The Road Haulage Association has demanded a step-change in government action to restore order at Calais, saying the threat to international haulage services from migrants trying to get to the UK has been increasing.
“The crisis in Calais may have gone from the front pages but the issue has not gone away”, said chief executive Richard Burnett. “RHA members and staff have seen intimidation of drivers and attacks on vehicles first-hand. It is mostly focussed on the Channel Tunnel but has also affected the ferries using the Port.
“Smaller hauliers are finding it increasingly difficult to stay in the market as alternative routes are being block booked in advance by larger, regular users. The impact on these companies and their customers should be of real concern to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
“Calais is now reported to have the largest police presence in France except for Paris and now the Mayor of Calais is also calling on the French to deploy the Army. We proposed this almost six months ago and we welcome her support.”
Burnett highlighted the case of an RHA member who had his vehicle’s air lines cut by a frustrated migrant who was discovered to be “axle riding”.
“It is abundantly clear to the RHA and to our members that the measures taken so far, while welcome, are inadequate and we need to understand what more can be done to protect our drivers, our international haulage businesses and the UK economy as a whole,” he said.