Channel Tunnel brings £90bn of trade into UK

The Channel Tunnel brings more than £90 billion worth of trade in and out of the UK, according to a report.

A  Eurostar train emerges from the Eurotunnel,
Picture: Getty Images
A Eurostar train emerges from the Eurotunnel, Picture: Getty Images

The study by Ernst & Young assessed the economic contribution of the Channel Tunnel to trade and tourism, and its role in the UK’s economic growth.

It found that 30 per cent of UK exports (£43.6 billion) to the EU and 22 per cent of imports (£47.8 billion) from the EU - a total of £91.4 billion - depend on the reliability of the Channel Tunnel, with exports through the Tunnel supporting 220,000 jobs in the UK.

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As well as goods transported on freight shuttles and trains, the Tunnel also transports 21 million passengers a year via Eurotunnel’s Le Shuttle service and Eurostar trains.

The report found that this facilitates inbound tourism via the Tunnel worth £1.7bn to the economy, supporting a further 45,000 jobs in the UK and 840,000 business trips.

Jacques Gounon, chief executive at Groupe Eurotunnel, said: “The UK’s trading relationship with European countries continues to develop, regardless of Brexit.

“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 & 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.”

Peter Arnold, director for economic advisory at EY, said: “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.

“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 £91.4 billion 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.”

The report, called Economic Footprint of the Channel Tunnel Fixed Link, will be launched at a reception to parliamentarians and policymakers on Monday afternoon in the House of Commons.