Today’s planned blockade of the major routes in and out of Calais will make drivers a sitting target for migrant attacks, warns the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Organised by French transport operators, local businesses and agricultural workers from the area, the protest involving at least 60 trucks and over 100 farm vehicles will completely block the A16 – the major route in and out of the Port of Calais – throughout the day.
FTA is warning that traffic will be brought to a standstill, and motorists stranded on the road could face attacks from migrants attempting to board their vehicles to get to the UK.
Chris Yarsley, FTA EU Affairs Manager, said: “While FTA does not support this kind of direct action, we do share the concerns of those protesting that something needs to be done to solve the ongoing migrant crisis in Calais.
“Having visited the area last week, I have witnessed the increased violence and understand the danger that drivers face on a daily basis.”
FTA has been warning its members of the blockade, advising them to avoid the area and make alternative plans.
An FTA delegation met with David Sangard, President of Calais-based Carpentier Transport & Logistique, on Friday to understand the scale of the protest and how it will affect its members who regularly use the route. Mr Sangard – one of the organisers of today’s action – stated that the situation in the region was crippling his business, costing him over €250k in 2015. He commented: “It is regrettable that we have to resort to such action, but we have been pleading with the French authorities to find a solution, including dismantling the migrant camp.
“This is the last straw, it is the equivalent of pressing the nuclear red button in order to be heard by the authorities.”
FTA says the protest will create an even more dangerous situation in Calais for its members, and there needs to be adequate security to ensure drivers are safe.
Numbers in the Jungle Camp have swelled to more than 9,000 and attacks by migrants have become more frequent and increasingly violent. FTA has asked for the camp to be be moved away from the port to prevent the ongoing attacks on truck drivers, and called for proper processing procedures to be put in place to ensure that genuine asylum seekers quickly receive the help they need.