Around one-quarter of all UK trade in goods with the European Union is made possible through the Channel Tunnel, according to a new report.
Analysis from EY and Groupe Eurotunnel has shown that the Channel Tunnel facilitates trade worth £91.4 billion (€106.3 billion) per year, including 30 per cent of UK exports to the EU and 22 per cent of imports.
Exports through the tunnel alone support 220,000 jobs across the UK, with companies across the country benefiting from the link to Europe it provides, rather than just businesses in London and the south-east.
Industrial sectors that have come to depend on the tunnel's speed and reliability include the automotive industry, logistics companies that rely on speedy delivery, and producers of essential fresh foods that must be shipped rapidly.
The report called for the British government to recognize and maintain the Channel Tunnel's key role in international trade even after the UK exits the EU.
Peter Arnold, director for economic advisory at EY, said: "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."