Condor is reassuring Islanders that freight supplies will continue following the UK’s departure from the EU, as well as urging both States to work with the company to ensure the visitor economies are not affected by the requirement for continental travellers to carry passports which is likely to be introduced next year.
The ferry firm has responded to recent suggestions that food and other goods may be air dropped into the Islands after the UK’s exit which was attributed to an apparent leak of a British government document.
Paul Luxon, Condor’s CEO, confirmed that the supply chain is protected: “For the past three years, we have been liaising with the UK, Channel Islands’ and French authorities on the implications of the British withdrawal and through the UK Chamber of
Shipping’s working party on Brexit.
“Condor is recognised by the States in both Islands as customs clearance agents after developing very streamlined procedures and documentation covering manifest declarations, safety and security and entry permits. We have therefore received assurances that our slots in Portsmouth are safeguarded for our twice daily departures so remain confident that the just-in-time freight supply chain of food, medical and other consignments will continue well into the future”.
The company is also proactively seeking support from Guernsey and Jersey on border restrictions given the likelihood that all inbound visitors from France will be required to carry passports, rather than the more widely used ID cards, following the UK’s exit in January 2021.
Mr Luxon added: “We estimate that 30% to 40% of our continental passengers only possess ID cards and discovered last year that a hard Brexit could means everyone arriving will need a passport as an ID card is not considered a valid travel document. It is unlikely every visitor will want to spend €85 on a passport just to come to Jersey or Guernsey so the impact in terms of falling tourism numbers may be felt across the Islands and the UK too.
“We have been engaging with the States in both Islands and making representations at UK government level as this is a very serious matter and certainly not the news we would want after such a difficult and challenging 2020”.