Months of Brexit “scaremongering” about potential disruption at the port of Dover has left travellers opting for alternative ferry departure points, it is claimed.

Data from ferry booking service Direct Ferries indicates that UK customers are selecting alternative ferry routes to travel to European destinations.

Those that have seen the most increases in traffic are from Harwich to the Hook of Holland and Hull to Rotterdam.

February saw year-on-year rise of 29% in bookings from Harwich to the Hook of Holland and 21% from Hull to Rotterdam.

This came as a result of the Brexit debate continuing to focus on potential capacity issues at Dover with high profile discussions around likely delays, increased border controls and gridlocked roads, according to the ferry ticketing firm.

The company recently reported on a significant increase in one-day or weekend cross-Channel shopping trips as UK consumers prepare for the possibility of no deal Brexit and get in ahead of possible tariff rises.

Dover is Europe’s busiest ferry port for the movement of passengers and trade, handling 2.3 million tourist vehicles and 12 million passengers a year.

It is one of 13 ports serving a total of 15 European destinations –the others being Fishguard, Folkestone, Harwich, Holyhead, Hull, Liverpool, Newcastle, Newhaven, Pembroke, Plymouth, Poole and Portsmouth.

Direct Ferries chief executive Sean Cornwell said: “Customers should be forgiven for thinking that there are significant issues at Dover as anyone following the Brexit debate is regularly hearing about bottlenecks and the M2 turning into a lorry park.

“Our qualitative feedback from cross-Channel travellers supports this, as does our booking data.

“However, they are over-estimating the problem. Dover is an extremely efficient port, run like a finely tuned engine. It is open for business as normal and customers should have every confidence booking this route for the foreseeable future.”

He added: “We have capacity visibility on all 13 routes across the Channel and we see plenty of availability for UK customers to travel to European destinations.

“Customers should feel confident about travelling by ferry from Dover and any other UK port to European destinations in the months ahead, deal or no deal.”

tw1