Channel Tunnel worth £91.4bn in UK/EU trade, as analysts allay Brexit fears

Kathryn Gaw
Follow Kathryn

The Channel Tunnel is responsible for £91.4bn in imports and exports each year, as analysts predict that this trade link will continue to benefit the UK economy, regardless of Brexit.

In a report entitled Economic Footprint of the Channel Tunnel, Ernst and Young researched the total economic value of the 22-year-old Tunnel, and found that it facilitates a quarter of all UK trade with the EU. Despite uncertainty over the terms of the Brexit agreement, Eurotunnel executives and EY analysts stated their belief that the Tunnel will continue to play a leading role in UK/EU trade in the future.

“The UK’s trading relationship with European countries continues to develop, regardless of Brexit,” said Jacques Gounon, chief executive at Groupe Eurotunnel. “This means that the Channel Tunnel remains vital to the UK, to connect it with Europe and beyond and it will continue to form a key part of the UK’s transport infrastructure. One of the most striking aspects of this report by Ernst and Young is the geographical range of companies who rely on the Tunnel to do business. The Tunnel not only serves companies in London and the South East but right the way through the Midlands, the North of England and beyond.”

Read more: RBS chairman calls for transistional Brexit deal for banks

EY’s report found that 30 per cent of UK exports (worth £43.6bn) to the EU and 22 per cent of imports (worth £47.8bn) from the EU now depend on the tunnel, while 21 million passengers a year use the Eurotunnel’s transport service. Tourists visiting the UK via the tunnel spend £1.7bn in the UK economy.

The largest export product groups include postal and courier freight (£9.9bn), computers and electronics (£7.9bn), and motor vehicles, parts and other transport equipment (£6.1bn). The EY accounts for 53 per cent of demand for UK-built vehicles, with Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands collectively exporting 70 per cent of the UK’s motor exports via the Tunnel.

“As we can see throughout this report, the Channel Tunnel connects the UK with continental Europe, by providing a service which cuts transport time and cost for businesses,” said Peter Arnold, Director for Economic Advisory, EY.

“The ability of the Channel Tunnel to link directly into the road and rail networks of the UK and continental Europe means it reduces physical barriers to trade. For a number of export and import sectors this is critical to their business models. The £91.4bn of trade that passes through the Tunnel each year is vital to the UK and is likely to grow in importance as the economy continues to expand.”

Related articles