UK supply chain in "serious danger"

The worsening Calais migrant problem has led to both the ferry terminals and Eurotunnel increasing checks on vehicles prior to embarkation, slowing down the processing of vehicles and threatening the reliability of the UK supply chain to and from Europe, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

With the migrant population increasing 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, FTA’s international affairs manager, Donald Armour, has called for swift action.

Armour has warned that if the UK doesn’t act soon and insist on “greater proactive involvement by the responsible French authorities” then the UK supply chain could be in “serious danger of being very badly disrupted”.

Furthermore, although Eurotunnel has converted its existing terminal parking area into an extended pre check-in zone in order to provide increased security for approximately 150 additional trucks on site, the FTA is concerned for drivers’ safety.

“With an estimated 3,000 migrants now living rough in Calais the surrounding area, FTA’s principle concern is the safety of drivers attempting to travel safely through the port and trying to avoid stowaways hitching a ride on a lorry into the UK. We don’t believe that truck drivers should be made to act as unpaid immigrations officers”

The FTA’s concerns echo those of the British International Freight Association, whose director general Robert Keen recently warned: “Without action now from the authorities in France and the UK, I believe there is a good chance that if the [migrant] situation continues, international transport sub-contractors will start to refuse to operate on the Continent-UK cross channel market, due to the personal and financial risks that they and their staff are now taking."