D'OH-VER

Photos: The British government staged a traffic jam to prepare for a no-deal Brexit

A line of lorries is seen during a trial between disused Manston Airport and the Port of Dover on Jan. 7
A line of lorries is seen during a trial between disused Manston Airport and the Port of Dover on Jan. 7
Image: Reuters/Toby Melville
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If UK prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit proposal is rejected by Parliament, some of the most immediate repercussions could manifest at Dover, one of the world’s busiest ports and a crucial shipping link between the UK and Europe. To prepare for the worst, the British government staged a dry run on Monday (Jan.7) of what a massive traffic jam through the Port of Dover might look like.

The disused Manston airfield was turned into a holding area for trucks heading to Europe. The trucks then caravanned the 20 miles from Manston to Dover.

The event was quickly derided by politicians and drivers alike as a pointless stunt that in no way resembled the actual stresses of a no-deal Brexit. The drill originally called for 150 trucks, but Bloomberg reports that only 89 showed up. Either way, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 16,000 that pass through the port every day.

The whiplash of a no-deal Brexit could be severe. Currently, trucks traveling from the UK into the rest of Europe move freely, with little to no inspection, thanks to the customs agreements of the EU. If the UK leaves the EU without a customs union agreement in place, the number of trucks stopped at Dover could skyrocket from the current 2% that do so, as the New York Times reported in June, to possibly every single one. That would be quite a few more than 89.

A line of trucks at at the Manston airfield.
A line of trucks at at the Manston airfield.
Image: Neil Hall/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
A line of lorries is seen during a trial between disused Manston Airport and the Port of Dover on Jan. 7.
A line of lorries is seen during a trial between disused Manston Airport and the Port of Dover on Jan. 7.
Image: Reuters/Toby Melville
Trucks are seen at the Manston Airport waiting to do a test drive to the Port of Dover.
Trucks are seen at the Manston Airport waiting to do a test drive to the Port of Dover.
Image: Neil Hall/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Trucks are seen queuing in the A259 road during a test drive to the Port of Dover.
Trucks are seen queuing in the A259 road during a test drive to the Port of Dover.
Image: Neil Hall/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Lorries leave disused Manston Airport to attend a test drive to the Port of Dover.
Lorries leave disused Manston Airport to attend a test drive to the Port of Dover.
Image: Reuters/Toby Melville
A no-deal Brexit could create additional border checks, leading to queues of up to 29 miles.
A no-deal Brexit could create additional border checks, leading to queues of up to 29 miles.
Image: Neil Hall/EPA/REX/Shutterstock
Lorries arrive at the Port of Dover during a trial of how road will cope in case of a “no-deal” Brexit.
Lorries arrive at the Port of Dover during a trial of how road will cope in case of a “no-deal” Brexit.
Image: Reuters/Peter Nicholls
A truck, at right, takes part in a no-deal Brexit test, by driving through Dover near the ferry port on Jan. 7.
A truck, at right, takes part in a no-deal Brexit test, by driving through Dover near the ferry port on Jan. 7.
Image: AP Photo/Matt Dunham