Freight News, Sea

Operation stack ends but Calais still in crisis

[ June 25, 2015   //   ]

Operation stack on the M20 approaches to the Channel Tunnel and ferry ports has been lifted – but not before hundreds of migrants stormed trucks queuing at Calais. UK-bound traffic was caught up in congestion caused by a strike and blockade by workers, after it was revealed that there would be widespread redundancies at the MyFerryLink ferry service, part of which is in the process of being bought by DFDS.
Reportedly thousands of migrants took advantage of the stalled traffic to break into UK-bound trucks.
The chief executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium, Nigel Jemmy, told FBJ that over the past 6-8 months, his members had lost £8-10m worth of food that had had to be thrown away after stowaways were discovered in food lorries.
“We are lobbying the government to take urgent and robust action – this cost is not sustainable.” He wanted more support from the police to fend off both “opportunistic” boarders and more organised gangs who sometimes resorted to removing entire truck doors and replacing them. There was no sign that the situation was improving, he added.
David Cameron said the UK could send more UK officers and sniffer dog teams to Calais.
Road Haulage Association chief executive, Richard Burnett, called for the UK Government to lead cross EU discussions to try and resolve the crisis.
“It is totally unacceptable for hard working truck drivers to have to run the gauntlet of fear and intimidation that is fast becoming the norm”, he said. “I welcome the announcement by the Government of more resources however; I believe that only concerted and integrated co-operation right across Europe can resolve this problem.”
Richard Burnett estimated that his members were losing £750,000 per day, along with “an incalculable amount” through missed delivery times. “What was a chronic situation is now turning into an acute emergency,” he said.

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