New infrastructure at ports will be urgently needed whether or not the UK secures a negotiated agreement with the EU.
The fund is available to ports that have the space to build new border infrastructure on their current sites so that they are ready to handle new customs requirements under the new border operating model.
The funding can be used for a range of vital port infrastructure – from warehouses and control posts to traffic management systems.
The deadline for applications is midday on 30 October, with successful bids announced shortly after.
Where infrastructure is not best situated at ports, the government has allocated a further £270m to build inland customs facilities.
Richard Ballantyne chief executive of the British Ports Association, which represents ports that facilitate 86% of trade including all the UK’s main roll-on roll-off gateways, said: “We welcome this fund and the focus on preparing port infrastructure for what we will need to accommodate a significant change in our trading relationship with the EU.
“It’s clear that without support there would not be the capacity to deal the new customs and borders requirements. We therefore welcome this scheme which importantly will be open to all port operators across Great Britain.”