The Port of Rotterdam Authority, customs, the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA), the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management, and ferry terminals have been preparing for Brexit in close collaboration for more than two years. Nevertheless, there may also be disruptions at the ferry terminals if a trade agreement is reached per 1 January. The aim of the coordinated effort is to minimise any delays resulting from additional customs formalities at Dutch ferry terminals with a connection to the UK. To this end, extensive traffic circulation plans have been prepared for the ferry ports where these problems may occur: the Hook of Holland, Europoort (2x), Rozenburg and Vlaardingen.
Cargo to be reported digitally in advance
Customs formalities for freight transport to and from the UK will apply as from 1 January. Under the new regulations, ferry freight will have to be reported digitally in advance via the port community system Portbase to ensure a smooth flow of freight. Meanwhile, exporters representing about 90% of ferry freight to the UK have started to use Portbase.
If it is found at the ferry terminal that the driver does not have the right documents, he or she will receive a flyer – which is also an admission ticket – with clear directions for how to get to the designated buffer parking location. This flyer is written in eight languages. At the buffer parking location, truck drivers can use these locations to contact their client or transport planner to help them comply with the necessary formalities and continue on their journey. It is expected that it will take a few hours for most drivers to get their papers in order.
Buffer parking locations
These temporary locations have fencing, lighting, sanitary facilities, catering, access control, and 24/7 security. Regular cleaning takes place in conformity with the RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) directives, and drivers are informed about the standing rules, including the corona containment measures, in several languages. The parking locations are free of charge. Drivers are allowed to park their truck for up to 24 hours to get their papers in order. After 24 hours, drivers can park their trucks at commercial truck parking areas or have to return to their original place of departure. The total capacity of Brexit buffer locations in the port of Rotterdam is approximately 700 parking places. In addition to the temporary parking areas near the ferry terminals, there are so-called overflow locations at a farther distance from the terminals, to be used if traffic gets busier.
Rotterdam, the Hook of Holland, and Vlaardingen
In collaboration with the Municipality of Rotterdam, the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management has realised the Oranjeheuvel site on the northern bank of the Nieuwe Waterweg in the Hook of Holland. This site is close to the ferry terminal in the Hook of Holland. The site has a capacity of around 200 trucks. In Maasdijk, in the municipality of Westland, the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management has created a buffer site for some 24 trucks. In the Municipality of Vlaardingen, 80 parking places are being created on the DFDS site. A secondary overflow site for around 80 trucks is being created at Waterleidingstraat.
On the southern bank, buffer parking sites are being created at Moezelweg, a site of the Port of Rotterdam Authority. This site has a capacity of about 280 trucks and is in the vicinity of the ferry terminals that operate from the Europoort and Rozenburg port areas. Reaching the site from the A15 motorway is easy from the east and the west.