RHA urges cross-Channel hauliers to seek UK Border Force accreditation

Following news that fines relating to migrants being found on board a vehicle have tripled in the past three years from 998 to 3,319 in 2014/2015, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has advised companies engaged in haulage between Europe and the UK to obtain accreditation with the UK Border Force (UKBF).

For that, they have to show they are following the UKBF code of practice on preventing clandestines from entering the UK.  UKBF requires firms to take basic measures, such as training drivers, providing basic protection for vehicles and carrying out checks.

RHA considers that providing these steps are being taken, haulage firms and their drivers should not incur fines if clandestines are discovered.  The requirements, which are well-known to established cross-Channel hauliers, are not greatly different from what many firms would want to do to secure their loads in any case.

The Association is in frequent contact with international haulage members and only very rarely receives complaints from members relating specifically to the UKBF code of practice.

“The broader issue of migrants is a complete nightmare for our members”, said RHA Chief Executive Richard Burnett.  “We again call on the French government to take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that migrants are separated from lorries in the Calais area; and we call on the UK government to support that more strongly in its dealings with the French government.

“For several weeks we have been calling on the French to deploy their military and the need for them to do so is now clear to everyone.

“It is impossible for drivers to prevent determined migrants getting into trucks and with 5,000 migrants in the Calais area our drivers are exposed, whether they are following the code of practice or not.

Earlier this week, Mr Burnett wrote to the Prime Minister requesting an urgent meeting relating to the crisis at Calais, the effect on the UK haulage industry and the implications for the economy as a whole.

After visiting Calais again on Monday to speak with drivers, Mr Burnett also invited David Cameron to travel with him to witness at first hand the conditions that drivers are facing.