Thursday 22nd Oct 2020 - Logistics & Supply Chain

Trade association fears over security at Calais

Both the Road Haulage Association and Freight Transport Association have raised concerns about the situation at Calais.

The RHA said on Monday that it was extremely concerned about the number of French riot police at the port – claiming they were ‘massively outnumbered’ by migrants.

It said that French riot police are outnumbered 18.1 when there ‘300 operating at any one time.’ ichard Burnett, RHA’s chief executive said: “Even if the entire security contingent was to be deployed at any one time, the ratio would still be hard pressed to cope at 5:1,

“The level of security currently in place barely scratches the surface of the problem. It’s therefore hardly surprising that recent days have seen incidents of violence and attacks on trucks far worse than have been seen in recent months. And with Christmas produce still travelling across the Channel, the next few days will inevitably see a concerted push by migrants to reach the UK.”

Last week the violent scenes at Calais were described as “unprecedented”, by Chris Yarsley, the Freight Transport Association’s manager of road freight and enforcement policy

Yarsley said he saw “thousands” of migrants attacking trucks queuing on the motorway when he was touring Eurotunnel facilities.

“I am flabbergasted at what I have seen today; there were literally thousands of migrants benefitting from the queue of slow moving traffic on the roads around Calais. They were attacking vehicles; breaking the locks of trucks, slashing roofs of the lorries and climbing in the back of them.

“French Police were highly visible and were taking extreme measures to break up the crowds including using tear gas and closing the motorway to control the situation, but appeared to be overwhelmed by the numbers. The migrants appeared to be organised in their attacks, as we were told of disturbances in the town centre which diverted police attention allowing opportunities for incursion attempts, and migrants took advantage of traffic being slowed on the road outside of the security fencing.”

A spokesperson from Eurotunnel said there were a large number of migrants on the motorway and in the town, but that no one got into the terminal. He confirmed that there were no disruptions at Eurotunnel.

“Increases in security at the Channel Tunnel since the summer mean that migrants cannot get into the terminal,” said the Eurotunnel spokesperson.

“This is leading to frustration in the camp, which is unfortunately manifesting itself in this activity on the motorway. The police are doing a very good job of containing the problem and preventing it from affecting cross-Channel services”

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