UK haulage industry losing £750,000 a day

Published: 29 July 2015

UK haulage industry losing £750,000 a day
The UK haulage industry is losing as much as £750,000 a day due to the critical problems our lorry drivers are facing this summer when attempting to cross the Channel.

A number of contributing factors including the migrant crisis in Calais, strike action by ferry workers and farmers protesting has resulted in lorry drivers spending hours stuck in what seem like endless queues in both Kent and Calais.

Even more delays impacted cross channel services when the body of a suspected migrant was found on the roof of a Eurotunnel train at the Channel Terminal in Folkestone yesterday.

Passenger and freight services were again disrupted today as a result of 1500 migrants storming the Eurotunnel terminal in Coquelles in what has become an almost nightly incident.

It is now estimated that over 5,000 migrants are believed to be camped in and around the French port of Calais. Reports are also showing that that number could reach 10,000 by the end of August.

Operation Stack remains in full swing and Kent police have warned it could remain in place until at least Sunday.

Migrants storm the tunnel
The FTA have said that the impact on Britain’s economy was horrendous and it isn’t just an industry problem but a national one.

James Hookham, Deputy Chief Executive, said: "Given the value of goods lost and the subsequent cost to business, these figures show that Operation Stack is not just an issue for Kent and the south east of England but a serious national strategic problem.

"This is the country's GDP and export standing still in these horrendous queues caused by the situation in Calais.

"It is simply not acceptable that industrial action in France can cause such chaos which is impacting on the British economy.

"Calais has to be made a strike-free zone so that cross-Channel traffic can start moving again and Operation Stack can be lifted as soon as possible."

Even after a migrant is found dead more try to storm the tunnel

Even more chaos is predicted this weekend, as the start of the great summer getaway gets underway, because trucks are already stacked in miles of queues on the M20 and cross channel services report delays.

Kent County Council is hosting a multi-agency meeting in Maidstone where the FTA, Eurotunnel, Kent Police and other organisations will discuss the current crisis and try to come up with some kind of solution which they can recommend to the Government.

The mounting problems come as video footage has emerged showing what looks like migrants travelling to the UK on empty freight train carriages.

John Keefe, from Eurotunnel, told the press: "It is likely this group took advantage when the authorities were distracted by other migrants. Because of their activity in France we can't sometimes fully load a train."

The Port of Dover said the motorway was closed coast bound between junctions 8 and 11 following the problems at the Channel Tunnel and high volumes of freight traffic. However a port spokesperson has said the port remains "open for business", with P&O Ferries and DFDS Seaways operating full services.

This month Home Secretary Theresa May announced that a new secure zone would be created at Calais for UK-bound lorries is response to the migrant crisis in Northern France.

The RHA have said the industry urgently needs a solution to the strikes that have been occurring in Calais, and to the threats posed to lorry drivers and their loads.

Richard Burnett, Chief Executive said: "This is a crisis and demands swift and dramatic action. It appears that the tunnel is being laid siege to many hundreds of people desperate to get to Britain

"Tragically, migrants are being killed and our members are being subject to a daily gauntlet of intimidation and long expensive delays. It is also totally unacceptable that the people of Kent should bear this burden.

"I reiterate my call for the French government to put their military into Calais to secure the port and the tunnel terminal if the police are unable to do so on their own. By taking this decisive action, one of the main causes of Stack will be reduced."

Something needs to be done immediately to try and resolve these problems in Calais, the French and British Governments need to act now before it costs the economy any more money. Businesses are not receiving there goods on time and more and more hauliers are avoiding the French port altogether which could have an impact on haulage rates.


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