France takes steps to prepare for no-deal Brexit

It isn't just the British government and businesses that are having to think about and prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Concern is growing in northern French ports about the potential chaos if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

The French government made it clear that rather than the 10 seconds it currently takes for trucks to pass through customs at the Channel Tunnel, post-Brexit the lorries will be subject to the same checks which are imposed on any non-EU country and take far longer.

The British Government's contingency plan is to own or lease roll-on roll-off lorry ferries to make sure vital supplies of goods and medicines continue to reach these shores if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

A worker rushes to prepare freshly caught fish for delivery to markets across Europe. Credit: ITV News

But with four and a half million lorries crossing the Channel every single year, even minor disruptions could have a knock-on effect.

Nowhere understands this more than the channel port of Boulogne, where ranks of heavy refrigerated trucks line up to carry fresh fish to markets across Europe, 30% of which comes from the UK.

Time is precious, because if these shipments arrive even a couple of hours late, it could mean they're unable to be sold and are useless.

Head of import and export at Delanchy Transport, Eric Morchain, explained: "Our trucks have to have fixed times on departures, we can't postpone them because otherwise we would break the whole logistics chain and it wouldn't be delivered the next day anyway."

Mr Morchain said he was working on finding a solution that would allow customs clearance to take place in the French port, but was doubtful about having it in place before March 2019.

With France recruiting 700 more customs officers for the Port of Dunkirk alone, it throws the viability of some industries in the UK into question.