The Port of Dover has announced another record year of freight traffic.
The Port handled 2.6 million freight vehicles in 2016 with freight volumes increasing by 32% in just the last four years.
"As we continue to handle more UK trade, the Port welcomes the prime minister's statement on the Government’s headline negotiating position for Brexit. Greater certainty of the broad parameters is a positive step forward," commented Tim Waggott, Chief Executive of the Port of Dover.
"Any changes brought forward to the country's trading relationship need to be mindful of the UK's absolute need to maintain the rapid transit of goods and passengers through Dover and our sister ports on the European mainland.
"The Port and the CBI remain clear that a barrier-free relationship with the EU - our largest, closest and most important trading partner - must be a critical outcome of the negotiations to ensure we make a success of Brexit."
Separately, Lloyd's Loading List has reported the following:-
A consortium of leading British and European lenders has agreed a £200 million package of loans to support the Port of Dover’s flagship capital building programme.
The Dover Western Docks Revival project will create a purpose-built cargo and logistics facility at the port, which currently handles up to £119 billion of UK trade each year.
Allianz Global Investors has agreed to provide the programme with a £55 million private placement bond; RBS and Lloyds Bank have each provided a £35 million revolving credit facility; and the European Investment Bank has confirmed a £75 million loan.
In addition to bespoke cargo and logistics facilities, Dover Western Docks Revival will also allow the port to create a dedicated ferry terminal in the Eastern Docks and a transformed waterfront for Dover. The strong confidence in the port and the importance of its role comes as VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster is confirmed as the main Dover Western Docks Revival contractor, the Port of Dover acquires cargo handling operations in the port from George Hammond PLC, and freight figures for 2016 indicate another record year for Dover, the port pointed out.
Port of Dover Chief Executive, Tim Waggott, said: “Dover Western Docks Revival is the single biggest investment ever undertaken by the Port of Dover. It will define how we operate for decades to come.
“Currently handling 17% of all the UK’s trade in goods, it is crucial the port continues to evolve to meet the demands of an ever-changing political and trading landscape. The financial support supplied by blue-chip lenders underlines the critical role Dover fulfils for UK and European economies, businesses and consumers - a prominent role which will remain into the future post-Brexit.”
AllianzGI’s UK Infrastructure Debt Portfolio Manager, Adrian Jones, said: "The Port of Dover is a unique asset. Given its history and proximity to continental Europe, it is of vital importance to UK trade.
“The port has assembled a cost-effective funding solution that matches the most cost-effective debt product to each maturity bucket - short-term commercial bank debt, medium term European Investment Bank debt, and long-term private placement bonds - thus ensuring it can keep the cost of funding the project as low as possible for its customers."
Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President, said: “This exciting new investment will transform Europe’s busiest ferry port, both improving the seafront and enabling increased and more diverse cargo to pass through Dover. The European Investment Bank is pleased to support this once-in-a-generation project as part of our backing for crucial investment at leading ports across the UK and around the world.”
Guillaume Fleuti, Head of Infrastructure and Energy for Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Dover has been the gateway for UK trade for over 400 years and is an iconic name within the Infrastructure market.
“Lloyds has a long standing relationship with Dover and the opportunity to support the Port in its expansion activities goes to the very heart of what Lloyds seeks to achieve – supporting clients and helping Britain prosper. The expansion of the Port is the next evolution in the history of Dover and one which Lloyds looks forward to further supporting.”
RBS acted as financial advisor to the Port of Dover as well as lender. Bruce Riley, Managing Director within its Structured Finance team, said: “The diversity, tenor and flexibility of the overall funding package achieved reflect the strength of the Port of Dover’s business and its enduring importance to the UK economy.
“RBS is proud and delighted to have been able to support the Western Docks Revival project which will have such a positive impact not only on the local community, but also on Britain’s connectivity with Europe. RBS is committed to UK infrastructure development and has supported investment in many of the UK’s largest projects over the past year.”