The vital cross-Channel ferry and Tunnel routes for international lorry traffic appear to be returning to normal says the Road Haulage Association.
However, the concern remains that the situation may change if the increased security measures at the Port are not maintained. Removal of the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp appears to have been effective in greatly reducing the local threat to drivers, vehicles and loads and RHA members report that Calais appears to be getting back to normal – for the local residents as well as for lorry drivers.
Operators who switched away from the Dover Straits are cautiously re-appraising their decision; and some are starting to return. “It’s good to be able to say something really positive about Calais,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett, “We will of course continue to monitor the situation closely.
The key is to ensure that the ‘Jungle’ camp is not allowed to be re-established.” “The problems over the past two years have been awful for everyone – including the migrants, desperate to get to the UK by whatever means possible.
“However, on a recent fact finding visit to the Port, the overall concern of those UK-bound HGV drivers that we spoke to was that the current situation, although very welcome, may well be short lived.”
It is important to recognise that the problem of migrants trying to get into UK-bound trucks remains but for now, the Calais area is no longer such a migrant hot-spot.
The threat is now more dispersed but it appears that organised gangs are still active in trying to get migrants to get on-board vehicles when they park for breaks. “Hauliers and drivers must remain vigilant and plan ahead,” Richard Burnett continued.
“The RHA strongly urges firms involved in UK-continental work to sign up to the UK Border Force Code of Practice and Accreditation Scheme.
While they are not perfect, they are appropriate. “The RHA has been working with UKBF on gathering intelligence on the migrants and the criminal gangs who often direct them and we will continue to do so,” concluded Richard Burnett.