Two locations in Flanders province are preparing parking places for large numbers of lorries to cope with queues after Brexit on 1 January 2021.
As the United Kingdom ends its transition period and completes its departure from the European Union, import and export formalities will become more complicated, regardless of what sort of deal the two sides can agree, if any.
Because of the nature of trade between the UK and the EU27, the addition of any formalities at all is bound to cause delays to traffic boarding at either side of the Channel.
On the UK side, large areas of ground have been cleared near the Channel ports to provide parking space for lorries held up by the new checks.
On the Belgian side, a private airfield close to the E40 motorway at Ursel, near Aalter on the border of East and West Flanders, has moved some 30 aircraft to other locations to leave the ground clear for lorries waiting to transit from Zeebrugge.
During weekdays, when traffic is expected to be highest, lorries may be puled off of the motorway if tailbacks become too long, and the airfield used as a parking lot until such times as the lines go down.
The seizure of the land is not to the liking of the Ursel flying club.
“This is another blow in this tough corona year,” Kurt Plyson of the club told the VRT. “We immediately looked for a solution and found it in Wevelgem. We are going to fly all of our planes, about 30 of them, over there.”
Then yesterday, the city council of Bruges ordered an emergency contract for the construction of a new paved section by the port of Zeebrugge to be reserved for lorry drivers who have not the correct paperwork to be allowed to cross to the UK. The new section will allow those drivers to pull off to the side without disrupting the line that will have formed behind them.
The new drive-through lane can then lead the lorries concerned to triage parking places on the A11, or to the customs posts.
“These works are necessary in view of the approaching Brexit, and are necessary in order not to hinder the traffic flow on Isabellalaan,” Franky Demon, city councillor for town planning said.