FTA voices concern as Calais again descends into chaos

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has expressed its concern about further turmoil in Calais amid reports that drivers have been threatened by organised gangs of migrants throwing stones and trying to get aboard trucks.

FTA has highlighted that frequent invasions of the Eurotunnel compound by migrants in recent days have caused long delays for freight on both sides of the Channel, with the Traffic Action Plan being put in place in Dover to deal with the huge numbers of queueing lorries.

Association members have also confirmed that the worsening situation at the Eurotunnel terminal is pushing trucks towards the ferry port, where migrant numbers in the jungle camp have swelled to 6,000.

Euan Flemming, who drives for Belfast firm Blair Transport, pointed to a distinct lack of police and security guards as trucks became embroiled in a slow crawl to the port, with migrants surrounding trucks and dropping from bridges onto the roofs of curtain-sided vehicles.

Donald Armour, FTA’s International Affairs Manager, said: “FTA is dismayed to learn that for the fourth night in a row migrants have successfully managed to break through the security fencing at the Eurotunnel compound and past the other measures put in place since the summer.  You have to ask ‘who is advising Eurotunnel what to do?’

“FTA believes more robust measures need to be taken by the French authorities to keep drivers safe and to ensure that Eurotunnel can function properly, without the dangers and serious disruption our members have had to endure this week.

“FTA welcomes this morning’s news that 500 additional French police are to be deployed in order to strengthen the Tunnel’s defences but clearly this isn’t sufficient to cope with the relentless nightly attacks.  We are very concerned that drivers are still being put at risk as they travel through Pas de Calais back to the ports.”

Earlier this year the FTA pressed the French government for action and advised its members not to refuel or take rest stops near Calais – many took detours of around 100 miles to avoid the port altogether.  And only this month French Eurotunnel drivers wrote an open letter calling for action following the death of 13 migrants on trains.