dover port lorries

The government’s Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is believed to be fully operational again, after a week-long IT outage that added to the severe traffic delays around Dover.

Technicians “successfully made changes to the HMRC network to allow availability of the GVMS” late last week, with “contingencies” remaining in place until midday today (11 April), a government spokesman said.

The outage contributed last week to long lines of traffic seen on roads into the Port of Dover – which port management and ferry companies put down to a combination of bad weather, higher pre- France-bound tourist numbers, and a shortage of boats after the suspension of services by operator P&O Ferries.

The miles-long lines of traffic around the port eased over the weekend, according to the Kent Resilience Forum (KRF), which oversees a traffic management system for the roads into the port.

It was “able to clear the backlog of freight to Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover, and freight is currently flowing freely to the portals” said Toby Howe, KRF tactical resilience lead, who warned that “freight numbers are forecast to increase through the week with a peak on Wednesday/Thursday”.

However, a prioritisation system to help perishable goods get through long queues at Dover is not a realistic option, environment secretary George Eustice told BBC Breakfast today. It would be difficult to stand up at short notice and on a large scale, he added.

His comments came after the hauliers told the BBC at the weekend that perishable goods were declining in quality amid delays around Dover of up to 25 hours. The British Meat Processors Association told warned that more delays could prompt other countries to seek alternatives to British food exports – which in recent months have also faced separate red tape delays over the EU’s revised system for export health certificates.