C4 Logistics has called on the industry to do more itself when it comes to tackling the problem of stowaways, and has urged calm in the face of claims from the Freight Transport Authority that the UK supply chain is in danger of collapse because of the illegal migrant crisis at Calais.
Sebastien Barth, managing director of C4 Logistics, said that although immigration issue was a major threat, there was more that businesses could and should do to prevent bringing stowaways into the UK.
“It is true that the problem has become very bad because of the international situation in these troubled areas, but there is more that can be done at a practical level to reduce the risks of people getting onto vehicles,” he said.
Barth’s comments follow concern from the FTA that the migrant population in Calais has risen to around 3,000, as those fleeing North Africa and Middle East make their way to Calais in the hope of crossing the channel to Britain.
“I understand the FTA’s position, but it is as much our responsibility as the UK government’s which as we know has faced dramatic public sector cuts, including within the Borders Agency, and the long-term prognosis is for greater reductions in spending,” said Barth. “We have no choice but to be practical and do more ourselves to protect our businesses and consignments.”
Barth has called on carriers using the Eurotunnel to take full advantage of the voluntary vehicle emissions check as an opportunity to conduct a further search for stowaways as recent figures from the UK Borders Agency revealed that the number of illegal stowaways doubled from 782 in 2013 to 1,463 last year.
“A delay at customs, if an illegal passenger is found, can be costly in money terms, but also could impact people’s lives if the vehicle is carrying medical equipment or drugs, not to mention the potential to be brand damaging,” said Barth. “Being in control of every stage of the transport is part of our job and we are thorough in our checks to make sure those rules are adhered to.”