Ferry services resume after Port of Calais reopens amid safety fears

The Port of Calais has reopened after being at a standstill for most of the day due to industrial action by MyFerryLink employees.  Protestors also brought Eurotunnel services to a halt after gaining access to the track.

Because of the disruption to its Dover-Calais services, DFDS Seaways, which yesterday had its bid to take over two of MyFerryLink’s ferries accepted by Eurotunnel, had been running a shuttle service to Dunkerque.

Confirming that the Port of Calais had re-opened, the Port of Dover also announced the resumption of all ferry services to and from Calais.  However, Port of Dover has further confirmed that freight traffic heading in its direction is advised to use the M20/A20 route and that due to the volume of freight traffic.

Operation Stack will remain in place on the M20, holding freight traffic on the coast-bound carriageway.  The Port of Dover is continuing to liaise closely with Kent Police and Highways England.

Besides monitoring the latest developments, the port is speaking with ferry operators and all statutory authorities over what it describes as ‘clearly been a fluid situation in the Calais area’.

Port of Dover is advising all those seeking to cross the Channel continue to contact their chosen ferry operator for further information.

Commenting on the situation in Calais earlier in the day, the Freight Transport Association’s Head of Policy for the South East, Natalie Chapman, said:  “The closure of the port, coupled with delays on the Eurotunnel and the ongoing problem with migrants has created a perfect storm.

Lorry drivers and members of the public are sitting ducks and we are concerned for their safety and welfare.  The French authorities need to do more.  They are allowing the migrants to swarm around vehicles waiting at the port – it must be terrifying for families with young children.

“The strike has caused traffic chaos on this side of the water too, with Operation Stack in place.  But at least motorists stuck in queues in Kent are safe.  For those waiting in Calais it’s like a warzone.”

Another to voice his concern is John Simkins, the general manager of Transmec UK.  He has also called for urgent action to tackle the migrant crisis in Calais which he describes as leaving drivers as ‘sitting ducks’, fearing that a driver could be injured or even killed if the EU fails to take action to deal with the worsening situation at the French port.