Scenes witnessed yesterday in and around Calais have been described as unprecedented by the Freight Transport Association (FTA). Touring the Eurotunnel facilities on what was expected to be the busiest day of the year for vehicles travelling through Calais, the FTA’s Chris Yarsley reports seeing thousands of migrants attacking trucks as they queued on the motorway.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has renewed its call for deployment of the French military to protect HGV drivers. RHA chief executive Richard Burnett visited Calais last week, and expressed his concern that current security measures are insufficient to guarantee the safety of drivers making their way into the UK.
The Road Haulage Association has restated the seriousness of the situation at Calais, France, where it says “growing numbers of migrants… are becoming increasingly frustrated that their efforts to gain access to UK-bound trucks are being thwarted.” While Calais has slipped from the headlines somewhat since its July peak, the RHA says the problems have not gone away. The association says the measures currently being taken are not enough to protect drivers. Two days ago Calais police said officers monitoring the 6000-strong camp near the Port were pelted with rocks as migrants repeatedly tried to block roads leading to the main ferry terminal.
Rhenus Logistics UK, one of Britain’s leading freight forwarders, has warned that freight prices could rise significantly in the next few weeks, unless the ongoing crisis at Calais is resolved. David Williams, managing director of Rhenus UK, is concerned about the operational impact the French strikers and migrant incursions is having on UK import and export trade.
The Home Secretary’s announcement of plans for a protected lorry parking zone in the port of Calais has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association. FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham says the association is “delighted” with the announcement of a zone to protect drivers from “gangs of migrants” who have allegedly threatened and intimidated them.
The FTA has told David Cameron that the death of a migrant on a freight train at Calais highlights the need for urgent action to tackle chaos at the port. Following weeks of violent disturbances, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has written to the prime minister describing the situation as a “deplorable”. FTA has told the PM that conditions for drivers have reached unacceptable levels and the situation must be given urgent priority by the British and French governments. A resolute and determined plan must be put in place.
“End this madness now,” is the Freight Transport Association’s message to the French Government after ferry workers threatened a second week of cross-Channel disruption. A four-day strike by MyFerryLink workers saw burning tyres thrown on the Eurotunnel tracks and 30 miles of lorries stacked on the M20 in Kent. Industrial action was suspended on Thursday but further walk-outs are threatened from next Tuesday and FTA deputy chief executive James Hookham says enough is enough.
On Tuesday 30 June, Road Haulage Association chief executive Richard Burnett made the trip to Calais to witness for himself the “appalling conditions” under which UK hauliers are currently operating. “This action will have a massive effect on the UK economy as a whole and is putting the livelihood and lives of hundreds of hauliers at risk”, said Richard Burnett.