Brexit: CCS Hauts-de-France is ready for all eventualities

Published on: 16 April 2019
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Jean-Charles Le Gall, Managing Director of CCS Hauts-de-France

The port community in the Hauts-de-France region in the north of France is getting ready for Brexit. Jean-Charles Le Gall, Managing Director of CCS Hauts-de-France, tells us about MGI’s solution.

Two roles for CCS Hauts-de-France

CCS Hauts-de-France has been marketing MGI’s AP+ Cargo Community System (CCS) since 2013. Two years ago, we transformed our Economic Interest Grouping into a single shareholder company so that we can work with businesses that are not part of the Dunkirk Maritime and Commercial Federation (UMCD), our sole shareholder, and provide them with an AP+ connection.

We basically have two roles:

  • market the CCS to members of our federation, freight forwarders in the Hauts-de-France region, river transport operators and inland platforms such as the Port of Lille and the Dourges platform;
  • meet the needs of CCS users and potential clients. Our strategic committee’s mission is to come up with as many ideas as possible to this end!


Preparing for Brexit

And it’s the strategic committee that came up with an idea for handling cross-Channel flows. In 2018, we gathered all the private and public stakeholders, including the Hauts-de-France region, which owns the Port of Calais, Getlink, the Dunkirk Port Authority, the regional prefecture, Société des Ports du Détroit (SPD), ferry operators, the Calais Maritime Federation, customs and veterinary and plant health services, together, of course, with all the relevant members of the UMCD. The goal was to look at how CCS Hauts-de-France could help operators and users maintain smooth cross-Channel goods flows. In current conditions, with a departure every twenty minutes for Getlink, one every forty minutes for Calais port and one every two hours at Dunkirk, we needed to come up with systems to enable customs clearance ahead of arrival.

We commissioned MGI to carry out a study and put forward a unique and adapted solution for cross-Channel traffic. Simply transferring the processes used for handling Ro-Ro flows in Marseille, for example, to cross-Channel flows wouldn’t work, because of their specific characteristics, including the short time periods between loading and unloading, transit times, and more. We needed a tailored solution.

A solution for maintaining smooth cross-Channel flows

In December 2018, MGI presented its conclusions to operators. The proposed solution involves integrating a specific module called Channel Pass into Ci5, which fully meets the requirement for customs clearance ahead of time, and will ensure smooth goods flows in the event of a hard Brexit.

We are still waiting to see what will come of Brexit. If there is an agreement, we will need to adapt Channel Pass, and find the funding to develop the module. Assuming Brexit happens, borders will be reintroduced, and even if there are reduced administrative formalities, goods and people will need to go through a border check… That is where Channel Pass will come into its own!

In six months, Ci5 will arrive in the Port of Dunkirk

We are finalising a contract with MGI to deploy Ci5 in the Port of Dunkirk from 22 October. The agreement includes the freight consolidation module, which has been specifically designed for Dunkirk and will be deployed on the same date. At the same time, the Shipper menu currently used in Marseille-Fos will be offered in the Hauts-de-France region. Training will be launched after the summer in the run-up to the launch date. The next six months are looking exciting and interesting for the teams at CCS Hauts-de-France!