Saturday 26th May 2018 - Logistics Manager

Calais blockade highlights threat to UK trade

The Calais fishermen’s blockade has highlighted the impact on the UK’s trading relationships from disruptions of cross-Channel traffic after Brexit, the Freight Transport Association has warned.

The fishermen blockaded the Port of Calais on Thursday 25th January causing significant disruption to cross-Channel freight movements.

Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association said: “We had no pre-warning of today’s action, so as a result we were unable to warn our members of what was happening. By the time it hit the newswires, truckers were already on their way to the port.”

The FTA pointed out that 2.6 million vehicles pass through the Port of Dover every year, representing almost 20 per cent of the UK’s total trade.

Pauline Bastidon, the FTA’s head of European policy, said: “The Calais-Dover route is a vital one for the successful passage of trade between the UK and continental Europe, and any delays at the ports have a knock-on effect which affect the country’s ability to continue trading effectively.”

She pointed out that just two minutes to process a lorry would cause queues of over 17 miles at Dover.

Burnett also highlighted the risks to hauliers sitting in queues at Calais. “Our concern is that the ensuing backlog will have turned them into sitting ducks for migrant activity. These people, desperate to reach the UK by whatever means possible, must have thought that all their Christmases had come at once. We fear greatly for the safety of drivers as lives and livelihoods are put under threat. We strongly urge any driver caught up in this action to stay safe: keep the doors locked and do not leave the cab.”