Calais blockade on Monday

FTA today met with one of the organisers of Monday’s blockade in Calais to highlight its potential impact on the UK transport and logistics industry.

Main routes into the French town will be completely blocked throughout the day as more than 60 trucks and 100 agricultural vehicles create a rolling roadblock on the A16 from Boulogne and Dunkirk. David Sangard, President of Calais-based Carpentier Transport & Logistique, admits the action will paralyse the town and prevent vehicles entering and leaving the port, but says transport operators and local business are left with no choice because the migrant situation is out of control.

A delegation from FTA, including EU Affairs Manager Chris Yarsley, told Mr Sangard that the action would cause chaos on both sides of the Channel and could have a devastating impact on trade. FTA provided figures which showed that last year’s cross-Channel delays cost the UK logistics industry £750K a day – and hit the UK economy to the tune of £250m a day.

Mr Yarsley, who spoke to drivers in the port and witnessed an attack by migrants during his visit to Calais, said: “We made Mr Sangard aware of the impact of the blockade on both sides of the Channel and the problems it will cause FTA members with scheduling and deliveries. FTA doesn’t support this kind of direct action because of the effect it has on members’ businesses and the huge costs involved.

“However, having witnessed the current situation in Calais, we have sympathy for those living and working in the town who face disruption and violence every day. Indeed FTA members have been reporting an increased number of attacks by migrants and more threatening tactics being used in an attempt to access their vehicles.”

FTA has repeatedly called on the French government to move the camp away from Calais – most recently in a joint letter sent yesterday by the International Road Transport Union to the French Prime Minister.

Monday’s protest will start at 7.30am in Boulogne and Dunkirk with road blocks on both sides of the carriageway on the A16 which will slowly approach Calais, arriving at around 10am. FTA plans to keep its members informed throughout the weekend and is advising them to avoid the area and make alternative plans for crossing the Channel where possible.

Christopher Macgowan

@chrismacgowan

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