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French border reopens but expect delays – updated

[ December 23, 2020   //   ]

Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover have reopened to accompanied freight after an agreement between the UK and French government to ease the Covid travel ban.

However, drivers must take a Covid test and shows a negative result.
Freight ferry booking agency Motis said that the UK military is organising testing at the Manston Airport holding area using the Lateral Flow technique that gives results within 30 minutes.
The port of Dover said that all freight drivers in Kent requiring a test must head to Manston for a test unless already queueing on the M20, in which case they will be tested in situ.
The UK Department for Transport said the French government would also carry out sample testing on incoming freight.
Ferry operator DFDS said that the French authorities would accept quick tests only for the time being, however. It added that, with about 4000 trucks waiting, it will take days to get them all to France, and it was considering offering additional sailings on 24 December.
Drivers should not travel to the port or Eurotunnel without a valid test result, it added. Moreover, with the huge backlog of trucks unable to cross the Channel since Sunday, heavy delays can be expected.
The Transport Secretary has also temporarily relaxed the drivers’ hours rules during the next few weeks.
Following the announcement policy director at Logistics UK, Elizabeth de Jong, said: “We are relieved to hear the UK/France border will soon be open. It is now vital that testing procedures be stood up fast to ensure drivers can be processed and get home for Christmas safely. The backlog of traffic across the region will take time to clear so hauliers should wait for further news before travelling to Kent.”

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