Europe-wide discussions needed to tackle Calais crisis, says RHA

Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association is calling for the UK Government to lead cross EU discussions to try and resolve the current crisis situation in Calais.

“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 today’s announcement by the Government of more resources however, I believe that only concerted and integrated co-operation right across Europe can resolve this problem.”

The call comes as a result of the surge in attempts by ‘clandestines’ to enter the UK illegally as they exploit delays caused by recent strike action in the Calais area. This situation has led to serious delays and many HGV drivers have complained of harassment. In addition, the implementation of Operation Stack on the M20 has caused hauliers even further disruption.

Burnett continued: “The resulting delays in freight vehicle movements are costing hauliers millions of pounds. For every hundred vehicles that have had no alternative but to wait, the cost will have been in excess of £30,000 per day. Although no definitive figure for the amount of vehicles stationery in Operation Stack at any one time is available, we’ve received reports from members that numbers at peak periods were over 2,500. This equates to a massive loss of £750,000 per day.

“As well as the stress and fear being experienced by the drivers, the freight companies are taking a serious financial hit. In addition to the loss of revenue due to vehicles standing, an incalculable amount of money is also being lost through missed delivery times. What was a chronic situation is now turning into an acute emergency. The issue of clandestines trying to access the UK via illegal means has been a major issue for our members and the haulage industry for years. These latest scenes at Calais dictate that we must have positive and swift action.”

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