Channel Tunnel facilitates almost €140 billion of trade

Brussels, Belgium: The Channel Tunnel facilitates almost €140 billion of trade, more than a quarter of all trade between the UK and the EU, says a new report.

Given the high value nature of the goods, Pharma-chem companies value the high security offered by the Channel Tunnel. Customers note that the ability to transport refrigerated freight, the significantly lower embarking and disembarking times than alternative methods, and the protection from adverse weather conditions are all reasons for using the Channel Tunnel, the company says.

The report, Economic Footprint of the Channel Tunnel in the EU, demonstrates the integral role played by the fixed link in the transportation of goods, freight and people between mainland Europe, the UK and Ireland, and highlights its importance to the vitality of trade and tourism, and economic growth, on both sides of the Channel.

The report shows for the first time the detail of the traffic flows managed by Eurotunnel between the UK and its five principal European partners: Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Ireland.

The total amount of trade passing through the Tunnel each year has increased to almost €140 billion, with imports and exports being almost equal. This represents hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the Channel and this value has increased significantly over the last two years.

Jacques Gounon, chairman, Getlink, said: “The Channel Tunnel is more than just a vital link between Great Britain and continental Europe, it is a physical connection, a vector for development and a creator of value. Maintaining this dynamic must remain a priority for the whole of Europe, to the benefit of all its people”.

EU countries and their use of the Channel Tunnel:

France

  • The Channel Tunnel carries 27 per cent of French exports to the UK (by value) and 42 per cent of French imports from the UK
  • More people from the UK visit France than from any other country – 12 million, accounting for 15.4 per cent of non-domestic tourists
  • The Channel Tunnel also supports exports to the UK from the expanding French brewing industry. The UK received 15 per cent of French beer exports in 2016 (€42m)
  • In 2016, France was the largest European importer (€5.8bn) and exporter (€4bn) of postal and courier freight via the Channel Tunnel.

Germany

  • The Channel Tunnel carries €4.3bn of value in automotive parts between the UK and Germany. Most notably, it facilitates the rapid transport of components necessary for the just-in-time and just-in-sequence production process employed by the industry
  • Germany is home to nearly a fifth of all European automobile assembly and engine production plants, the largest proportion in a single country. The UK is home to the second highest number. Many of these plants form part of an interconnected and interdependent supply chain network across Europe and the world
  • The fixed link plays a critical role in supporting the automotive trading relationship between the UK and Germany. The sector – which supports 818,000 German jobs – is dependent on the UK as a sales market but also as host to multiple elements of the production line and supply chain, for example in the West Midlands and North East of England.

Spain

  • The Channel Tunnel supported €7.8bn of trade between the UK and Spain in 2016 – approximately 21 per cent of all Spanish trade with the UK
  • The UK is Spain’s third largest export market for fresh produce (13 per cent). Due to the perishability and time-sensitive nature of fresh produce, time is of particular importance when considering long distance transport options. As a result, the sector is heavily reliant on the Channel Tunnel to transport its produce to the UK
  • 34.4 per cent of UK exports to Spain go via the Channel Tunnel
  • In 2016, the Tunnel transported €193m of fresh produce from Spain to the UK and almost half of the UK’s citrus fruit imports are sourced here.

Belgium and the Netherlands

  • Belgium and the Netherlands account for more than a third of postal and courier exports to the UK
  • The UK market for same-day and next-day delivery almost doubled in size between 2012 and 2016, from €4.4bn to €8.1bn
  • The Channel Tunnel has been a key element to facilitating the growth of same-day and next day delivery to homes and businesses
  • The Channel Tunnel allows haulage companies to optimise their drivers’ routes and schedules, allowing for the scheduled breaks drivers must take after four and a half hours of driving. The Channel Tunnel provides a rest period, allowing companies to adhere to legal requirements without compensating on journey times
  • The Netherlands’ flower export market is particularly reliant on the Channel Tunnel. The industry as a whole exports €5.6bn of flowers, plants and bulbs of which the UK is the second largest market. In 2016, exports of flowers, such as sales of Dutch tulips, roses and chrysanthemums to British supermarkets reached €0.9bn.

Ireland

  • The Channel Tunnel has provided a crucial land bridge for Irish exports to access mainland Europe via the UK. Key exports include medicines and pharma products, organic chemicals, essential oils and perfume materials
  • Just over 50 per cent of Ireland’s exports in 2016 went to other European countries, with Belgium and the UK collectively accounting for just under half of Ireland’s European exports
  • Ireland’s exports are dominated by pharma-chem, accounting for 45 per cent of total export value in 2016