France is hiring 700 additional customs officers and extra border control facilities in preparation for a potential no deal in Britain’s negotiations over its divorce from the European Union, the minister in charge of customs said on Tuesday.

Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said half of the new customs officers would be hired by the end of this year, ahead of Britain’s expected departure on March 29, 2019.With less than six months to go until Britain leaves the EU there is still no agreement on divorce terms and clarity on a new trade relationship.Darmanin said that while the northern port of Dunkirk regularly handled goods from outside the EU, the government was looking for a new customs facility in nearby Calais, which handles mainly trade with Britain.The fortunes of Calais and the wider Hauts-de-France region are closely intertwined with the UK’s future trade ties.Darmanin also said plans were being made for a new scanner that can scan freight trains passing through the Channel Tunnel linking England and France at 30 km an hour (19 miles and hour).