Freight News, Logistics

Freight flows despite French security cordon

[ November 17, 2015   //   ]

It was more-or-less business as usual for the freight industry in the wake of the Friday 13th attacks on Paris. While some forwarders, including Toll Group, warned that “minor delays may be expected for cargo shipments due to stringent checks during customs clearance,” in practice most borders into France were flowing fairly smoothly, the freight industry reported.

Managing director of Manchester-based Anglo-French specialist France Line International Transport, Marie Boyer, told FBJ: “We are not experiencing any increased difficulties moving between the UK and France; there has been a slight increase in security checks following the attacks in Paris last Friday but there has been no disruption or major impact, and really it is business as usual for us.”

She added: “However, we are aware that security checks have increased much more between Belgium and France, with lots of control and delays in Lille and Valenciennes – this has been reported to us by one of our French offices.”

This was confirmed by French Transport association AFTRI which said that border police and Customs are now checking all vehicles crossing the Belgian border, with traffic irestricted to one lane only. Systematic controls are being conducted on the four highways linking France to Belgium: A22 at Rekkem, A27 at Baisieux, A2 at Thivencelles and A16 at Bray-Dunes.

It added that France’s Ministry of Home Affairs has announced an extraordinary meeting of the EU Council on Friday 20 November in order to discuss, among other things, the “reinforcement of controls at external borders”.

Marie Boyer added that France has also stepped up border controls in both directions, to and from the UK, but this was not causing any delays. “Both the ferries and Eurotunnel are keen to keep the freight traffic flowing, and on the French side, to avoid queues forming as these then create great opportunities for migrants to climb on board – which then creates the need to search trailers, a vicious circle.

“At the moment, there is increased security and at the same time the traffic flows, and trade and the economy are not affected. We are pleased as this is very important at any time, especially now with the Christmas volume peak.”

And at the UK’s Freight Transport Association, international affairs manager, Don Armour, said that there had been no reports of delays to France-bound traffic. However, he added that the long-standing problem of stowaways trying to break into trucks going back to Britain certainly hadn’t gone away. “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d still put it at 7 or 8,” he told FBJ.

“Many of FTA’s members tell us that, where it is possible to do so, they are avoiding the Calais routes in favour of the Western Channel or Hook of Holland to Harwich.”

Tags: , , ,