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Dover Strait - New study highlights the economic footprint of the Channel tunnel

Published the 27 February 2017

A study performed by Ernst & young for Eurotunnel group, published in October 2016, proposes an analysis of the economic value of the traffic of passengers and goods through the Channel tunnel. The study highlights the key role of the fixed link (opened in 1994) for the UK economy and exchanges with the continent.

  • A strong link between Great Britain and the continent

The study states that 22% of British importations from the EU and 30% of British exportations to the EU cross Dover Strait through the Channel tunnel; in short, £91.4 billion of trade, which represents 25% of trade between UK and the EU countries. The main products concerned are postal and courier freight, computers and electronics and transport equipment.

In total, more than a third of freight units between UK and France cross Dover Strait through the fixed link, its main added value being the shortest time for transit (90 minutes vs 210 minutes using a ferry). In volume, the main country for importations to the UK through the tunnel is Belgium (26% of the total volume of importations through the tunnel), but in value Germany reaches the first place (with 19% of the total value of importation which transits through the tunnel).

  • The fixed link supporting jobs in the UK

In the UK, it is estimated that 45 000 jobs are supported by tourists using the tunnel (21 million passengers in 2014, 58% of tourists). With expenses up to £376 in average during their visit, tourists using the tunnel are contributing to the UK economy for £1.7 billion (direct contribution to the UK’s GDP in 2014: £865 million).

The study estimates that exports sent by UK producers through the Channel tunnel supported 220,000 jobs in 2014, which represents about 1% of the UK’s working population.

  • Strong assets of the tunnel

The Channel tunnel offers a high frequency service with flexibility and reliability. It generally enables to reduce transport time and costs for companies. 90% of freight operators explain they have chosen the tunnel for the shorter transport time; it is estimated that each crossing generates £55 savings per truck. Among other reasons why operators chose to cross the strait through the tunnel: proximity to collection or drop site (29%) or high value cargo (22%).

It is expected that the Brexit will not impact the traffic in the tunnel, as trade will continue between the UK and the EU countries.


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