The Freight Transport Association has called on the French government to act quickly on its commitment to dismantle the Calais migrant camp following protest by truckers, farmers, local businesses and residents earlier this week.
The government has agreed to remove the camp by the end of the year and meanwhile put additional police on routes surrounding the port to protect drivers who are frequently confronted by migrants trying to board their vehicles.
The FTA argues that a firm timetable must be put in place to ensure the plan is quickly implemented to improve the situation for its members.
Deputy chief executive James Hookham said: ““We have been frustrated by the lamentable reaction of the French Government so far given the collapse of public order in the Calais region, and the impossible position it has put their citizens and businesses in. Only the French Government can resolve the overall problem, and we call on it to act sooner rather than later.”
Numbers in the Jungle Camp have swelled to more than 9,000 and FTA members have reported unprecedented levels of violence on roads surrounding the port. One driver described how migrants sharpened tree branches into spears to throw at truck windscreens.
The decision by the French government has been welcomed by ferry operators P&O and DFDS as well as the Port of Dover.
In a joint statement, they said: “The priority now is to ensure that the camp is closed as quickly, efficiently and humanely as possible with the inhabitants relocated to alternative accommodation away from major international ports. Everyone who travels through the Port of Calais has a right to a fluid, safe and secure journey, ensuring people and goods keep moving. We will continue to work closely with the French government to ensure that the Channel ports remain open for business and that the current situation is not allowed to recur, something which is in the vital interests of millions of tourists, hundreds of thousands of importers and exporters, and the national economies of Britain and France.”