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Calais to expand cross-Channel trade

Calais, France: Calais is being marketed as “Britain’s New Gateway”.  The French port is promoting to UK businesses and plans to double its capacity by the end of 2018.

Calais port will expand to accommodate bigger ships and more passengers. Work on a €300m, 160-hectare industrial park will start in September in the hope of attracting more business from freight and logistics companies.

Despite its bold marketing, Jean Marc Puissesseau, president of the chambers, insisted Dover and the UK will benefit from the investment in Calais, which could reach as much as €500m and which is expected to be financed through a combination of European funds, debt and a cash injection from the port’s owner.

“Calais operates only with Dover. Our main, principal and exclusive destination is Dover,” Puissesseau said. “All that is good for Calais is good for Dover. I think we will expand together. Don’t forget it’s the entente cordiale.”

Eurotunnel had been in the running for a new 50-year concession to operate both the port of Calais and Boulogne but decided not to table a final offer for the contract when a deadline passed last month, leaving the opal coast chambers of commerce as the only bidder.

The Port of Calais, owned by the Nord Pas de Calais Regional Council and operated by the local chambers of commerce, was last year rumoured to have been the highest bidder for Dover Port. The sale was scrapped in December.