Calais, France, Jan 1 (AFP/APP): Scores of heavy goods vehicles early Friday passed through the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain and France “without any problem”, its operator said, dispelling fears of immediate snarl-ups as Brexit took effect.
Almost 200 lorries crossed into France and left the country for the UK after Britain formally left the EU customs union and single market at midnight in the final act of its exit from the European Union, operator Getlink said.
“The traffic was strong enough for an exceptional and historic night, everything went well,” a spokesperson for the group told AFP.
“All the trucks completed the formalities” required by the fact Britain is no longer part of the EU customs union. “None of the lorries were sent back,” the spokesperson said. French officials have insisted that disruption at the frontier in Calais in northern France is being minimized by a so-called “smart border”.
Hauliers are required to enter information about their freight online in advance with only a rapid scan needed at the border. Once this is done the trucks can either be waved through with a green light or subjected to extra checks if given an orange one.
Officials also say that British businesses have also stockpiled for January, which is also a relatively quiet month with little activity after Christmas.
The first vehicle to pass through heading for Britain was a heavy goods vehicle from Romania carrying post and parcels, which was symbolically given the go-ahead by Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart.
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