Lorry drivers avoid French ports because of fear

Published: 27 May 2015

Lorry drivers avoid French ports because of fear
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UK lorry drivers are avoiding Calais because illegal immigrants are trying to force their way in to their vehicles.

As an alternative they are driving nearly 100 miles more into Holland to use their ports as they are ‘’terrified for their lives’’ as they drive in to Calais.

The RHA have said that lorry drivers have been left feeling vulnerable and have called upon security measures to be improved immediately at European ports.

The Home Office have advised that over 40,000 attempts by illegal immigrants to gain entry in to the UK had been prevented during 2014, however UK lorry drivers are saying the situation has gone far beyond that of last year.

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Migrants climbing into a lorry in Calais in broad daylight

The managing director of Maru International, Vaughan Woolfitt, has said he is now re-routing his lorries through Zeebrugge in Belgium and Hull to avoid any incidents for his drivers at French ports.
Vaughan said “It is extremely intimidating and I think the French and UK authorities should be working really hard to make sure that trade is unhindered and our drivers shouldn’t have to go to work fearing for their safety.”

One of Maru Internationals drivers, Michael Pearson, says the current problems in France are the worst he has seen in 40 years.

Michael then said ‘’A group of maybe 20 or 30 people, crowbar in hand, broke the padlock off the truck in front, broke the seal and opened the doors. If I think about it now, I’m in fear of my life and I’m not my myself on this, several of my colleagues also spoke out about that.’’

‘’Their attitude, their whole goal is just to get in to the UK irrespective of what damage, or damage to persons, vehicles, property they cause, it doesn’t matter.’’

‘’They were raising fists, there was a bloke with an iron bar because I was blowing the horn to alert the driver in front that they were getting into his trailer. That’s the bit they don’t like, blowing your horn.’’

‘’ That threat was directed at me personally. I was terrified because I’m on my own and if you get out - you can’t get out - because your life’s in danger’’

‘’It’s only a matter of time before somebody is seriously injured, killed or windows are smashed and people are dragged out of their trucks. It’s an unbelievable experience to go through’’

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More migranst breaking in to lorry in Calais

The Road Haulage Association, which represents haulage firms in the UK, said northern European port security needed improving, particularly fencing on approach roads to ports and the EU borders in Greece and Italy needed to be secure.

French authorities are under ever growing pressure to clear the makeshift migrant camps around Calais that are spreading as growing numbers flock to the port to try to get in to the UK.

Hundreds of migrants every day try to hide in lorries as they queue up to board UK-bound ferries.

Currently more than 2,000 migrants live in Calais, most in a makeshift camp which has been dubbed ‘’The New Jungle’’ next to the new day-centre only three miles outside of the city centre.

But charities have warned that an increase in numbers is likely following the record numbers of migrants reaching Italy, many of whom are shuffled straight through and then make their way to northern Europe.

The UK has said it would refuse to accept any proposal by the European Commission to share the refugees and asylum seekers among the EU’s 28 member states.

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An indepth look at the issue by InFocus

Something needs to be done and soon to help protect and sustain transport through French ports, if more and more haulage operators decide to boycott France for longer routes this will have an impact on the cost of deliveries which will inevitably rise.
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