million passengers.
Dover Harbour Board welcomes the Integrated
Transport White Paper and strongly supports the DETR's emphases
on congestion reduction and intermodal integrationthe latter
being the very essence of our business.
We are currently awaiting further details of
two important areas of policytrust status and freightbut
are taking steps in both these areas which we believe represent
a concrete and positive contribution to realisation of the Government's
On the Trust Ports Review, we are
aware that questions of accountability are to the fore of this
exercise. We recently held a major consultative forum for stakeholders
and those with an interest in the workings of the port. This was
attended by the Department and we look forward to working with
officials to ensure that Dover represents a case of best practice
in terms of accountability, consultation and performance. We continue,
of course, to believe that trust status represents the best means
of ensuring that Dover's role as a nationaland nationally
accountableasset is recognised and fostered.
On freight, we are anxious to take
forward the Government's emphasis on switching operations from
road to rail. In 1997 Dover handled more than 80 per cent of the
road-borne freight between Kent and the Continent so the port
clearly has a role to play in meeting this challenge. In this
light we are currently in discussions with the relevant authorities
concerning the development of rail freight capacity.
As the Committee may be aware, current forecasts
suggest that if Government policy is successful, cross-Channel
freight traffic will double in the next ten years. Since the Channel
Tunnel will be able to accommodate less than half of this increase,
additional through-rail freight capacity will be required. A seven-mile
extension of the proposed rail freight highway, to include Dover,
would provide a second through-rail cross Channel link at low
cost. We are already in discussions with the relevant bodies about
taking this proposal forward.
Even if approved, such a scheme would take some
years to develop and we are, of course, concerned by recent reports
suggesting that further delays to a full programme of transport
reform are possible.
In order to plan for the next 10-15 years and
to fulfil Dover's role as the nation's main trading port, it is
vital that the standard of the road network and the needs of road
freight operators are taken into account. We would hope that the
Committee would consider the development of the White Paper proposals
in this practical, chronological light.
I hope that the above comments are useful. I
am very much aware that the Committee's primary focus in conducting
this inquiry is on practical instances of good practice which
can help to advance policy.
Managing Director and Register
25 September 1998