Chaos has reignited in the Calais area, with drivers being threatened by gangs of migrants trying to board trucks, which has led the FTA
to once again call for action.
FTA members have complained that the situation at the French port is quickly going ‘downhill’ where migrant numbers in the camps have hit 6,000.
Lorry driver Euan Flemming, who drivers for FTA member Blair Transport, said security and police were nowhere to be seen in the slow crawl to the port this morning. Migrants were surrounding lorries and jumping from bridges onto roofs of curtain-siders.
Euan said ‘’ It made big news in the summer because holidaymakers were affected but the situation is worse than ever. I’m sitting here in a curtain-sided truck and there are thousands of migrants all around – I might as well roll out the red carpet.
“The situation improved in August and September but this week it has gone downhill. The migrants have mobilised themselves – it is shockingly bad right now.”
Euan said his colleagues had witnessed an invasion of the secure lorry compound last week, with ‘running riots’ as migrants tried to board lorries.
Donald Armour, FTA’s International Affairs Manager, said: “FTA is dismayed to learn that for the fourth night in a row migrants have successfully managed to break through the security fencing at the Eurotunnel compound and past the other measures put in place since the summer. You have to ask ‘who is advising Eurotunnel what to do?”
“FTA believes more robust measures need to be taken by the French authorities to keep drivers safe and to ensure that Eurotunnel can function properly, without the dangers and serious disruption our members have had to endure this week.”
Armour concluded: “FTA welcomes this morning’s news that 500 additional French police are to be deployed in order to strengthen the Tunnel’s defences but clearly this isn’t sufficient to cope with the relentless nightly attacks. We are very concerned that drivers are still being put at risk as they travel through Pas de Calais back to the ports.”
Migrant ‘invasions’ of the Eurotunnel compound over the last few days have caused more delays for freight deliveries both sides of the Channel. A Traffic Action plan has been put in place in Dover to try and deal with the increasing number of queuing lorries.
FTA had called for the French government to take action during the summer and advised its members not to refuel or take rest stops near Calais. Many haulage companies
were taking huge detours to avoid the port and some even packed in European haulage while the problem continued.
John Keefe, Eurotunnel spokesman, said: “The two governments have invested very heavily in policing and security measures to better protect the crossing.”
“Works that have been going on - with extra fences, cameras, infrared detectors and so on - are reaching fruition, and as the net closes and it becomes harder for people to get across, they're changing their tactics and trying more desperate measures.
“They're coming in much bigger numbers to try and overwhelm the authorities that are there. It's that last desperate attempt to get through with winter coming, the weather conditions deteriorating and the security getting tighter,” Keefe added.