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Plain sailing?

How is Rotterdam, Europe's biggest port, preparing for Brexit?

How is Rotterdam, Europe's biggest port, preparing for Brexit? The Netherlands port handles millions of tons of goods and thousands of ships every year. Port officials are proud of this vast and slick operation. Much of its efficiency is down to a centralised system known as Portbase, which offers a means of dealing with custom declarations and other formalities electronically, without the use of physical paperwork. All port users – such as customs, freight forwarders, transport firms and ferry companies – must register with the system. Any ships or trucks that arrive and are not registered will be turned away. Now there are fears that a giant spanner may be about to be thrown into the works of this smooth-running machine, if and when Britain leaves the EU. Intense work has long been underway to make Rotterdam ready for this event – but will these preparations be enough to stave off the practical problems that Brexit might cause? Ruth Alexander has been to Rotterdam to find out.

Producer: Neil Koenig

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28 minutes

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