As Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande meet in Amiens today for the 34th Franco-British Summit, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) is calling for its five-point action plan to tackle problems at the Port of Calais to be adopted by both governments.
FTA says the economic importance of the French port means ongoing disruption caused by the thousands of migrants camped out near the motorway can’t be allowed to continue. Industrial action and increased migrant activity throughout last summer cost the logistics industry an estimated £21 million due to delays, cancelled sailings and interrupted Eurotunnel crossings.
The ‘Jungle’ migrant camp is currently being partially demolished and its residents offered alternative accommodation, but FTA says repeated incursions onto port and Eurotunnel premises and attacks on truck drivers and their lorries require urgent action.
The Association, which has more than 15,000 members, has devised a five-point plan of measures to tackle the issues:
To move the migrant camp away from the motorway and Eurotunnel facility to deter migrants from attempting to board commercial vehicles and trains
To secure the Port of Calais and Eurotunnel facility against incursion by migrants and to complete the secure parking zone in the port area for use by operators
To emphasise to the British and French governments the need to maintain the juxtaposed border controls and investment in police and security arrangements to guarantee that drivers’ rights to safe passage through the port are respected
To support registration of migrants and processing of asylum claims by the French authorities to legitimise and control those camped out around Calais
To declare the port of Calais and Eurotunnel facility as off-limits to any industrial protests
FTA plans to send the action plan to Mr Cameron following today’s summit. It is also encouraging hauliers to sign up the Border Force Accreditation Scheme to help avoid financial penalties if migrants are found on board their vehicles.
James Hookham, FTA Deputy Chief Executive, said: “It’s a positive step that Calais is on the agenda at today’s Franco-British Summit and we hope that measures will be discussed to end the months of misery for our members.
“We want both governments to adopt this firm plan of action to protect this vital link which handles £89 billion worth of UK trade every year.”