Dover truck chaos was 'national embarrassment'

The "national embarrassment" of lorry drivers stranded without food or toilet facilities around Dover must never be repeated, the Government has been warned. Trade body Logistics UK has written to transport minister Lord Agnew calling for an urgent review into the Government's handling of France's decision to shut the border. Thousands of lorries piled up around the port after French President Emmanuel Macron took action in light of a new strain of Covid-19.

Logistics UK also warned that plans to deal with similar delays must be fast-tracked as Britain approaches the end of the Brexit transition period. It said that new border controls and red tape could easily disrupt freight and cause a fresh round of chaos. Elizabeth de Jong, policy director at Logistics UK, wrote in the letter that "drivers having to spend two days at the side of the road, without adequate toilet facilities or the immediate provision of hot food, was a national embarrassment".

"With new customs procedures in place from 1 January 2021, it is vital that all the systems needed to support hauliers as they move across our borders are in place and in full working order," she added. The group said Britain relies on imports of food in the first few months of the year to keep supermarket shelves stocked, and that the "lack of concern for driver welfare could impact on the willingness of EU hauliers to send their drivers to this country". Logistics UK said as well as a review of traffic management and driver welfare capabilities, new customs checks mean it was crucial that all systems are ready to ensure the free flow of freight.

It called for "regular, nationwide real-time information feeds from the government on the status of all ports" to identify and deal with build-ups of traffic.

You may also like...