It’s crowded at the European Ferry terminals. The ferry between Calais and Dover is experiencing significant delays this summer. Staff shortages at border control and the consequences of Brexit are causing long queues at passport control and check-in. What should you take into account if you want to go to England by boat?
Longer waiting times for crossing the channel
This summer holiday traffic returned to its former level and lots of tourists cross the Channel to Dover. The boat trip across the channel should be a relaxing start of the holiday. Unfortunately, when passenger numbers peak, it causes significant delays at ports. The roads to Calais and Dunkirk are full and there are some major traffic jams on the British side as well. The Eurotunnel is also struggling with increased crowds, resulting in delays.
Border control: the bottleneck at the Ferry terminals
The ferry companies do everything they can to make it run smoothly. However, despite the many departures, there are still delays. Border controls have been tightened and are taking longer because Brexit. The staff shortage at customs and the increased holiday volume limit the flow of travellers, resulting in long traffic jams on both sides.
The British and French carry out each other's border checks: you will meet the French customs in Dover and the British customs in Calais. In Dover, travellers sometimes need to queue for up to six hours for French border control. In France tourists are also stuck in traffic for a long time in front of the port of Calais.
Worst chaos seem over, but keep in mind long waiting times
When the peak season comes to an end, the crowds will also decrease somewhat. However, problems surrounding personnel and the pressure on border controls will continue for the time being. Therefore keep in mind traffic jams and a longer waiting time at the Ferry terminals on both the French and British side. Depart on time and bring enough food and drink.
Avoid the traffic problems? Some alternatives:
- A little further south in France there are two alternative ferry services to Great Britain: Le Havre- Portsmouth and Dieppe- Newhaven
- Or take the boat from The Netherlands to Harwich
- The Eurotunnel is often an excellent alternative. Check the current traffic information before departure. Unfortunately there are delays at the Eurotunnel as well
- Check all the options and find the best route at our Ferry map