Freight News, Road, Sea

Dover blames French police for five-hour queues

[ July 22, 2022   //   ]

The Port of Dover says it is “deeply frustrated” at the “woefully inadequate” resource at the French border which has led to long queues on the approaches to the cross-Channel gateway.

The Port was reported by the BBC to have declared a critical incident as cars and trucks queued for five hour to reach the ferry terminal on some of the hottest days of the year so far.

Dover said on 22 July that resources at the French border overnight and early that morning had been woefully inadequate to meet predicted demand and it deeply regretted “the consequences that will now be felt by so many”.

It added: “Knowing we are now in a new world of post-Brexit and Covid checks, we worked to increase interim French border control booths by 50% and improved traffic systems in order to build in resilience and capacity in time for the summer. The Port of Dover made significant investment and delivered on this. We trained a new team of passenger champions to be on hand and assist customers at the port. They are there working hard and doing all they can to help them. We also have provided enhanced amenities, such as toilets and refreshments, as well as water refilling stations, to look after customers.”

Dover says it has worked particularly hard, and extremely positively up to now, with its French Police Aux Frontieres (PAF) colleagues over recent months to plan for the traffic volumes that were fully expected, sharing data “in granular detail” so that they could be matched by adequate border resource.

It said: “We know that resource is finite, but the popularity of Dover is not a surprise. Regrettably, the PAF resource has been insufficient and has fallen far short of what is required to ensure a smooth first weekend of the peak summer getaway period.

“We will continue to work with all Kent partners to look after those caught up in the current situation, which could and should have been avoided, and play our part in resolving it as soon as possible. Working with and through the UK government, we will also liaise constructively with PAF to work through the present logjam and to stress again the importance of adequate French border resource for the coming days and weeks on which we had previously been assured.

“We have to work as a team, and when we do the system works incredibly well, but it is reliant on every team member playing their part.”